guide to gong fu brewing
Gong Fu is the traditional style of Chinese brewing, and translates to 'time and effort.' In China, this is not a ceremony - it is how tea is brewed causally, in everyday settings. You are putting the 'time and effort' into making the best cup of tea, every time.
In this style, a high ratio of leaves are used compared to water, and the leaves are re-brewed multiple times. This ratio allows you to experience the changes in the leaves at each brew. To brew in this style, you will need A gaiwan or teapot; a tea pitcher; a strainer; a tea tray (or bucket); and cups. Depending on your set-up and desires, gong fu brewing can be simplified, but we've outlined the full traditional steps below.
Steps to Gong Fu Brewing
1. Measure out the right amount of tea leaves using a scale or eyeing it out. Set aside.
2. Heat your water to the recommended temperature.
3. Warm up all teaware by pouring water into the gaiwan/teapot, rinsing it through the tea pitcher and then into the cups. Discard water onto the tea tray or into a bucket (or, the sink works too.)
4. Add the dry tea leaves into the warmed brewing vessel. You can shake them around and then open the lid to experience the aroma of the dry leaves.
5. Pour in water to do a 'rinse' brew. This step allows the leaves to wake up, get the membranes inside to start moving and give you the most brewing potential out of your leaves. (Green teas do not need this rinse brew.) Discard the rinse brew.
6. Add water again to your vessel and let the leaves steep for the allotted time. Usually, because of the high ratio of leaves, you only need to 'flash brew' it - meaning you just put the water in, and pour it out into the tea pitcher (using the strainer to catch any leaf that may fall out) without much time.
7. Pour into cups, and enjoy!
8. When using a 100-120ml gaiwan, leaves can be steeped at least 9-10 times. This amount may vary depending on the quality and type of tea. We recommend continuing to re-brew until you feel the life of the tea has faded.