Gong-Fu style tea brewing

Gongfu tea brewing developed in South China during the Ming Dynasty around 1500.  It involves steeping a larger amount of tea at a high temperature quickly which allows for multiple steeps.  You can find many different techniques for this so you will want to experiment to find the method that works best for you. Gongfu brewing is ideally suited for Oolongs, Puerhs, and White teas as the flavors really develop and evolve with subsequent infusions.

Equipment needed

  • Tea kettle: for heating water, of course
  • Teapot or Gaiwan: A pot made from Yixing clay is preferred for this method but not required. The porous nature of the clay absorbs the tea which adds to the flavor over time. However, if Yixing teaware is used, use a separate pot or gaiwan for each variety of tea, for instance, oolongs or white tea. Some purists would designate a separate pot for specific teas such as Da Hong Pao or Tiequanyin.
  • Serving pot or vessel
  • Drinking cups

Brewing Steps

  1. Heat water to desired temperature. There are some that will use boiling water for all teas and others will use a reduced temperature for more delicate oolongs and white teas. Again this is a matter of personal taste.
  2. Pour heated water into all equipment to rinse and warm them, then discard.
  3. Fill pot or gaiwan with a fist full of tea.
  4. Pour heated water over tea to rinse, about 5-10 seconds. Pour out the rinse water into cups and serving vessel to flavor and warm them. Discard.
  5. Pour heated water over tea. Cover and allow to steep for a short time (we like to start with a 20 second steep and then adjust depending on how the tea reacts), then pour into serving vessel. Increase steeping time with each infusion. Again this is a matter of personal preference.
  6. Pour into cups and serve. 
  7. Enjoy your tea.
  8. Repeat steps 5-7 until you stop enjoying your tea.