Tea, like coffee, is a delicious brewed beverage enjoyed all over the world in so many different ways and styles. It is true that the tea will only ever be as good as the tea leaves you brew with so sourcing high quality tea leaves is arguably the most important step to improving your tea brewing game.
How to brew tea Gongfu style:
Gongfu or Gongfu-Cha are Chinese tea brewing styles focused around ceremony, steeping cycles and drinking with friends.
The core concept is based around using small teapots or Gaiwans and steeping in short intervals, decanting and re-steeping tea until all the flavours have been extracted from the leaves. High quality tea can be brewed this way over and over again before the flavours exhort.
- Your favourite looseleaf Tea leaves (Green, White, Black)
- Kettle (Does not have to be gooseneck)
- Teapot or Gaiwan
- Cup / Sensory cup
Prepping your water is important, brewing tea with regular tap water can be less than ideal due to the water containing variable levels of mineral content. We recommend using water with a similar mineral content to coffee brewing water, Aiming for 100-150 TDS is a good range, to achieve this you can use distilled water and add your own mineral content or use a pre-made mineral content such as the Aquacode sachets. We have also had great results brewing tea with water containing small amounts of table salt.
Some tea drinkers recommend brewing tea at different temperatures and while this is definitely true for some teas, we suggest using water at 95ºc as it will work just fine for most teas.
First we need to work out how much tea to use, this depends on how many people you will be sharing tea with.
We recommend starting on 2g of looseleaf tea per person and then adding increments of +1g per additional person. (1Person = 2g, 2People = 3g, 3 people = 4g etc).
When using a Gaiwan, preheat and rinse then place your dry leaves inside, close the lid and let the tea leaves warm up. When you open the lid make sure you take the time to smell all the aromas.
Now it's time for the 'first rinse', pour boiling water over your tea leaves and cover to steep for about 1 minute. After a minute passes it is optional to drink this first tea or tip it out.
Let the tea leaves sit (covered) for 1 minute and prepare for the second steeping, pour your hot water in and again let your tea steep for 1 minute. Now serve into your tea cups to drink.
You can repeat this over and over and taste as your tea develops through these stages. Depending on the tea leaves you are brewing with your tea will taste differently throughout these stages, we found that when brewing in this style tea starts off light and sometimes bitter and then develops to its highest sweetness and flavour intensity around the 3-5th steeping. The flavours then have a tendency to drop off after the 8-10th steeping.
I hope you have found this blog post useful!