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Gongfu Tea Brewing Method

Gongfu Tea Brewing became popular during China’s Ming Dynasty about the year 1500. The difference between using the regular brewing method and the Gongfu tea method is in the amount of tealeaves used and the steeping duration of the tea. The Gongfu method involves using more tealeaves, but the infusion duration is shorter. This allows for multiple infusions. This method of brewing requires practice and the term “Gongfu style” literally means using great skill to brew tea. This method is great for Oolong teas and good for Black teas, but generally isn’t meant for Green or Scented teas.

Terms and Equipment:

Yixing teapot:
These are the teapots used for Gongfu style brewing. These pots are made from porous purple clay and actually absorb the flavors of the tealeaves to produce a more enjoyable cup of tea.

Serving Pot or Vessel:
Once the tea is steeped for the desired amount of time, then the tea is poured from the teapot into this serving vessel. This is to stop the infusion process.

Aroma Cups and Drinking Cups:
Each person is given an aroma cup and a drinking cup. The tea is poured from the serving vessel into the tall aroma cup. The tea is left in the aroma cup for a couple of minutes and then it poured into each individual’s drinking cup. The emptied cup captures the fragrance of the tea and can be enjoyed by putting the aroma cup under your nose. Finally you can enjoy the cup of tea from the drinking cup.

Gongfu Brewing Steps:

  1. The teapot should be rinsed with hot water. This is done to clean the pot and warm the pot in preparation for brewing the tea. After rinsing, the water should be poured out.
  2. Immediately, place the tealeaves into the teapot. Put in about two teaspoons or about enough to cover the bottom of the teapot. Fill the teapot to the rim with boiling water and quickly pour it out, this is done to rinse the tealeaves and removes the dust.
  3. Add boiling water to the rim of the teapot and let the tea brew. Cover the teapot with the lid and continue to pour boiling water on the outside to ensure equal heating of the tea. For Oolong tea, add water 10 to 20 degrees Celsius below boiling for three to five minutes. For Black tea, add water 5 to 15 degrees Celsius below boiling for about three minutes. You may want to experiment a little to find the perfect brewing time with the specific teas.
  4. Rinse the aroma cups and the drinking cups with boiling water.
  5. When the correct amount of time has passed, pour the tea into the serving pot.
  6. Pour the tea from the serving pot to the aroma cups.
  7. Pour the tea from the aroma cups to the drinking cups and put the aroma cups under your nose.
  8. Enjoy your cup of tea.
  9. Repeat step 3 to step 8 for additional infusions. The infusion time should be a little longer for each subsequent infusion.

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