drank Imperial Label by Kusmi Tea
2238 tasting notes

I’m forcing myself to try “new” old teas today, and it helps that I haven’t actually got much at work with me at the moment so it’s try things or have no tea. It doesn’t help that they’re mostly green teas in my untried pile, because they’re never my favourite. I say that, but I think it’s really a historical hangover from when I thought all green tea was bitter and horrible. I know for a fact now that that’s not the case, but somehow I still have a bit of a prejudice about green tea, even though some of my best friends are green tea…I never said I wasn’t odd.

So. This one. The reviews seem a bit mixed, and I’m not much liking the sound of soap as a descriptor. Otherwise? Orange, cinnamon and vanilla sounds okay (I probably wouldn’t have put it with green tea, though…) Sea buckthorn I’ve never tried. What even is it? I’m okay with sencha, although it’s not my favourite green. I’d happily say that no green is my favourite, but that’s a lie. I actually really do like Bi Luo Chun.

I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. The leaf is pretty, lots of yellow and green. It smells spicier than I expected, a little bit like chai. But also a little bit like a Lush soap I had once. Sea Vegetable? Not encouraging.

To taste, it’s thankfully not too much like soap. There’s a strong initial creaminess that’s really nice and almost thick tasting. I’m assuming that’s due in large part to the vanilla, and it has a lovely heavy dairy cream vibe that’s just perfect on a cold day. The orange comes through second, mostly pith and zest to begin with but followed by a sharp, clean, bright splash of orange that’s more reminiscent of freshly squeezed juice. The cinnamon rounds things off, adding a warming spiciness that’s actually makes me think of Christmas – just right for December! My only complaint about this one is the liquorice, because it’s horribly over-sweet and cloying, and it coats the back of my throat with its artificial sweetener-like stickiness. Otherwise, I get along just fine with this blend. I can’t taste the sea buckthorn, and I still don’t know what that actually is. I can’t taste the green tea base, either, which is fine with me. It’s smooth and unobtrusive, just how I like it. I’ll probably drink a fair bit more of this one before Christmas – it’s a surprise win. If it wasn’t for the liquorice, we could be the best of friends.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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Hi :) I’m Sarah, and I live in Norfolk in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’m also beginning to explore pu’erh, both ripened and raw. That’s my latest challenge!

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.


Norfolk, UK

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