What is Kung Fu Tea？
Kung Fu tea also known as Gong Fu Tea isn't a certain type of tea but instead it is a unique way to prepare tea skillfully.
In China's Chaoshan, Gong Fu tea is used as a traditional drinking tea for their custom. It is a part of the most important components of Chaoshan tea culture and ceremony. For Chinese tea art it is the most representative, because it is both a tea art and a folk custom.
For the daily life of Chaoshan people, Gong Fu tea is the most common thing for them. It is as common as how people need to work and exercise. After eating together or having time with friends it is common to drink tea together. Drinking tea not only quenches thirst but it also helps with chatting, exchanging information, and talking about trades or other things while you drink the tea.
Kung Fu Tea came originally from the Song Dynasty. In the area of Chao Zhou Fu it is the most popular as well as , Quan Zhou Guangdong, Zhang Zhou Fujian. From the Song and Tang Dynasties this tea art has been inherited and developed. Not only does every family enjoy this tea multiple times a day, but they also own their own tea set.
This custom lives on with people even if they have moved from the Chaozhou area or have already left the country. You can find the custom of Kung Fu Tea anywhere that you can see Chaozhou people.
Important Points About Kung Fu Tea:
Gong Fu tea has strict requirements when it comes to the tea sets, the tea leaves, and even the water quality. As well as strict requirements on how to bask the leaves, how to offer the tea, as well as how to drink the tea.
1. Tea Set:
The reasons why it differs from other tea-making methods is mostly because of the tea set. Gong Fu tea pays attention to the sophisticated and fired tea utensils. The essential pieces of a tea set are the teapots, teacups, tea trays, tea mats, electric kettles, clay ovens, sand pots, and the nucleus carbons.
Gong Fu tea is known for its high concentration. It tastes bitter when you first drink it but after you get used to it the tea starts to taste lighter. The tea that is the most common for use in Gong Fu is an oolong tea, such as Tieguanyin.
3. Drinking Tea:
The teapot usually makes enough for around three people. The more elegant teapots are the Yixing's small clay pots and white porcelain glazed teacups.
4. Tea Ceremony:
Since Chaoshan Gong Fu tea has a long history it comes with a special way of making the tea along with many different interesting customs. One of the customs are that the owner must personally brew the tea to show their respect for their guests.
Therefore, when drinking the tea, new guests or friends will have to replace the old tea. The owner must use the new tea to welcome the new guests, otherwise it is considered to be disrespectful to their new guests or friends.
Gong Fu tea is a traditional tea drinking custom in Chaoshan China. This is the most important components of the Chaoshan tea culture and tea ceremonies. It is both tea are and folk custom as well the most representative of the Chinese tea art.
Let's compare the difference between the traditional way of drinking tea and Kung Fu tea:
Traditional Steps to Make Chinese Tea:
1. Heating the Teapot (Chinese Pottery):
Raise the temperature of the teapot by pouring boiling water over it. This makes it so that you avoid ruining the temperament of the tea. Note: Using a cold teapot will absorb the heat of the boiling water used to make the tea and this in turn affects the flavor of the tea.
2. Inserting the Tea Leaves:
While heating the pot, you can put the leaves inside and then let the pot set. During the wait time you can always invite your guests to admire the different types of tea. You can also take this time to converse with your guests as well as introduce them to the respective characteristics of the teas such as the scent, color, and appearance. It is always good to make sure that you put the tea back where it goes after appreciating it.
3. Bask the Tea Leaves:
Heat the leaves by pouring hot water over them. There is no need for an excessive amount of water. Filter the hot water from the leaves immediately after basking the leaves. Note: The objective of basking the leaves is to make the hardened tea leaves (such as the Pearl tea around the Shi Zhou on Mountain Ali) more flexible through stretching them in lukewarm water so that the tea would taste more balanced and delicious. Some people regard basking as more of a cleaning but not all tea is suitable for this step.
4. Awaken the Tea (Release the Flavors of the Tea):
Pour all the hot water used for basking into the tea leaves. Set the pot down and wait for the leaves to release the flavor. While waiting you need to heat the teacups with hot water.
5. Adding the Hot Water:
The amount of water depends on how many cups of tea are needed. After that the time needed to let the tea steeps depends on the type of tea and the amount of leaves that were used. The tea has to steep for at least 45 seconds to 1 minute. Some different types of tea leaves require a longer steeping time of 1 minute to 5 minutes. While steeping the tea don't forget to warm the teacups.
6. Offering the Tea:
Pour all of the tea over the filter to balance the color and the flavor as well as to filter out the scum. Pour the filtered tea into a cup at approximately seven tenth of the cup. Another thing you can do is play knock the cup which is another way to enjoy the tea. Note: From a hygienic point of view, knock the cup is only good for the first serving of tea.
7. Enjoying the Tea:
Pour the tea from the scent cup to the drinking cup. Making sure to smell the fragrance. Also, do not put your hand on the rim of the cup. If you are used to drinking with your right hand, then put your middle finger at the twelve o'clock direction and the thumb at the six o'clock direction. Drink at the eight o'clock direction. Divide the drinking time into three sections, one to experience the hot tea, another to experience the tea lukewarm, and the last to experience the tea cold.
The Brewing Procedures of Kung Fu Tea:
1. Heat up the Teapot:
Using the boiling water you can pour it into the teapot until the teapot overflows. Let the boiling water sit in the teapot so that the teapot can begin to warm up.
2. Warm up the Teacups:
To show respect to your guests you also need to use the hot water from the teapot to warm and rinse your teacups.
3. Put the Leaves into the Teapot:
Using the proper amount of tea leaves that you need put them into the teapot.
4: Fill with Hot Water:
The ratio for the tea leaves to water is normally 1:22. After getting your proper ratio go ahead and fill up the teapot with boiling water.
5: Using the teapot lid go ahead and take off the foam on top.
6: After that pour more hot water onto the teapot.
7: Serving Tea:
These steps show the technical skills that come with the tea making process. Serve the tea by pouring the tea into the teacups while using a circular motion.
8: Serve the Guests:
Have music playing while your guests are served the tea. Your guests will look at the tea waters color, the smell of the teas fragrance, and the taste of the tea. They will appreciate all of those things while they talk about the teas culture.
What are the reasons that the Kung Fu Tea set uses three cups?
1. The three tea cups are placed onto the table to form a Chinese character "品". The word "品" means that the Chaoshan people are a group that values their morality.
2. In the past life was very difficult. Many Chaoshan people went overseas to find a job. While they left to find a job they brought their tea sets with them in their luggage. While they lived in Southeast Asia or anywhere else they realized that they missed their family.
The three cups mean, one is the representation for their local friends, another on is the representation of themselves, and the final one is the representation of the family members. These tea cups represent encouragement to themselves, respect for their friends, and them missing their hometown.
3. From a scientific point of view, three teacups are placed together and the triangle represents stability. The use of three cups by the Chaoshan people also reflects the desire of the Chaoshan people to stabilize their families. The relationship between family members and friends who drink tea together can always be united and peacefully developed.