What Is Kung Fu Cha?-Gongfu tea ceremony(20+ Answers)

Kung Fu Cha, also known as Gongfu Cha, is a traditional Chinese tea ceremony that combines artistry, mindfulness, and the preparation and appreciation of tea. Rooted in Chinese culture and history, this ancient practice has been passed down through generations, embodying elegance, discipline, and a deep respect for tea. In this article, we will delve into the world of Kung Fu Cha, exploring its origins, key elements, and significance in Chinese society.

what is gongfu tea?

Gongfu tea originated during the Song Dynasty and is widely practiced in the Chaoshan region of Guangdong Province and the Zhangzhou and Quanzhou areas of Fujian Province. Gongfu tea is a comprehensive tea ceremony that combines spirituality, etiquette, brewing techniques, tea artistry, and quality assessment.

The tea utensils used in Gongfu tea are exquisite, and the brewing process is unique and meticulous. The consumption of Gongfu tea follows a specific ritual and requires careful attention. It serves not only as a leisurely activity and enjoyment during leisure time but also as a tool for social interactions and an important means of welcoming guests.

Gongfu tea sets are small and delicate, emphasizing precision and craftsmanship. A typical set consists of one teapot and three cups, although there are variations with two or four cups. The water used for brewing Gongfu tea is preferably spring water or well water. The tea leaves used for Gongfu tea are usually oolong teas such as Tieguanyin, Shuixian, and Fenghuang tea. Oolong tea, a semi-fermented tea, falls between black and green tea and possesses the necessary characteristics of color, aroma, and flavor required for Gongfu tea.

What is Gongfu tea in Chinese?

In Chinese, Gongfu tea is written as “功夫茶” (gōngfū chá). The term “功夫” (gōngfū) means “skill” or “effort,” and “茶” (chá) means “tea.” Therefore, Gongfu tea can be understood as “the skillful or artful way of preparing tea” in Chinese.

Why is Kung Fu Tea called Kung Fu Tea?

Gongfu tea, also known as “工夫茶” (gōngfū chá) in Chinese, originated in the Song Dynasty and became popular in the Chaoshan region of Guangdong province. It is a form of tea ceremony that combines spiritual, ceremonial, and tea brewing skills, focusing on the art of tea appreciation and quality evaluation.

The term “工夫茶” does not refer to a specific type of tea, but rather to a tea brewing technique. It is called Gongfu tea because this method of brewing tea requires great skill and follows a specific set of procedures.

It is important to note that the correct term and spelling are “工夫茶” (Gongfu tea). Many people mistakenly refer to it as “功夫茶” (Kung Fu tea).

gongfu tea history

Chaozhou Gongfu tea, originating in the Ming Dynasty and flourishing in the Qing Dynasty, has become a cultural phenomenon and an integral part of Chaozhou’s tea-drinking customs. It is an advanced form of the loose-leaf brewing method based on the existing “loose tea” consumption style during the Tang and Song dynasties.

The earliest literary documentation related to tea drinking in Chaozhou can be found in Su Shi’s “Yu Zi Ye” during the Northern Song Dynasty. Su Shi, a literary figure, had a deep understanding of tea and tea art. The tea samples sent by Wu Fugu, one of Chaozhou’s prominent figures, received high praise from Su Shi. This indicates that tea drinking customs were prevalent among the upper-class individuals in Chaozhou during the Song Dynasty. With subsequent population migrations, especially during times of war and turmoil, the tea-drinking customs of the Central Plains were brought to Chaozhou.

Chaozhou Gongfu tea primarily uses semi-fermented oolong tea leaves. The development of Gongfu tea can be traced back to the middle to late Ming Dynasty when oolong tea production techniques were established. After the introduction of Gongfu tea culture to Chaozhou, it combined with the local refined habits. The tea cups used were made smaller, and the tea-drinking process became an essential part of the commercial process, intertwining with Chaozhou’s business culture. This solidified Chaozhou as a center for Gongfu tea art and rituals.

Initially, Chaozhou residents favored the use of “Su cans,” which were purple clay teapots produced in Yixing, Jiangsu Province. These teapots were prevalent until the late Qing Dynasty. Chaozhou mainly used smaller teapots with a capacity of around 120cc for brewing Gongfu tea. This preference for smaller teapots influenced the production techniques of Yixing purple clay artisans, as they learned brewing methods from Chaozhou and applied the insights to the making of teapots.

