Want to deepen your tea ritual practice? Gong (Kong) Fu Tea (Cha) is an ancient Chinese brewing method in which friends and family gather for conversation and meditation while enjoying the brewing process. It’s especially suited for finer teas, such as (ahem) oolong teas, which require a higher temperature for the taste and aroma to fully develop.
Gong Fu means martial arts, skills, or the process of things. Gong Fu Cha is the combination of all of these meanings, referring to the time it takes for one to practice the prepping, brewing, and serving skills involved in this ritualized ceremony. The entire process feels like meditation, whether performed alone or with a group, because of the meditative nature of calmly waiting for the water to boil. It’s perfectly suited to deep conversation and reflection.
Read on to find out how to host your own Gong Fu session.
What You’ll Need
- YiXing (clay) teapot, to keep tea hot for a longer period of time.
- Small sipping teacups to share the prepared teas with your group
- Gong Fu (Bamboo) tea tray, to hold brewing instruments and any excessive spill water
- Tea tools (funnel, tongs, tea needles, etc.)
- Your favorite oolong tea
- Fair cup: This is a cup that is used to combined two brews together before pouring tea into sipping cups.
- Tea strainer, to screen out small pieces of tea leaves
- Your choice of water boilers or kettle
The Gong Fu Ritual
- Add your oolong tea (fill the teapot half or two-thirds of the way up) of your choice to the teapot, using the funnel to assist if you’d like.
- Boil the water and fill the teapot until it overflows to soak the entire teapot. Put the lid on.
- Pour tea into each teacup, and then pour them all out (you can use the tongs here to assist if the teacup is too hot to hold). This step is to wash the tea leaves and warm the teapot and the teacups.
- Keep the water boiling. This is where the real session begins.
- Add hot water into the teapot and let it sit for 30 seconds before pouring it into the fair cup. Add 10-15 seconds for subsequent infusions.
- Empty the first brew by pouring all the tea into the fair cup with the strainer on top. Repeat once more to combine the two brews in order to balance the flavor before serving.
- Serve the teas by pouring from the fair cup to the small teacups.
- Toast your family and friends and enjoy your tea. Congratulations! You’ve completed your first Gong Fu (Oolong) Tea session.
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