China Rose Congou (569)

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Black Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Auggy
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205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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From SpecialTeas

China black tea is scented with rose petals creating a popular, naturally sweet and flowery tasting tea. The petals are partially removed after the scenting process. Also delicious chilled.

Ingredients: Black tea, rose petals

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9 Tasting Notes

911 tasting notes

It’s been a bit since I’ve had this, mostly because the husband isn’t a big fan and so I feel a little guilty making him drink something he doesn’t enjoy. I’m the one that makes our morning tea and I try not to abuse the husband too much in the process. But in the spirit of cycling out my current teas to prepare to replace them with new ones (lots and lots of new ones), I decided to have this one again.

The sour smell from the leaves always makes me think I hate this tea, that the smell carries over to the taste. Other than that, I seriously can’t remember this tea. Well, maybe a vague recollection that milk does it no favors? But the directions say to try with rock sugar. I have raw sugar, which begins with r-something and ends with sugar, so I put some in.

Ooookay, I think I put a bit much (though I only used a teaspoon for my 12oz). I’m going to need to try this straight sometime (but taking it with me on my drive to work is NOT the time to be daring – tea mistakes cannot be fixed in a car with no sugar or milk and going 70). My first impression is SWEET! Like, not awesome sweet but dear-lord-how-much-sugar-did-I-put-in-here sweet. The second is… hmm, tea. Soft, slightly fluffy/floral tea. I don’t peg the rose so much as just a general softness to the edges of the tea. I think it is a bit too delicate for milk which is probably why I remember milk doing nothing happy to it. Not an overly complex flavor (and I have got to try it with less/no sugar) but a decent enough tea to work for me, if not overly memorable. I bet it would be a good as iced tea (and when I say that, I mean Southern sweet tea with a cup and a half of sugar per gallon).

Hah! I just got an email from the husband. I asked him how he liked his tea and his response was that it was awesome, a 4-star tea and what was it. I know he didn’t like this tea before but again, I think it was the milk thing. Plus, he’s a big fan of sweet tea so I think the super-sweetness of this tea is most likely what he’s really enjoying.

That’s not to say this is a bad tea. If I had to choose between this and no tea, I’d totally go with this and be happy about it. It’s just not overly memorable or blow-me-away-able. But sometimes having a little light, fluffy cotton candy of a tea is needed. Hopefully I remember that next time instead of being tricked by the sour smell of the leaves.

(BTW: I brought GM’s Rose sampler with me today to have a somewhat delayed head-to-head tea competition with rose as the theme ingredient. Whose tea will reign supreme? Actually, I have an idea but I’ll wait for the official word from the judges.)

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Whoo! Can’t wait to see who comes out on top! One of these days we have to pick out a GM tea, and everyone that has the sample will have to drink it at the same time and rate it accordingly!

Boo Boo Rocks Out

That sounds really fun actually.


Now I’m thinking of Steepster e-tastings…


Auggy, completely unrelated, but the thread is gone from the forum now so I don’t know if you saw or not. You mentioned a Steepster-like site for whisky, do you happen to have a link for that? I’d like to show it to my father.


Hahah! Great minds think alike!


Oooh, another tea showdown! DO IT! Unless you already did it and I just haven’t gotten there yet, in which case, YEAH! YOU DID IT!


My tea showdown wasn’t near as nifty as yours. Just this one as a morning tea vs. GM’s Rose tea as my at work tea. (GM’s totally won).

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260 tasting notes

The Final Sipdown: Day 6.1

I’m starting day six of TFS on the tail of a sadly empty day. Yesterday I spent the entire day sleeping [or trying to sleep] off a migraine that culminated in a bit of prayer to the porcelain god last night and this morning. Yes, yes, all together unpleasant but I’m feeling quite a bit better today and prepared to make up for yesterday’s lapse.

Hello, Rose Congou. I recall being told that you were “not the best” upon receipt via Auggy and therefore I’ve been unmotivated about trying you out. Today, however, is a day for vanquishing and productivity, and so – here we go.

Oh, and also, I lowered steep time and temperature on this by quite a bit because I used a lot of leaf on this pot.

The dry leaf smells of rose, but I can also smell the black tea and that gives me some hope. I’m not a huge fan of rose anything, and so that has probably added to my trepidation towards trying this guy. Smelling the liquid gives me that mix of rose and black tea again, along with a hint of lychee, so closing my eyes, I tip the cup and go in.


Not unpleasant. The black tea – which lends dark, malty notes and a smidgeon of astringency – is the main flavor until I aerate it a bit, and then the rose comes through, especially in the finish. Lots of sweetness in the front. The aftertaste is pretty light, but I get a hint of…is that dark chocolate? Yes, I think so.

This tea wasn’t nearly as scary as I was making it out to be in my head. It was actually quite pleasant. Is it something I’ll be buying? No, probably not. But that’s mainly because pleasant or not, I still am not a big rose fan. Even though it’s surprisingly close to lychee in flavor. Maybe it’s just a hump I need to get myself over. In the meantime, I’ll finish this pot and enjoy the rest of this episode of Cougar Town.

