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Outdoors Gong Fu Cha

Posted by Angelina Kurganska on

When the weather is warm, all we want to do is go outdoors. And as much as we love enjoying tea in the comfort of a home, there is plenty of time for that during the chilly winters. Summer, on the other hand, is the perfect time to enjoy tea outdoors, with fresh greenery all around and the sounds of mountain streams...

Although packing for some quality gongfu cha time outdoors can be intimidating. What to bring? How do we make sure the teaware doesn't break? What about the water? What if the tea gets crushed?

Based in New York City, we are somewhat amateurs when it comes to outdoors. We don’t have any fancy equipment or tea bags made specifically for this purpose. But we can provide some tips that we’ve learned along the way that might come in handy to amateurs like us.

What Teaware Should I Bring Hiking?

When you bring teaware make sure it is sturdy and not easy to break. You probably don’t want to carry too much extra weight either. We prefer bringing our gaiwan over our teapot.

There are two reasons for this:

  1. The gaiwan is sturdier. It doesn’t have a spout that can possibly break.
  2. The gaiwan has enough space to stack two cups inside of it. 

This way you are only carrying your gaiwan and already have everything you need, almost. We like to bring our gaiwan with the cups stacked inside of it. The next step is making sure its protected so that it doesn’t break. For this purpose, we like to carefully wrap it in a kitchen cloth or Japanese tenugui. You can wrap it in anything else you feel comfortable: a scarf, tee shirt, etc.

Travel Tea Set

Travel Tea Set

How about the water?

If you aren’t planning on having a campfire outside, where you can boil the water on the spot, we recommend bringing a thermos with boiled water. The size will vary depending on the number of people hiking with you and how many times you plan to brew the tea (all of our teas brew from 5-10+ times). For 2 people a 16oz thermos will last for about 3-5 brews. An ideal option would be at least a 25oz thermos.

Each tea varies in the water temperature it requires for brewing. Although most thermoses keep the water hot for at least 6 hours, it still gradually becomes cooler. For this purpose, we always fill it with boiling water. This way, even if it becomes a little cooler, it will be the right temperatures for many if not most of our teas.

Which Teas Should I Bring Camping?

Understandably everyone has their own preference for teas. And some teas might seem to us extra tasty outdoors.

Something about the fresh air and smell of the trees and flowers just seems to completely transform the tea. Sometimes it’s hard to believe it is the same tea we have been drinking indoors, there are just so many factors that play a role in the taste and overall experience.

Here are some factors that play a role in the tea you choose to bring:

  • Are the tea leaves fragile and easy to get crushed?
    This is not a huge problem, but many would surely prefer their tea leaves not to get crushed. Fragile tea leaves generally tend to also take up a lot of space. 

For this reason, we would recommend bringing a compact tea like a pu-erh, rolled oolong, or a compressed white tea. Other kinds of white tea have very fragile leaves that can easily get crushed. 

  • What kind of energy does the tea have?
    Everyone has their own sensitivities when it comes to the energy of tea (caffeine). We like to bring teas that give us more energy for our hike or time outdoors. 

For this, we choose our teas with a higher caffeine content



Some of our most favorite teas for camping and outdoors:

  • Organic Mini Tuocha Ripe Pu-erh
    Mellow and smooth, slightly sweet. This tea was practically made for this purpose! It is compact and perfectly measured for a single serving (one ceremony). 
  • Tangerine Peel White Tea
    Sweet and mild, thirst-quenching. We love this tea for bringing outdoors thanks to its amazing qualities! Plus its small, round and compact. Already protected by the tangerine peel. 
  • Organic Tie Guan Yin Oolong
    Floral and sweet. An overall favorite. The tea leaves are rolled and won't get crushed with transportation. 

These tips are not only limited to hiking but also going to a park, to the beach and anywhere else!
Do you like to take your tea outdoors for a tea ceremony?
Have some tips to share?
Comment below!