How to Make Tea Gongfu-Style
No gaiwan, no problem! Learn how to make fine tea in small infusions without any fancy equipment. Watch the video above or just follow the easy pictures below.
What is the point of Gongfu Tea Brewing?
Maybe you have seen videos of Chinese tea ceremony, or maybe you have the equipment and do gongfu yourself. "Authentic" Gongfu brewing varies dramatically across China. It is important not to get caught up in the little details and remember that gongfu tea is first and foremost about leisure. It is a celebration of free time, and a celebration of seeing beauty in the little pleasures of sight, taste, smell, and texture. Gongfu brewing focuses on steeping the same leaves many times to hear their full story of flavor. You certainly don't need yixing pots and gaiwans just to appreciate the beauty of tea over a long brewing session.
Tip: Even for improvisational gongfu, it is fun to use your nicest cups. Beautiful objects brew beautiful tea!
Step Two: Find a plate to act as tea tray, catching drips when you pour tea. Make sure it is big enough to hold two cups.
Step Three: Choose your loose leaf tea.
Tip: Usually higher quality teas can be steeped out through more infusions, so they are a better candidate for gongfu brewing. In this case, Tieguanyin.
Step Four: Add four-five grams of tea to your brewing cup
Chinese gongfu brewing needs a lot of leaf with a little water to really shine.
Step Five: Pour freshly boiled filtered water along the edge of your steeping cup, over the leaves. Steep for about five seconds.
Note: The first light steeping can be sipped, or discarded as a rinse.
Step Six: Pour the steeping off into a pitcher or second cup, straining with a fork.
Tip: When making green tea, leave just a bit of water to cover the leaves between steepings.
Step Seven: Pour the tea into a small cup or bowl, sip and enjoy.
Tip: save your leaves and steep at least five to six times. Taste the flavors change with each infusion.