During the Republican era, the popularity of Chaozhou Gongfu tea expanded in the Chao-Shan region. However, it wasn’t until the early years after the Chinese Communist Revolution that Gongfu tea became more widespread among ordinary households. After the reform and opening-up period, the consumption of Gongfu tea in Chao-Shan surged, and it became a daily practice for many households.

Before the 1980s, the Chao-Shan region was the main sales and export hub for oolong tea. Even today, it remains the region with the highest per capita tea consumption in China.

when did gongfu tea start?

During the Song Dynasty, the practice of brewing tea in a specific way became popular, and it is from this period that Japan’s tea ceremony culture also drew inspiration. It was during this time that the rudiments of Gongfu tea brewing method began to take shape. However, it was in the Ming Dynasty when Gongfu tea brewing method became widely prevalent. In the Ming Dynasty, tea culture further evolved from the Tang Dynasty’s method of frying and brewing tea and the Song Dynasty’s method of steeping tea.

A poet named Tang Bohu even wrote a verse that goes: “Buy green mountains and grow tea, picking fresh buds before and after the peaks. Following the cooking and frying methods of predecessors, I appreciate the crab-eye pine breeze.” This verse demonstrates the evolution of tea-drinking practices.

The initial form of tea brewing (Gongfu tea) involved placing tea in a teapot or covered bowl, brewing it with boiling water, and then decanting it into a teacup for consumption. It was particularly prevalent in most parts of Fujian Province and the Chaozhou Prefecture of Guangdong Province (now the Chaoshan region). Over time, it gradually evolved into the present-day Gongfu tea culture, which has become an important part of Chinese tea ceremony.

During the Tang, Song, and Ming dynasties when tea-drinking was popular, there were specific settings for tea-drinking, often accompanied by playing the qin (a traditional Chinese musical instrument), burning incense, and composing poetry. This is how the concept of modern tea rooms originated.

who invented gongfu tea?

The invention of Gongfu tea is not attributed to a specific individual. Instead, Gongfu tea is a traditional brewing method and tea culture that has evolved over centuries in China. It originated during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and has since been refined and practiced in various regions, particularly in the Chaoshan region of Guangdong Province and Zhangzhou and Quanzhou in Fujian Province.

Gongfu tea is the result of the collective wisdom and contributions of tea enthusiasts, scholars, and practitioners throughout history. It represents a combination of brewing techniques, tea utensils, tea varieties, and the art of tea appreciation. The exact origins of Gongfu tea may be difficult to trace, as it has developed organically over time through the accumulation of knowledge and experience.

It’s important to note that Gongfu tea is not a specific type of tea but rather a brewing method characterized by its meticulous preparation and infusion techniques. The name “Gongfu” itself implies the skill, dedication, and attention to detail required in brewing and appreciating tea using this method.

Overall, Gongfu tea represents a cultural heritage and a profound connection to Chinese tea traditions rather than being attributed to a single inventor.

Where did Gong Fu tea come from?

Gongfu tea originated in the Song Dynasty and gained particular popularity in the Chaozhou Prefecture (now the Chaoshan region) of Guangdong Province, as well as in Zhangzhou and Quanzhou in Fujian Province. It is an art form that has been inherited and deeply developed since the Tang and Song dynasties. Su Zhe, a famous poet from the Song Dynasty, wrote a poem stating, “Tea from Fujian is the best in the world, devoting oneself to tea without feeling weary.”

Appreciating Gongfu tea is a well-known custom in the Chaoshan region. In local households, it is common to find Gongfu tea sets, and it is a daily ritual to enjoy several rounds of Gongfu tea. Even Chaozhou people who have migrated to other regions or overseas still preserve the tradition of appreciating Gongfu tea. It can be said that wherever there are Chaozhou people, the influence of Gongfu tea can be seen.

Gongfu tea, characterized by its meticulous brewing techniques and the emphasis on the art of tea appreciation, is deeply rooted in the culture of the Chaoshan region. The brewing process involves using small teapots or gaiwans to infuse tea leaves multiple times, resulting in a concentrated and flavorful brew. The ceremony is accompanied by specific etiquette and rituals, enhancing the overall experience of enjoying tea.

what is a gongfu tea set?

