Imperial Label

Tea type
Green Tea
Cinnamon, Green Tea, Licorice Root, Orange Flavoring, Sea Buckthorn Berries, Vanilla
Cinnamon, Fruity, Grass, Hay, Licorice, Marine, Orange, Straw, Vanilla, Citrus Fruits, Medicinal, Nutty, Orange Zest, Citrus
Sold in
Bulk, Loose Leaf, Sachet
Edit tea info Last updated by eastkyteaguy
Average preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 15 sec 1 g 9 oz / 266 ml

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From Kusmi Tea

Chinese sencha tea flavored with orange, cinnamon, vanilla, liquorice root and sea buckthorn. Inspired by a traditional Russian drink called sbiten.
This magic blend was exclusively created for Kiehl’s in 2009.

Main flavor: Orange, cinnamon, vanilla and liquorice.

About Kusmi Tea View company

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35 Tasting Notes

2816 tasting notes

I’ve been working on some of my flavored greens today, this and the green chai by Simpson and Vail. Of the two, the green chai is definitely better. The Imperial Label is such a strange mix of licorice, cinnamon and orange. It does leave a medicinal taste in your mouth. This is old enough (2 yrs, I think) that I might just pitch it after the winter is over. I remember last year it was good when i had a sore throat, due to the licorice.

Would never buy this again, however….

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 15 sec
Cameron B.

I agree, this one is so bizarre…


Maybe I like it when I’m sick because I can’t actually taste it? :)

Cameron B.

Well it is extremely heavy on the licorice, so I suppose it makes sense for sick time. :P


It sounds weird, but… interesting. I wonder how they come up with these flavor combos!


I kind of think of this as a detox tea. As such I don’t mind it. I keep my steeps to about 1 minute though.


I detest licorice – in tea it would be a big turn-off

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1344 tasting notes

I got this sample tin out of a basket last time I was in Fru P. I hadn’t seen her having Kusmi samples before, so I had a look through. This was the only one that I hadn’t tried before or didn’t know would be an instant dislike, so I let the promise of vanilla in the ingredients list seduce me.

This smells like soap at first. Then, when the assault on my nostrils dies down a bit, I can recognise it as largely cinnamon. Charm the Cat seems to find it unbelievably stinky. This stuff has just cost me a lap-Charm, and that’s a pretty rare beast to begin with. One whiff, and she left.

I can’t decide about the flavour. It’s sort of hovering smack dab in the middle between ‘eurg soap!’ and ‘pleasant actually.’ It’s mostly cinnamon, but fairly smooth. I can sort of pick up vanilla and citrus, but not in the way that I can taste them as such. More in the way that it feels like this is what is tempering the cinnamon. The licorice root shows up as a sweet afterthought on the swallow, but that’s all.

I really don’t know about this stuff. I’m going to withhold rating for now because I feel very ambivalent about it. I honestly can’t tell you if I like it or not.


it is the only Kusmi I wanted to try. I’m not a fan of the brand but this one was appealing… not sure I am so hurry to have it now :)


Does she have Fauchon amidst her tea samples by any chance? :)


This is a great blend to drink when you’re sick with a sore throat :)


Ysaurella, I’ve had some fairly good experiences with Kusmi. I love their caramel and the smoky earl grey. :)

Courtney, I doubt it. I’d have to study the shelves closer, but I doubt it. Kusmi is pretty much the only one of the French brands that are available here. Anna sent me a couple of Fauchon samples recently though.

TeaBrat, I tend to prefer herbal things under such circumstances, especially minty things. Real tea just tastes peculiar when I’m ill. :)

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675 tasting notes

I abandoned this mug after making it and learned that this tea is actually better cold than hot. The citrus flavor really comes out and makes for a nice, refreshing drink. Good for summer, but also a nice accompaniment to a Mediterranean meal any time of year.

Thanks for the taste, oOTeaOo!

EDIT: This yields a nice second steep.

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175 tasting notes

Orange + vanilla + liquorice = Good. Really good. Really really good.

195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 15 sec

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29 tasting notes

Love it. While I can’t taste much Sencha (or tea at all, really) in it, it definitely has a strong flavour that borders on sweet without crossing the dessert line. Smells as good as it tastes. I’ll definitely purchase this again.

185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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62 tasting notes

The first thing you’ll probably notice about the tea is the smell. It’s pretty much just citrus when dry, but when brewed and hot, it smells like some kind of beautiful cake. I couldn’t stop smelling it. It smells like cinnamon and orange and something vanilla-like. It’s such a good smell! Unfortunately, the flavour isn’t really a match for it. I’m sad about that, because if it were, I could drink it all day.

For me, the tea required more steeping than recommended. This may have been problematic: some reviews elsewhere said it needed no sweetening because of the licorice, but I beg to differ— mine was bitter and the flavour was just kind of dull with no sweetener, and the spices weren’t being brought out. When sweetened, the cinnamon and liquorice spice element can’t be ignored whereas before it was kind of just a nondescript spicy, herbal “vibe.” I think mostly this tea is yet another reflection of the fact that orange and spice consistently mix badly in teas. That’s unexpected (they can mix well in baking and perfumery, for instance), but this is not the first time I’ve felt this way. On that note, maybe part of my negative impression is based on the fact that it reminds me of Teekanne’s Oriental Spice Tea, which was literally the worst tea I’ve ever had in my life. Fortunately, this tea was nowhere near the trainwreck that was, but the base flavours of orange, cinnamon, and vanilla are common to the two. I’m going to try to stop thinking about that fact now, because the memory of the Teekanne tea seriously haunts me and it’s making me disgusted.

