Gong-Fu – literally meaning the art of preparing tea skillfully dates back many centuries.  It is first mentioned in Cha Jing or The Classic of Tea – the most famous treatise on tea written by Lu Yu.  This ceremony does consist of some very specific steps, but the focus is more on the appreciation of the tea – in contrast to the Japanese tea ceremony which places more emphasis on symbolism and gestures.

 There are a number of elements that are required in order to perform the Gong Fu Cha:

1.  Yixing teapot – clay
2. Water dispensing tray
3. Wodden teaspoon to measure out the tea
4. A tea pitcher
5. A tea strainer
6. Wooden tweezer
7. Tasting cups and aroma cups
8.  Tea towel used to clean the table

Gong Fu Cha

1.  ‘warming the pot and heating the cups’ – fill the teapot with boiling water and drain it – warming the pot is important as this will enhance the flavour of the tea
2.  ‘appreciate excellent tea’ – Ti Kuan Yin Oolong is what is traditionally used for the ceremony
3.  ‘black dragon enters the palace’ – this is in reference to the Ti Kuan yin – fill the teapot 1/2 – 2/3 full of tea leaves
4.  ‘rinsing from elevated pot’ – pour hot water onto the leaves from an elevated height
5.  ‘the spring wind brushes the surface’ – brush the froth that will form at the top of the teapot to keep the tea clear
6.  ‘bathe the immortal’ – let the tea steep a while longer allowing the inside of the teapot to get warm
7.  ‘a row of clouds, running water’ – drain out the tea completely – we do not drink the first infusion
8.  ‘pour again from a low height’ – pour hot water into the teapot with your tea leaves again – this time from a low height – we don’t want to force too much flavour out all at once
9.  ‘bathing the sniffer cup’ – the tea is poured into the aroma cups in one sweeping motion to ensure equal flavours amongst all cups
10.  ‘walk in the mountains and play in the river’ – clean excess water from the bottom of the pot
11.  ‘the dragon and phoenix in auspicious union’ – balance the tasting cup ontop of your snifffer/aroma cup
12.  ‘the carp turns over’ – carefully invert the two cups
13.  ‘respectfully receive the fragrant tea’ – with three fingers lift the snifffer/aroma cup and take in the sweet warm aroma – use your thumb and forefinger to lift the tasting cup and your middle finger to balance the bottom – drink in three sips – a small sip, a second larger sip and the thirs is taking in the aftertaste