The Chinese have a special method for brewing tea, which can produce remarkable results. It is called the Gungfu Cha method. Gungfu means "skill and care" or "techniques."
The Gungfu method is typically used for more complex tea like oolong and pu-erh. The typical method uses a very small teapot, preferably a Yixing-style terracotta teapot, small thimble-sized cups, bamboo tweezers, a bamboo scoop, and a tray with drains.
Everything in Gungfu service is small and delicate, revealing the elegance of the tea it promotes. If you do not have a Gungfu tea set, you can approximate the method with an ordinary teapot, though the result may not be quite as good.
Genuine Yixing Terracotta teapots are made of sandy clay found near the town of Yixing in Jiangsu province. Yixing-style teapots are made in a wide range of shapes and thickness, and are not glazed. The porous clay of an unglazed pot is seasoned by repeated infusions of tea leaves, and does not need to be cleaned.
- You first want to pour hot water over the cups and teapot
- Then put leaves in the teapot and rinse or awaken them with boiled water
- Immediately pour out the water, drain completely
- Refill the pot with water and place the lid tightly
- Pour boiling water over the top of the teapot and allow the tea to steep for 20 to 30 seconds depending on the amount of tea and tea type. This infusion has the strongest aroma
- Some methods use two sets of cups. The tea is poured into the first cup (the sniffing cup) and then poured into the second cup (the tasting cup)
- One then smells the aroma left behind in the sniffing cup, and drinks from the tasting cup
- Make sure each cup contains in equally strength by filling the cups halfway first, then finishing them off the opposite direction (usually left to right, then right to left)
- Or use a faircup for serving. Faircup is a pitcher-like cup; the brewed tea should be drain completely into the faircup and then served.
- The second infusion should be few seconds shorter time as the first because the leaves are already unfurling, adding time will be release the flavour too quick.
- Subsequent infusions take progressively longer. Some teas can take four to five infusions, or more. A great way to gather with friends, connect and enjoy the delicate essence of the tea.
Traditional Gong Fu Cha Brewing Guide
|Tea Type||Water Temp °C/°F||125ml / 4 oz
Steep Time (seconds)
|Black Tea||100°C/212°F||6g||1 heaping tsp||20 to 30||20||5 to 6||Terracotta or Cast Iron, second choice Porcelain|
|Flower Buds Tea||90°C/194°F||3g||¾ tsp||45 to 60||60||2 to 3||Glassware or Porcelain|
|Green Tea||80°C/176°F||5g||1 tsp||20 to 30||20||4 to 5||Glassware or Porcelain|
|Herbal Tea||90°C/194°F||6g||1 heaping tsp||20 to 30||60||2 to 3||Glassware or Porcelain|
|Iron Buddha Tea||100°C/212°F||5g||1 heaping tsp||20 to 30||20||7 to 8||Terracotta medium thickness, 2nd choice is Porcelain/Ceramic|
|Jasmine Tea||85°C/185°F||4g||¾ tsp||25 to 35||25||4 to 5||Glassware or Porcelain|
|Ku Ding One Leaf Tea||95°C/203°F||1 piece||1 piece||30 to 40||60||3 to 4||Porcelain|
|Luk On Tea||95°C/203°F||5g||1 tsp||30 to 40||30||7 to 8||Terracotta or Porcelain|
|Oolong Tea||95°C/203°F||5g||1 heaping tsp||15 to 20||15||8 to 9||Terracotta or Porcelain|
|Pu-erh Tea||95°C/203°F||6g||1 heaping tsp||25 to 35||25||8 to 9||Terracotta or Porcelain|
|Pu-erh Tea Cakes - Cooked||100°C/212°F||6g||0||35 to 40||30||10 to 12||Terracotta or Porcelain|
|Pu-erh Tea Cakes - Raw||95°C/203°F||6g||0||35 to 40||30||10 to 12||Terracotta or Porcelain|
|White Tea||90°C/194°F||6g||1 tsp||15 to 25||20||4 to 5||Glassware or Porcelain|
|Yellow Tea||90°C/194°F||5g||1 heaping tsp||15 to 25||20||3 to 4||Glassware or Porcelain|