Here is the translation of the description you provided:

Gongfu Tea Utensils:

Tea Pot (Gongfu Teapot): Referred to as “Chongguan” in the local dialect, it is the smallest type of Yixing purple clay teapot that originates from Yixing, Jiangsu. When choosing a teapot, the four criteria are “small, shallow, even, and aged.” There are different sizes of teapots, such as two-person, three-person, four-person, and four-purpose pots, with those manufactured by Mengchen, Tiehuaxuan, Qiupu, Epupu, Xiaoshan, Yuan Xisheng, and others being highly valued. Teapots come in various shapes, including small ones resembling oranges or tangerines, as well as melon-shaped, persimmon-shaped, diamond-shaped, drum-shaped, plum blossom-shaped, and more. The most common shape is the drum-shaped, chosen for its upright and solid appearance. Teapots also come in various colors, such as cinnabar red, antique chestnut, purple clay, stone yellow, sky blue, and others. Regardless of style and color, the most important aspect is that the teapot should be small rather than large and shallow rather than deep because large teapots do not require “gongfu” (skillful technique).

Tea Cups: The selection criteria for tea cups are “small, shallow, thin, and white.” Chaozhou tea connoisseurs often treasure the “Ruoshen Cup,” which has a white base and blue floral patterns and is wide and flat with a straight rim.

Tea Wash (Chaxi): It has a shape similar to a large bowl and comes in various colors. For brewing Gongfu tea, it is necessary to have three tea washes, one for soaking the tea cups, one for soaking the teapot, and one for holding water and used tea leaves.

Tea Tray (Chapan): The tea tray is used to hold the tea cups and comes in various styles such as round, moon-shaped, chessboard-shaped, and more. Regardless of the style, the key criteria are “wide, flat, shallow, and white,” which allow for easy placement of multiple cups and keep them stable without shaking.

Tea Mat (Chadian): Smaller than the tea tray, it is used to place the teapot. There are various styles, but the important aspect is to consider the thickness, as it should be thinner in summer and thicker in winter. The tea mat is made of silk gourd mesh shaped and fried into the form of a tea mat. It is recommended to use silk gourd mesh instead of felt to avoid any unpleasant odors. The purpose of the tea mat is to protect the teapot. After pouring the tea, the teapot is inverted to prevent water from accumulating inside, as even a small amount of water can make the tea taste bitter due to the dissolution of tannic acid.

Water Pot and Water Bowl: They serve the same purpose of storing water for tea preparation. The water pot has a slender neck, sloping shoulders, a flat bottom, and a handle, and the best ones are made of plain porcelain with blue patterns. Another type is the “Chilong Zun,” which has a narrow neck with a spout and is adorned with a dragon design. The water bowl is used to store water for tea preparation and is about the size of an ordinary flowerpot, available in various styles. One rare item is the “Red Gold Color” made during the Ming Dynasty, featuring a goldfish design at the bottom of the bowl, which appears to move when the water is stirred, making it a precious collector’s item.

Dragon Jar (Longgang): The large dragon jar is similar to a lotus jar used for growing lotus flowers in the courtyard, but smaller. It is used to store a large amount of spring water, has a tightly sealed lid, and is placed on a wooden stand in a corner of the study, exuding an antique charm. Dragon jars are also made of plain porcelain with blue patterns, including those produced during the Xuande period of the Ming Dynasty, although they are rarely seen.

Red Clay Stove (Hongni Huolu): The red clay stove is widely produced in Fengxi, Chao’an, Chaozhou, and Jieyang. It comes in various attractive styles. It has a long shape, about six or seven inches tall, and the stove core for holding charcoal is deep and small, allowing for even heat distribution, charcoal saving, and convenient use. Small stoves have a cover and a door, making it easy to control the heat by simply closing them. Often, there is an elegant couplet beside the small stove, further enhancing the enjoyment of tea with various colored tea utensils, along with the dark tea of gold and purple color. Steel chopsticks are used for tongs and fire picking, ensuring that the host’s hands remain clean.

gongfu tea set

Yixing Purple Clay Tea Set

The Yixing purple clay tea set is known for its elegance, exquisite craftsmanship, unique temperament, and has a history of 500 years since the Ming Dynasty. It is particularly renowned for its production in Yixing, Jiangsu Province.

