Gongfu Tea Ceremony
Gōng Fu Chá- A beginner’s guide
Gōng Fu Chá- A beginner’s guide
Gōng Fu Chá is mostly brewed with Oolong Tea leaves, as it has both the soothing effect of Black Tea, and the freshness of Green Tea. To fully bring out the fine quality of Oolong Tea, the “Small Pot Tea Method” is then invented. This way of brewing and drinking tea is a craft that is very sophisticated and delicate, also demands a very concentrated effort, therefore it is named “Gōng Fu Chá” (Stands for Kung Fu Tea.).
Tea wares needed for Gōng Fu Chá
- Teochew/ Chaozhou air furnace (A mini stove that uses charcoal to make fire)
- A tiny clay pot for boiling water, in Chinese is 「玉書煨」
- A purple-clay Teapot/A Yixing clay teapot, in Chinese is 「孟臣罐」
- Small tea cup, in Chinese is 「若深甌」
Step One – Appreciate the leaves
At first, the Tea Artist takes out the leaves with a spoon from the can. Then he will gently put them on a ChaZe for display. Observation on the dry leaves and smelling the aroma are part of tea appreciation.
Step Two – Warm tea sets
Usually the Tea Artist would use an elegant Yixing clay pot. First, he pours boiling water into the pot, close the lid, and then rush boiling water to the whole body of the pot. Then he drains the water to the cups and raise their temperature as well.
Step Three – Tea leaves In
Gently use the ChaZe to bring the leaves into the pot. It should fill up to four fifths of the pot if you are making Rock Tea or Dan Chong Tea because dry tea leaves take up more space.
Step Four – Wash Tea Leaves
Once the water is boiling, bring up the water pot to a certain level and infuse the boiling water into the teapot. You could hear the sounds and feel the echo similar to a mountain stream during this process. The sole purpose here is to wash off the dusts and pesticide residues.
Step Five – Soothe away the bubbles
Use the teapot lid to bring away the bubbles on the surface, then put it back and close the lid. The movement should be as gentle and slight as breeze caresses our faces. It is totally normal to find bubbles on the surface due to it’s chemical reaction when boiling water reaches tea leaves.
Step Six – Warm the cups
Pour the hot water to bring up the cups’ warmth.
Step Seven – Hot water, In pot again
It is needed to infuse boiling water into the pot again until it slightly spills over. Close the lid, rush boiling to the surface of the pot. This step could ensure the internal temperature is well kept.
Step Eight – Serve Tea
Every Tea has different brewing duration requirements. Since Gōng Fu Chá has a higher ratio of leaves and water, it usually takes up only a few seconds to brew. The duration of this step should gradually increase consecutively, but still within seconds.
When the tea is ready, evenly pour the tea into the cups.
Step Nine – Holding Tea cups
Try to hold the cup elegantly with good balance. Use your thumb and index finger to grab the sides, and give support at the bottom with your middle finger. We call it, the “triple-dragon protect a cauldron”.
Step Ten – Observe the colour
The colours of tea might vary from different kinds of cups and from different perspective inside a cup.
Step Eleven – Savour tea
Take three sips, let it trickle inside your mouth, genuinely enjoy the subtle taste of tea.
Step Twelve – Further Experience
Then, Repeat the above steps, taste the rest of the tea and feel the difference.
And pay attention to every single brew of tea. They all could be sophisticated in their own way as this is the most interesting part of tea appreciation and can help you live in the real moment.
Finally, you may take out the brewed leaves and appreciate the leaves too!