This tea has some stellar reviews around the Net, but I found it just okay. It wasn’t unpleasant or undrinkable, but the large amounts of liquorice and cinnamon gave it kind of a herbal, bitter, spicy, medicinal taste. At times some of those characteristics can be positive, but when you combine them all, as has been done here, I don’t think it’s a recipe for success. One strange thing was that, and I don’t know if it was just the combination of the spices or something, I could’ve sworn something tasted a bit cardamom-y. Normally, that would appeal to me, but in this kind of brew, it wasn’t a selling point. Those strong, medicinal-smelling spices like cardamom or liquorice with chai spices and soy milk? Sign me up. Those spices in a thinner, bitter brew? Hmmm, I’ll pass.

If I had some of this tea given to me (or got another couple of bags of it in a Kusmi selection pack), I’d drink it (because it’s not too bad and I love tea), but I wouldn’t buy a tin of it based on what I’ve tasted (based on what I’ve smelled? Well….) It wasn’t wholly unappealing, so if strong spices with some orange sound good to you, you should still give it a try.

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16 tasting notes

Yay, now I am going the review my all-time favorite tea, Imperial Label. It’s so good, everyone who hasn’t tried it, please try it. It’s a damn, fucking unbelieveable tea.
The dry leaf smells of orange (fresh and zesty orange), cinnamon (hot and spicy), and has an ever so lightly vanilla scent to it. In one word: GOD-LIKE!
The steeped tea’s smell is lighter on the orange, and slightly heavier on the cinnamon/vanilla. The color is light green, with no yellow glow at all, but is SLIGHTLY unclear…
The steeped tea’s taste is orangey, cinnamon-y and vanilla-y. Strongest on the orange and lightest on the vanilla. It’s just a hint of vanilla, not overpowering and sweet. The aftertaste is quite liquorice-like, as you would expect, and for a Scandinavian like me, it’s a pure delight, when things contain liquorice (we in Denmark eats a hell of an amount of liquorice, the salty one the most). Combine the liquorice aftertaste with the warmth of cinnamon, and the freshness of orange peel, and you have something truly amazing. The sencha tea itself is aromatic, rich, unbitter and unanstringent. This tea is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L.
Wouldn’t change a thing at all.


Appearance: Dark green sencha needles, pieces of liquorice root and dried sea buckthorn berries. A very few cardamom seeds.
Dry tea-smell: Fresh and zesty orange, spicy cinnamon and sweet vanilla.
Color: Slightly unclear light green color.
Brewed tea-smell: Cinnamon, orange and vanilla.
Taste: Exciting sencha tea, the freshness of orange, the warmth of cinnamon and the sweetness of vanilla. Slighty tart due to the sea buckthorn berries.

Undoubtly the best tea I have tasted in my life!!!

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400 tasting notes

I had received this from a friend through a tea swap. I took a bunch of samples to work that I thought would work for western brewing. I don’t have much equipment nor space to gongfu at work, so the best option seems to throw tea in an infuser and make a cup.

I’ve also burnt the roof of my mouth on food the other day; which has swollen quite a bit. I’ve yet to go to the doctor, but I’m at the point where it hurts too much to eat, sleep, or drink anything above room temperature. So, these notes are all based on room temperature tea sessions. I’m going to give it until Monday, but more than likely, I might have to schedule an appointment.

Notes (very minimal): The flavors within the brew made me think what it’d taste like if you threw a flower, cinnamon, & cardamom into a cup and decided to drink the liquor. There seemed to be an unexplainable flavor that lingered on the palate—neither good or bad.

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897 tasting notes

It seems like I have been working on this one forever. I bought a tin of this tea on Amazon back in late April and received it in early-mid May. I was on a big Kusmi kick at the time and was going through their Russian blends like a fiend. I know I cracked this tin open sometime before the end of May-this blend seemed so unique that I just had to try it. At first, I was not impressed. I found the green tea base to be weak and the spice notes to be overpowering. As I have worked my way through this tin, however, my opinion of this tea has mellowed a bit. It’s sort of strange (okay, really strange), but it is not without its charms.

I prepared this tea Western style. I normally do at least two infusions for green teas and green tea blends, but opted for one infusion here. I have gotten a second infusion out of this tea in the past, but I feel that I got the most out of this tea performing a single extended infusion. For this review session, I steeped approximately 1 teaspoon of the loose blended material in 8 ounces of 175 F water for 5 minutes.

Prior to infusion, a sniff of the dry blended material reveals a slightly grassy scent that is quickly overpowered by orange, vanilla, cinnamon, and licorice. After infusion, I noted powerful aromas of cinnamon, licorice, and vanilla underscored by orange, grass, straw, and a slightly oily marine scent from the sea buckthorn berries. In the mouth, I immediately picked up on orange peel, though this note quickly took a backseat to powerful notes of vanilla, licorice, and cinnamon. I could also detect underpinnings of straw, grass, hay, and buckthorn. The finish was heavy on vanilla, though the buckthorn, orange, licorice, and cinnamon continued to linger in the background.

Overall, I rather liked this blend. That kind of surprised me too because I absolutely loathe licorice. Here, it did not bother me all that much because there were other aromas and flavors on which I could focus. It was easy to tell that the green tea used for this blend was not all that great, but considering the focus was placed so squarely on the interaction of the other ingredients, it hardly mattered to me. It was there to provide a subtle backdrop for them and it fulfilled that role admirably. Though this is the sort of blend I would not want to have every day, I do feel that it does what it does very well. Moreover, it has aged gracefully and there are perhaps few blends that replicate its formula. I think adventurous drinkers and fans of spicy blends may enjoy this one.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Fruity, Grass, Hay, Licorice, Marine, Orange, Straw, Vanilla

175 °F / 79 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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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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