What is the Gongfu Tea Ceremony?
The Gongfu Tea Ceremony is a traditional art-like form of serving Chinese tea. Gongfu means the art of doing something well. In the tea ceremony known as gong fu, the implication is that time, dedication and effort will produce an ultimate tea experience. The phrase is also spelled as kung fu, kung fu-cha or gong fu-cha.
What You Need for the Gongfu Tea Ceremony
How To Perform the Gongfu Tea Ceremony
Step 1 – Warm The Teapot, Sterilize The Teacups And Strainer
Warm up the teapot by filling with boiling water and allowing to sit until warm. This will reduce temperature shift inside the teapot which can affect the flavour of tea. Pour boiling water on the strainer and fill the teacups to sterilize and warm them. Remember, you are serving “food” so you should practice good food handling technique. This is a courtesy to your guests and they will appreciate the care you take for their enjoyment. Always keep your tea making area and equipment scrupulously clean. Your equipment should also be organized so your tools are where you expect them to be when you reach for them. This improves your technique and cuts down on accidents and breakage.
Step Two – Rinse The Tea Leaves
Empty the teapot of the warming water, place the measured amount of tea (per the guidelines above) in the teapot and fill with the proper temperature water, allowing the water to overflow the top of the teapot until the bubbles disappear and the water runs clear. Replace the lid and immediately (longer if using compressed tea) pour off the water, then tilt the lid slightly open on the teapot. This tilting allows the heat in the teapot to escape and not “cook” the leaves, and retain the aroma.
Step Three – First Brew
For beginners, I recommend pouring the tea from the teapot into a small pitcher (or any glass or porcelain cup with a lid) before serving the tea in teacups. You’ll see, this makes everything easier at the beginning.
Fill the teapot until the water overflows the top. Place the lid on the teapot and count 6 seconds (or whatever time scale you are using) while slowly pouring a little hot water over the teapot for the first few seconds. This ensures an even brewing temperature inside the teapot. At the end of the count, pour the tea into the pitcher, place the lid on the pitcher and tilt the lid on the teapot. Empty the teacups of the warming water (using the tongs of course so as not to touch them) and serve the tea.
Step Four - Additional Brews
Repeat Step Three following the proper brew times until you have finished brewing the tea.
Step Five – Finishing Up
Remove the leaves and rinse your teapot and lid with hot water and place in the open air with the lid off to allow them to dry. Tea is best made with a dry pot and this also allows the oils to set in the clay. Rinse the rest of your tools and allow to air dry.
If you find that the tea you have been making might still have some brews left when you finish, you can keep the leaves right in the teapot with the lid closed for up to 12 hours. Any longer might create mould which could get into the clay and ruin the teapot. When you’re ready to make more tea, just pick up where you left off. The first brew time can be a couple seconds less than what it might normally be since the tea concentrates somewhat while it has been sitting.
The Best Gonfu Tea Tray
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The Best Gongfu Tea Pot
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