Chinese Gong Fu tea is a traditional tea preparation method for multiple infusions in a small teapot. This preparation method began in Chaozhou during the Song Dynasty; that's why it is often referred to as 'Chaozhou Gong Fu Cha. Chinese tea, 中国茶文化, consists of all facets of tea, both physical and spiritual, that outstandingly influenced Chinese culture throughout history. Physically, it contains the history of tea cultivation, making, serving techniques, ways of consumption, arts, and the tea ceremony. In this article, we discuss Chinese Kung Fu Tea Culture, a description, its philosophy, history, how it is conducted, and the famous tea used in practice.
Chinese Gong Fu Tea
You may have heard of the Chinese saying "有潮汕人的地方，便有功夫茶的影子," which means "In places where you find Chaozhou people, you'll find a reflection of gong Fu tea. “You can also observe the reflection of reality as the custom of preparing gong Fu tea remains. There is still a traditional tea table with a gong Fu-making set in every Chaozhou family. You cannot confuse traditional gong tea with Chinese wedding tea ceremonies.
Chinese Gong Fu Tea Culture, Philosophy, History
The origin of gong fu tea goes back to Chaozhou city in the Guangdong province of Southeast China. But now, after years of cultural migration and development, the gongfu cha is a melting pot of tea practices from China, Japan, and Taiwan. Gongfu Cha is however often misrepresented as a traditional brewing style with ancient origins. The historical record shows that gongfu brewing developed within the past 200 years. The earliest gongfu brewing was by gastronome Yuan Mei in 1792 and bureaucrat Yu Jiao in 1801. It describes how tea drinkers in Wuyi Mountains used pots that held no more than an ounce of water and cups no bigger than a walnut. In 1937, Lin Yutang wrote that gongfu brewing was "generally an art from which North China was unknown, practiced only by "connoisseurs and not served among shopkeepers—making whole-leaf tea only started in the Ming dynasty (1386-1644).
Before this, in China, tea would have been ground to a powder and whisked like Japanese matcha or "powdered and ground up, then boiled in water, with added fragrance such as spices and salt. 'Gongfu' literally means 'Kung Fu in Chinese. After hearing this term, people are compelled to consider why brewing tea is related to this art. However, the word kung fu has much more meaning than fighting sport. But the basic meaning of its related to the words' art', 'skill,' and 'effort. ‘So tea preparation means making tea with more effort and dedication to brewing a full cup of tea more artistically. It also extends to the art of tasting tea, which requires skill. Some people think Gongfu tea is a type of tea, but this is not valid. Instead, it's a way of brewing tea. Because of its artistic and steeping method, it can also be considered a kind of tea culture. Especially in ancient times, people practice kung fu tea to self-cultivate. The final dimension of Chaoshan gongfu tea as art identified involved cultivating interest in connecting tea with spirituality or philosophy.
Gongfu Tea Ceremony
The gongfu tea ceremony or 工夫茶 is a kind of Chinese tea ceremony that involves the ritual preparation and presentation of tea. The tea preparation approaches probably originated in Fujian and the Chaoshan area of eastern Guangdong. The phrase means "making tea with skill."It often includes using smaller brewing vessels and a higher leaf-to-water ratio than western-style brewing. Today, it is used by tea shops carrying tea of Chinese origins and experts as a way to maximize the taste of a tea selection, especially one time. The tea was served in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. It was so complicated due to its so many small steps. It is a classic Chinese tradition to pay attention to tea-making quality. All teas, loose tea, coarse tea, and powdered tea have long synchronized with the imperially appointed compressed form. Generally, oolong, Pu Erh, and black tea are used to make Gongfu tea. Da Hong Pao belongs to Wuyi Mountain, a tea we love to make gongfu way. With unique "rock charm" and long-lasting aroma, the famous oolong tea is more suitable for a Gongfu tea ceremony.
Steps of The Gongfu Tea Ceremony
- First, wash your hands for hygiene purposes and burn incense to start Gongfu Tea Ceremony.
- To start the ceremony, the tea maker uses a special spoon to put the dry tea leaves in the teapot.
- Heat the teapot, and a pretty Yixing purple clay teapot is used in a ceremony.
- Add A good amount of the tea leaves into the teapot. Add water to the teapot; In the tea ceremonies, hot water is often boiled in an iron tea kettle, then put in the rim of the teapot.
- Scrape the bubbles with the help of the teapot lid on the water, then put the lid on the teapot.
- Rinse the teacups and drain the infusion into the tea tray. Pour more water into a teapot.
- Pour the infusion into the fairness pitcher; in gongfu sessions, the leaf ratio is higher than the water ratio, and the steeping time is usually a few seconds.
- Add the infusion into the fragrance-smelling cups, and Drop by drop pouring, which is used for enjoying the lingering aroma of the tea.
- Every fragrance-smelling cup is covered with an empty teacup. Transfer the tea to tea cups. Hold the aroma cup and the teacup; quickly transfer the tea into cups.
- Now serve each guest a teacup filled with tea and an upside-down fragrance-smelling cup inside of it.
- Enjoy the aroma from fragrance-smelling cups, which explains how your guests can hold a teacup steadily and elegantly.
- Observe the liquor color of Da Hong Pao is dark orange also, depending on the type of teacup.
- Taste the liquor by taking three sips of the tea. Pour the remaining tea into the tea tray. Now enjoy the delightful aftertaste of the tea, and smell the aroma left in the teacup.
- Taste the tea for the second round and repeat steps 8 to 19; all flavor is extracted from the tea leaves.
- In the end, Thank the guests for attending the ceremony.
- To practice the Kung Fu tea ceremony, people must read a whole Chinese tea set, a table big enough to hold the tea-making utensils, fine spring hot water, and high-quality dry tea leaves.
The Bottom Line of Chinese Kung Fu Tea Culture, Chinese Tea
Since ancient and medieval times, Chinese tea cultures have influenced tea cultures in neighboring East Asian countries like Japan and Korea, with each country developing a slightly different form of the tea ceremony. Nevertheless, this difference is slight when compared to countries that were late adopters of tea, like the United States and the United Kingdom, that developed vastly divergent tea cultures from China, especially regarding preparation, taste, and occasion. Modern China still consumes tea regularly for both informal and formal occasions. It is also an essential ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine and cuisine and a popular beverage.