Gongfu brewing is a ritualized form of preparing tea that works well with oolongs and puers. The Gongfu tea ceremony originated in the Song Dynasty and by the Ming Dynasty had become more widespread, used especially in Fujian and Guandong. “Gongfu” refers to something done with skill, and indeed brewing in this way can bring out the best flavor in a tea, as one controls variables like water temperature and steep time. In addition to producing a great brew, it is a beautiful ritual and certainly can heighten one’s enjoyment when drinking tea with others.
Implements used in Gongfu Tea Ceremony
- A Tea Boat – The tray on which the tea is brewed. The boat has slats or holes in the top that allow water to fall through into the lower tray or vessel below.
- Tea Leaf Holder – Holds the dry tea leaves and displays them before brewing. Usually designed for easy pouring of the leaf into the pot.
- A Gongfu Pot – Often made of clay, which retains heat well as the tea brews.
- Pitcher or “Fair Cup” – The pitcher will hold the brewed tea once it is done steeping in the pot. The name “fair cup” refers to the fact that everyone will get exactly the same brew if the tea is decanted first.
- Cups – A small set of cups is given to each tea drinker. One is a tall aroma cup, and the other is a shorter drinking cup. Tea is poured first into the aroma cup and, from there, into the drinking cup. Take a look at the video below for a demonstration.
- Other small implements may be used like a bamboo tea scoop, a brush for wiping down teapot and teaware, etc.