GongFu Tea Preparation with Yixing (Miniature) Tea Set

Introduction
The term "GongFu" in Chinese means skillful, and "GongFu" Tea Preparation refers to a method of preparing tea with a Chinese Miniature Tea Set that enhances the enjoyment of the tea experience.

Initial Preparation
Collect clean teapot, tea boat, tea pitcher, teacups, and loose tea. Boil water in a small kettle to the appropriate temperature. Optional equipage: saucers, smelling cups, tea tray, tea funnel, tea utensils, and waste water container.

Heat Equipment
Place teapot in the tea boat. Using the kettle, carefully fill the teapot with hot water. Replace the lid on the top of the teapot and pour hot water over the teapot. Fill all the cups (and smelling cups) with hot water. After everything is heated, dispose of the water in the teapot and cups.

First Steep
Scoop loose tea leaves into the warm teapot. As a general guideline, if the tealeaves are tightly rolled (e.g. Oolong), the leaves should fill a quarter of the teapot. If the tealeaves are not tightly rolled (e.g. Pouchong), the leaves should fill up to one half of the teapot. Experiment to discover the right amount of leaves for your teapot. Pour hot water over the leaves until the teapot is filled. Steep for around one minute. Dry the bottom of the wet teapot with a towel and transfer the brewed tea from the teapot to the tea pitcher.

Optional Step with Smelling Cups
Line up the smelling cups. With the tea from the tea pitcher, fill each smelling cup to approximately 50% capacity. After a couple of seconds, empty the tea from each smelling cup into its matching teacup "partner." Offer the empty smelling cup to each guest for his or her enjoyment of the aroma of the tea.

First Service
Line up the teacups (with saucers). With the tea from the tea pitcher, fill each teacup to approximately 70% capacity and offer the cup (with saucer) to each guest. Take some time to enjoy the color, fragrance, taste, and aftertaste of the tea, tea set, and the ongoing conversation with friends and family.

Second Steeping
Before the first guest completely consumes his or her cup of tea, reheat the water in the kettle if needed. Pour hot water into the teapot with the same previously steeped leaves. Steep for around one minute and transfer the tea from the teapot into the tea pitcher.

Second Service
Serve the tea from the tea pitcher by refilling each guest’s cup to about 70% capacity.

Successive Steepings
Reheat water if needed. Pour hot water into the teapot with steeped leaves. Lengthen the steeping time an additional 15-20 seconds for each successive steep (e.g. The third steep would be about 1 minute and 15 seconds. The fourth steep would be about 1 minute and 30 seconds.) The slightly additional steeping time should help to keep consistency in the tea taste without oversteeping. High quality tea leaves should be able to be steeped 4 to 6 times. Transfer the steeped tea into the tea pitcher and serve as before.

In the beginning you may experience some tea or water spillage or be unable to prepare the tea in time before some of the teacups run dry, but with practice and use of "GongFu" tea preparation you will soon experience the enhanced enjoyment of the tea time, tea, and teaset.




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