Teas Downed: 13

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec

Huh. That almost sounds attractive! Maybe the high leaf thing is beneficial to it.


Hmm. Didn’t think about that. Should have weighed it prior so I could have shared the tea/water ratio.

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187 tasting notes

It would have been fun to do this War of the Roses style, and pit this against GM’s Rose Tea for fun like Auggy did!

Jon’s randomizer picked this out for me! Yay! Just thought I’d mention that. I was in the mood for a black that I hadn’t tried yet, and this was the first one that popped up.

Anyway, Auggy sent me this and I have to say, it smells pretty good. Softly rose-like, with the black tea coming across pretty mildly. The leaves are typical black-leaf length, and peppered with pretty flashes of pink rose petals. Very, very pretty to look at. Like rose tea should!

1 level teaspoon in 6 oz. of water later, and the leaves opened up a lot and ate a lot of the water. Which makes me sad, because my mug is only half full this morning. I’m definitely going to need to drink MORE TEA later. Yay! Anyway, the wet leaves smell like a musky black tea with rose mixed in. And the infusion itself? I’m actually not getting any rose on the nose (harrharr I made a funny). Instead, I’m smelling some nice cocoa and warmth from the black base.

My first sip of this was a bit confusing. The rose here definitely isn’t assertive enough. Instead, it comes off as a general floral sweetness than specifically rose. Even that floral note isn’t that strong. The tea itself is fairly light, with a slight bitter component and some astringency. The black base is pretty forgettable overall, and since the flavoring isn’t the greatest and most special, the tea seems to stall.

SpecialTeas recommends you try this with sugar, which I did not, and I’m kind of glad I didn’t. Because as the cup cooler, the sweetness definitely got stronger. If I would have added sugar, I fear it would have been a bumrush of sweet and barely any tea flavor. The sweet here is a bit cloying. It sort of sticks to your tongue and refuses to die. But it’s a sweetness that surprisingly enough, isn’t paired with a strong floral or rose note.

This tea is remarkably inoffensive. But that’s pretty much my problem with it. It doesn’t have much of a wow factor. The black is too light to make a mark, the rose is too shy to fully come through with a rose-like flavor. So all we’re getting here is a mild black with a mild floral note. On occasion I will pick up some toasty cocoa notes from the black, but other than that, it’s not full enough. And the sad thing is, if it was fuller, it’d drown out the shreds of rose that you can taste. So I guess it’s balanced in that way.

It’s not the best tea in the world, but it’s certainly not the worst, and I wouldn’t reject a cup of it. It just isn’t exciting enough to sustain itself over many, many tea days and nights.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

I feel like that’s the case with the SpecialTeas that I’ve been trying. They are certainly better than Adagios, but sometime is still missing. The base just isn’t strong enough. I think the mild flavoring is at a decent level, maybe they need to bump it up a little.


I’ve been waiting on trying this one because I’m usually not a huge fan of rose tea, but I think I just need to grow some metaphorical balls and do it.


@takgoti, I’m pretty sure this one won’t change your mind about rose teas!

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1116 tasting notes

The scent of this one is promising: distinctly rose, without being overwhelmingly perfumy. It’s one of those teas where if you could drink the smell, it would be perfect. The true taste, however, is a disappointment: the black base is weak and unremarkable, and the rose flavoring is hard to detect. It’s simply not very interesting. The label suggests sweetening it, and I quite agree that it’s an improvement that brings out the rose taste… though I wish I could enjoy it just as much without sweetener.

That said, I’m a huge fan of the scent and taste of roses, so I can’t hate this too much. My mission when I picked it up was to make sure that I had at least one rose tea around, and in that sense it succeeded. It’s very much drinkable and I’m sure other fans of rose tea will find it satisfactory, but there are certainly better options on the market.

3 min, 15 sec

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94 tasting notes

This is a lovely rose tea. I’ve generally come to not like rose teas, but this one I love. I think the rose adds a honeyed flavor in addition to the obviously perfumy rose taste. The black tea is nice and soft in the background. I particularly enjoy it iced.

Yes, SpecialTeas disappeared years ago. A sad event I still bemoan on occasion. However, I still have a few of my favorites from this company stocked up. When I learned that I wouldn’t be able to get any more I began to search for other options and hording what I had. This was about the time that I discovered Steepster.

Some tea really is only good for a year or less, but some seems to last forever. This is one that has changed little in taste in all the years it’s been stashed away in my cupboard. And, while I still find it delicious, I have since discovered other favorites that I enjoy more, so it is time to decupboard this one once and for all.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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34 tasting notes

Smooth and sweet. The amount of rose is really nice. It’s present, but not overpowering. Pleasant.

This does make me a little sad that I don’t know what congou tastes like, though.

190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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