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Gong Fu Cha

Gong Fu Cha and using Yixing Zisha Tea Pot

I've put this video together mainly for our customers who have seen me serve tea using our Yixing tea pots and bought the pots to try at home. I have tried to keep it simple - just showing you the basic steps for multiple steeping of tea, a style known as Gong Fu cha in China and Taiwan. The term "Gong Fu" - same as Kung Fu, which many of us are familiar with - means anything that is conducted with great effort or skill. "Cha" is tea in Chinese.

Oolongs and puerh teas are best brewed in this method. However, we have also tried Darjeeling with fairly pleasing results. Actually,  if you have the patience you might be able to brew any kind of tea using this method! Remember this is a matter of "great effort".

What you need for Gong Fu Cha:

  • a small brewing vessel, usually a Yixing teapot or a gaiwan cup
  • with 70 – 250ml capacity
  • a set of small teacups (just so that you are drown yourself in tea at the end of 10 steeps!)
  • a shallow bowl or tea-tray (to catch water spillage; it can get a bit messy).
  • a set of aroma/smelling cups (optional)
  • a serving/pouring pitcher (also called justice cup)

The Seven Steps of Gung Fu Cha

1. Heat fresh water to the desired temperature (near or full boil for most teas)

2. Portion out the tea to be brewed and display (optional)

3. Place cups, pitcher and brewing vessel on your tea-tray or a shallow bowl. Preheat the Yixing pot or gaiwan, cups and the pouring pitcher with hot water, pouring some inside and some over the outside as well.

3. Empty all. Fill the pot or gaiwan with a tea leaves

4. Washing/waking up the leaves (this step we generally use only for low-grade oolongs and ripe puerh): Fill brewing vessel with hot water, close lid and pour hot water over the top (this helps to keep the temperature just right. Also over long period of time it helps builds a tea patina in and around the pot.).  Pour away this first infusion. It’s intended to rinse dust off and helps to re-hydrate the leaves (waking up.)

5. First infusion: Fill brewing vessel with hot water again to the brim, replace lid and pour hot water on top. Steep for 30 seconds - 1 minute (depending on tea and personal preferences). Pour all tea into a serving pitcher. Fill smelling cups first, empty them into the drinking cups and smell the empty smelling cup (this step is to enhance the fragrance of the tea which can be enjoyed separtely). Alternately, pour the infusion into the justice cups in a circular fashion, each one a bit at a time; do not fill them one at a time since you’ll end up with different strength tea in each one.

6. Repeat step 5 as long as you enjoy the flavour of the tea. You will have to adjust the water temperature and steeping time for later infusions (usually a 5-10 seconds increase from steeping to steeping).

That's it! Enter the world of Gong Fu cha and feel free to experiment with different tea quantities, steeping times and water temperature.  

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