Gong Fu Cha is a traditional Chinese tea service utilizing small clay pots and repeated brewing. Gong Fu is often associated with martial arts, but the literal meaning is ‘skill’. What is a skillful presentation of tea?
Gong Fu Tea uses small brewing vessels, most often clay pots. At the same time, more leaf than usual is used, and brewing times are reduced to mere seconds. By brewing this way, participants can experience the flavor, aroma, mouthfeel, and ‘energy’ of the tea as the leaves unfurl and release more of their essence. Each new infusion offers a deeper understanding of the tea. This also makes Gong Fu service a great way to share tea.
Small porcelain cups are the best way to experience Gong Fu tea. The petite serving size emphasizes how special even a mouthful of tea can be. It also means the tea is still hot when you finish it, infusing the porcelain with aromatics that would otherwise dissipate. Smelling the bottom of the empty cup is one of the great joys of Gong Fu tea.
Gong Fu tea service can be very elaborate, with dozens of pieces of equipment and specific techniques, prepared for a large group, or it can be pared down to an individual experience with a Gaiwan and a steady supply of hot water. At Callisto Tea House, we’ve chosen a middle way with our Gong Fu service. We will walk you through the steps and prepare your first brew, before handing you the reins and allowing you to develop your own ‘tea skill’.
The concept of gong fu is that anything can be a craft, anything can be a skillful or artistic expression. We express our creativity by practicing the skillful brewing of tea.