Many Gong Fu tea brewers divide into two categories: the ones who prefer to only use gaiwan; and the ones who stick with the trusty dusty teapot. Of course, there's also a third category — those who use both. We see ourselves as the third category.
When using the gaiwan some things which may be intimidating are the hot water temperature and the unusual way of gripping this tea vessel. Sure, using a teapot will usually ensure that your fingers don't get burned. However, if you follow the steps to properly using a gaiwan, the chances of burning yourself are just as minimal as with a teapot! (Read more)
The Chinese Tea Ceremony. Gong Fu Cha. In the west, we have all developed certain connotations behind these phrases, and for most of all, the image we get when we hear Chinese tea ceremony is the same. A gaiwan or yixing teapot filled to the brim with tea leaves, some small teacups, a tea table with some tea utensils, and a tea pet. Indeed, the vast majority of us will get the same image in our minds when we hear gong fu cha. The Chinese tea ceremony is almost comparable to Chinese food in the US. Is American Chinese food the same food you will find being served in China? No. It is the same with the Chinese tea ceremony. Not everyone in China practices what we nowadays refer to by this term. Furthermore, modern day gong fu cha is not purely Chinese. (Read more)
Chaozhou in Guangdong province is an enticing area of China holding mountains of tea traditions, literally. The city of Chaozhou is near Phoenix Mountain, the birthplace of aromatic Dan Cong Oolongs. There, the tea bushes grow semi-wild on high elevations amid fragrant fruit gardens.
Gong fu cha, the Chinese tea ceremony, originated in Chaozhou during the Song Dynasty. Even today, the province’s tea traditions are highly treasured and preserved. In other parts of China, you may find plenty of people practicing various tea brewing methods, like grandpa-style tea or western brewing. However, in Chaozhou, tea drinkers prefer to stick to their roots. If you happen to be in a local’s presence for long enough, they are likely to treat you to gongfu style tea. (Read more)
The aroma cups are an essential part of gong fu cha stemming from Taiwan and Fujian province, China. Although it is not known precisely when they were first created, they became prevalent in 1980s Taiwan. When we drink tea, contrary to common belief, most of the experience comes from the smell and not the taste itself. Try drinking your favorite tea when you are sick with a stuffy nose and you will surely notice the difference! Aroma cups are used precisely for smelling the brewed tea with all its delicious delicateness! (Read more)
Teacups! They come in so many different shapes and sizes. Growing up in the west, I was always used to drinking tea from giant mugs. And the more absurdly giant the cup was — the better! I still remember like it was yesterday, the day I first tried tea from a tiny teacup, which barely fit in my fingers. It seemed it wasn’t even enough tea for half a sip. However, that half a sip was incomparable to any of the giant tea gulps I’ve had before!
There exist many different styles of teacups used for both the tea ceremony and casual tea drinking. Let’s take a look at each one. (Read more)