The purple clay tea set is made of a porous material with a dual pore structure, which has fine pores and high density, resulting in strong adsorption capacity. When brewing tea with it, the tea’s color, aroma, and taste are preserved, and it is less prone to spoilage or deterioration. Even after extended use, pouring boiling water into an empty teapot can still release the fragrance of tea. Additionally, the more the purple clay teapot is used, the more it develops a lustrous shine. Therefore, when selecting a purple clay teapot, those that have been polished, waxed, and oiled to appear shiny are generally new pots. Authentic purple clay tea sets are clean and tidy, and they acquire their luster after a period of use. Each purple clay teapot requires dozens of production steps, often handcrafted, making them true works of art with a considerable price range. In the market, there are purple clay teapots that can cost tens of thousands of yuan, while the cheapest purple clay tea sets can be found for around one to two hundred yuan. Consumers can choose according to their preferences and economic capabilities.

Yixing Purple Clay

Ceramic Tea Set

Ceramic tea sets, with their delicate and solid texture, account for a significant proportion of tea utensils. They are popular among ordinary households due to their moderate prices. Ceramic tea sets can be categorized as celadon, fine pottery, colored pottery, and more.

Celadon exhibits a smooth texture, sparkling glaze, and a blue-green hue resembling ice or jade. Some resemble emerald peaks, while others resemble a spring water lake. Combined with the unique shapes of the tea utensils, they provide a visually pleasing experience. In addition to traditional techniques like relief and incised carving, celadon also features delicate and lustrous glaze colors. Fine pottery tea sets, on the other hand, are often pure white, exquisite, and possess characteristics of both pottery and porcelain. The colors of fine pottery tea sets are harmonious and pleasing, with some teapots adorned with relief carving, inlay, gold paint, silk printing, or decorated with makeup clay, resulting in radiant and exceptionally beautiful pieces. As for colored pottery tea sets, they have thick and vibrant glazes, displaying a wide range of colors that are pure and rich. They are visually appealing and offer endless enjoyment.

Ceramic tea sets usually consist of one teapot and four cups or one teapot and six cups, often accompanied by a tray. They possess good resistance to thermal shock and high impact strength, making them practical. Prices in the market vary from tens to hundreds of yuan, catering to a wide range of preferences. Ceramic tea sets have the characteristic of slow heat transfer and moderate heat preservation. They do not undergo any chemical reactions with tea, resulting in good color, aroma, and taste. Additionally, these tea sets are generally aesthetically pleasing, with exquisite decorations, and hold artistic value. Particularly, Yixing purple clay teapots are treasured ceramic items known for their elegant and rustic appearance. When used for brewing tea, they produce an exceptionally mellow and clear aroma, maintaining their pure and untainted colors even after prolonged use.

Iron Kettle Tea Set

The traditional iron kettle, made of raw iron through casting, holds a unique cultural significance in its production. The casting method of old iron kettles in Japan differs from modern methods. Back then, a wax removal technique was used, where after casting, the mold had to be broken to remove the kettle. Furthermore, old iron kettles were made entirely by hand, ensuring that no two kettles are exactly the same. They possess a global uniqueness in their appearance and are valuable antiques that are both artistically and practically valuable. You can use it as a daily water-boiling utensil for health purposes, appreciate it as an art piece, or collect it as an antique.

Old iron kettles can elevate the water temperature, and they have excellent heat retention. Generally, boiling water in an old iron kettle can reach 97°C or even above 100°C, fully softening the water quality. This makes them especially suitable for brewing aged tea or boiling tea, particularly for Pu-erh tea. In comparison, using a stainless steel kettle typically only reaches 93°C. When using an iron kettle, the water can remove any musty flavor from the tea. Drinking water boiled in an iron kettle has excellent health benefits. Heating the iron kettle releases a significant amount of divalent iron, which interacts with the tea’s tannic acid and tea polyphenols, supplementing the body’s iron needs. The iron kettle releases trace amounts of iron ions while also absorbing chlorine ions from the water. The water boiled in an iron kettle has a slightly sweet taste, effectively improving the water quality and enhancing the tea’s mellowness. An iron kettle can raise the boiling point, resulting in a better aroma when brewing highly fragrant teas such as “Tie Guanyin” and aged Pu-erh tea.

Artistic Tea Set

With the rise of home decoration, various handicrafts have become increasingly popular. Novel and unique artistic tea sets have emerged as a result, becoming a consumption hotspot for some individuals.

