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Choose Your Style

Gongfu Tea is best translated as “Leisure Tea.” It is a beautiful way of preparing and enjoying tea alone or with guests that is designed to immerse you in the tasting experience and help put you in a mindset to truly appreciate the simple perfection of tea leaves in water.

At its most basic level, Gongfu tea is about using lots of leaf and small brew vessels and cups to enjoy many steepings of the same tea. To get started building your own perfect Gongfu set, choose the style that suits you best below.

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Tea Board

Your tea board is the foundation of traditional Gongfu tea. The board catches your rinse steepings, and any drips and overflow while brewing. It elevates your set and makes for an easy way to carry an entire set-up from one room to another. These compact tea boards are great solutions for small spaces, tea in the office or on the go.

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A runner provides a perfect backdrop for your modern gongfu set-up. A splash of color or natural texture sets off your tea ware and gives you a space to focus your attention on. In a pinch, a runner catches drips and protects your table from tea too. When not in use for gongfu tea, the runners work beautiful on a dining room table or for displaying your finest tea ware.

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Tea Boat

The tea boat provides an elegant stand for your gaiwan or yixing teapot. For yixing, a tea boat with a small reservoir is recommended to catch water that you pour over the teapot to season the outside. For gaiwan brewing, any tea boat can be used. The boat catches drips and provides a dramatic elevated stage for your star tea ware.

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Pitcher Stand

The pitcher stand gives your pitcher full of beautiful fresh steeped tea a place to be admired. It also functions to catch any drips while pouring from a gaiwan or tea pot into your pitcher. The stand is the counterpoint to the tea boat and helps visually balance the full set.

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The Bowl is what lets modern gongfu brewing work. While traditional brewing channels rinse steepings and extra tea into a reservoir under a tea tray, modern gongfu skips the tray for an elegant modern style. The bowl is where your rinse steepings are poured, and where you empty your tea boat reservoir if it fills. For long sessions, steeped-out leaf can also be discarded in your water bowl to make room for the next tea.

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The gaiwan is the heart of the gongfu ritual. One of the only vessels suitable for brewing any type of tea, a gaiwan will amplify the aromatics of your tea. When tasting alone, a gaiwan can also be used to sip from directly. The lid is used to hold back leaves while pouring. While you and your guests sip tea, you can pass the gaiwan to admire the leaves and catch the full aroma.

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The pitcher is a critical tool in a gongfu set up. Once a tea is steeped to perfection in a gaiwan or teapot, it is poured into a pitcher so that the right brew strength can be poured for every guest. The pitcher is also an opportunity to admire the color of your tea. A beautiful pitcher makes the tea seem all the more precious and helps reinforce a tasting environment.

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The shape, material and thickness of your cup have a definite effect on the taste of your tea. High quality cups reflect more of the teas aromatics. The cup is also there to set the visual mood of the tea you are drinking. We like having multiple cup choices for different teas and different times of day. Gongfu cups are small to allow you and your guests to taste many infusions of the same tea.

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Enjoyment is in the little things. Gongfu tea can be made all the more accessible with a couple elegant additions to your setup. Coasters provide a classy presentation for your tea and a place to set your cups safely. Vases are part of almost every tearoom setup in China because they let us bring a piece of nature into gongfu tasting. Strainers make it much easier to pour tea from gaiwan to pitcher without spilling leaves, and tea cloths are there to wipe up any spills, and polish your tea ware before and after use.

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