This tea does have a licorice taste to it. More so than a spicy taste. The spice taste comes as an after taste once you have had time for all the flavors to sit. The smell I can best describe as "hot licorice" it has that pepper smell, but also that black licorice smell to it as well. Just from the smell of this tea you really know what you are getting! I will say, that when I say this tea is spicy, it is not hot spicy, I have had hotter, and this is very very mild in the spicy hot taste scale.
The small tins from Kusmi are loose tea, and the tea in their tins always looks amazing! They packed this tin full too! The tops go on very tight and stay on, so the tea stays fresh! They also sell this tea in tea bags as well! Tea bags cost $16.70 and then the tins go up from there. You can find it online here.