There are a few basic steps you should always follow. Preheating your teapot is a mandatory step. Preheating will let you enjoy the most exquisite aromas and clean your teapot from any residues or dust. You should always place the tea leaves into a pre-heated teapot. Choosing the right amount of tea leaves is the very important step as well. Traditional gongfu tea brewing method requires even up to 1 grams of leaves per 10 ml. However, you can start with at least 5-7 grams of leaves for 100-150 ml of water. The first brew should be quick for around 5 seconds and is discarded unless you are brewing green tea, it is intended to prepare the tea leaves to open up in order to yield the flavourful infusions in the subsequent steepings. Usually, the first brew is poured into tea cups to warm them up, while waiting for the second brew for drinking. As a general rule, you can start steeping the tea leaves for 10 seconds for the second brew and add 5 seconds for each subsequent steeping. When the second brew is ready, it is then poured into the pitcher and evenly distributed amongst the cups. Re-steeping continues until the tea leaves lose all of their aroma and increase the steeping time with each steep.
Gongfu tea ceremony should be about enjoying the flavours, appreciating the appearance of the leaves and dwelling into the intense scents. Gongfu tea method is not only a brewing method, it is a form of art that elevates the importance of tea in the Chinese tea culture and the skillfulness of the person in charge of brewing.
Gongfu tea brewing might require quite a lot of tea equipment if you want to follow all the rules, but what you really need are a few basic utensils. The most important is a proper teapot – be it a hand-made glass/porcelain gaiwan (80-150ml), a good quality, clay teapot (100-220ml) or glass teapot (80-150ml) are the most common and appropriate teapots to use for gongfu brewing. Next thing you need is a pitcher and small cups, either glass, porcelain or clay. Strainer will be useful for beginners as well. And the mostly overlooked, but very important piece of equipment – a tea board or a tea tray. Gongfu tea tray has a special drainage system or wood/metal tray to collect the access water. After mastering the basic steps of a proper brewing, it is wise to consider investing in all other utensils and equipment including a proper tea scoop and even a tea pet.
If you would like to complete your Gong Fu Tea moment, please check our Gongfu Tea Essentials.
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