If you want to brew your Chinese tea the right way then do it the way of Gong Fu Cha. Gong Fu translates as ‘right effort’. Thus, Gong Fu Cha refers to the effort put forth to get the best flavor from a tea. In many ways, the resulting cup is like an espresso. By contrast, western brewing methods create something like a big cup of coffee, or as they call it in Europe – ‘americano’.
Using a small vessel, tea is brewed in concentrated amounts. This way, we can extract the full spectrum of the tea's properties. We can add hot water to the same tea leaves multiple times. With superior teas, it can even be up to 13 times. Taste each tea brew independently to discern the changes in flavor. Tea drinkers can appreciate the evolving stages of tea. This method also maximizes the quantity of brewed tea from each serving of tea leaves.
Zi Sha clay from the delta of Yangtze River, Yixing, has excellent porosity and heat retaining properties that significantly improve the taste of tea when compared to tea made in glass, porcelain or glazed teapots. The clay is made of a mixture of kaolin, quartz, and mica, with a high content of iron oxide. The texture is somewhat sandy. The steps needed to prepare the clay are lengthy and have been traditionally regarded as a trade secret.
Gaiwan is the central part of Gong Fu Cha, used for infusing tea leaves. It consists of the bowl, lid, and saucer. A gaiwan is good to warm up tea, smell the aroma, and observe the tea leaves unfurling.
Because of its good heat preservation qualities, this gaiwan is great for brewing teas that need higher water temperature, such as black (red) teas, pu-erh and oolong.
Aroma cups are an essential part of enjoying the tea, especially oolong tea. As its name suggests, it is used for smelling the fragrance of the tea before drinking it. Unlike the tasting cup, the aroma cup is tall and slender. Make sure the cups match with your yixing teapot or gaiwan in material and color. Made from renowned yixing zisha clay, these cups will perfectly complement your tea.
How to use:
Pour tea from the Cha Hai into the aroma cup. Cover the aroma cup with the tasting cup. Slightly pressing both cups together with the thumb and index fingers of one hand, flip the cups over so that the aroma cup is now on top. Slowly lift the aroma cup. Enjoy its smell before taking a sip of the delicious tea.
What is in the set:
- Yixing ZiSha Gaiwan (125ml)
- 2 sets of ZiSha Aroma Tea Cups (20ml)
For the full Gong Fu Cha experience, make sure to have the following items:
- Cha Hai / Gong Dao Bei – 'bowl of impartiality'
- Tea Filter – helps to get a cup of clear and bright tea
NOTE: Avoid using detergents when cleaning.