As the name suggests, artistic tea sets serve both the purpose of brewing tea and have ornamental value. They often have innovative and distinctive designs that provoke contemplation. In terms of materials, they can be made of purple clay, ceramics, copper, or a combination of various materials. They are often accompanied by exquisite bases or trays, making them excellent decorative items that add an Eastern artistic taste to any home. Generally, the price of such tea sets is not overly expensive, ranging around a hundred yuan, making them affordable for average working-class families. As a result, they are widely popular among consumers.


The Four Treasures of Gongfu Tea

Gongfu tea, a refined tea brewing method in Chinese tea culture, is highly regarded for its meticulousness. According to “The Great View of Wild History in the Qing Dynasty,” it states, “China pays great attention to tea brewing, and the Gongfu tea from the three prefectures of Ting, Quan, and Zhang in Fujian, as well as Chaozhou Prefecture in Guangdong, is considered the best.” Gongfu tea is often enjoyed leisurely or used as a ceremonial gesture when entertaining guests, hence the sayings “savor Gongfu tea in leisure” and “tea is essential in rituals.”

Although there are various tea utensils for Gongfu tea, tea connoisseurs believe that the “Four Treasures” are essential: Mengchen Chongguan (small purple clay teapot), Ruoshen Ouyu (small thin porcelain cup), Yushu Wei (kettle for boiling water), and Chaoshan Honglu (charcoal stove). Tea enthusiasts from Fujian, Guangdong, and Taiwan have a tea proverb regarding the ranking of tea pots: “First is the Nameless, second is Shiting, third is Epupu, fourth is Mengchen, and fifth is Yigong.” It is unclear why “Mengchen” ranks fourth but is highly cherished by tea aficionados. According to historical records, Mengchen refers to Hui Mengchen, a famous pot maker from the Ming Dynasty. He first crafted pots during the Tianqi period of the Ming Dynasty, and the early pots were engraved with the words “Made by Hui Mengchen from Jingxi in the Tianqi era of the Ming Dynasty.” “Taoxi Keyu” states, “Mengchen’s brushwork is incomparable to Chusui Liang.” Mengchen pots have the advantages of preserving the tea’s flavor when brewed, maintaining the color of stored tea, and preventing spoilage even in hot summers. The standard for selecting a Mengchen pot is the “Three Mountains Alignment.” This means placing the pot without the lid on a flat table and aligning the spout, mouth, and handle into a straight line. If they align perfectly, it is an authentic piece. The longer and more frequent the pot is used for brewing tea, the thicker the tea stains on its walls, allowing for tea leaves to be saved. Even when pouring boiling water into an empty pot, it still releases the aroma and color of tea. A Mengchen pot with thick tea stains is often a testament to the tea master’s “longevity” in terms of their tea brewing experience. Ruoshen Ouyu is the masterpiece of Ruoshen, a renowned porcelain craftsman from Jingdezhen in Jiangxi Province during the Qing Dynasty. Cups made by him with the inscription “Ruoshen’s Precious Collection” are now extremely rare.

The other one of the “Two Treasures” in Gongfu tea, Yushu Wei, is best made by the century-old Chaozhou brand “Taoshengju.” It has excellent resistance to sudden temperature changes. In the cold winter, it can keep the temperature for a long time outside the stove. Gongfu tea emphasizes that the water should not be too hot, and Yushu Wei is convenient for observing the heat and is less prone to scale buildup. On the other hand, the Chaoshan Honglu is a small charcoal stove made of high-quality, aged red clay from eastern Guangdong. This type of stove has been famous since the Tang and Song dynasties. It is characterized by its elongated shape, standing over a foot tall, and is aesthetically pleasing. The stove has a deep and small fire chamber, which allows for even heat distribution and charcoal-saving. It has a cover and a door, with good ventilation performance. Remarkably, even if water overflows from the stove, the fire still burns, and the stove remains intact. Some craftsmen also like to pair a couplet about tea on both sides of the stove door.

gongfu tea tray

The Gongfu tea tray, also known as a tea holder or tea tray, is specifically designed for the brewing and serving of tea. It can be made of various materials such as wood, stone, or ceramics. It is another important aspect of the tea-drinking culture that the ancients paid great attention to, considering it as an artistic expression in itself. The tea tray plays an indispensable role in the tea-drinking experience.

The tea tray is available in different materials, including wood, stone, and ceramics. It is an important expression of the tea-drinking culture of the ancients and highly regarded for its artistic value. When paired with exquisite tea and the perfect combination of color, aroma, and taste, it enhances the overall tea-drinking experience. Over time, as tea drinking has gained popularity and tea customs have evolved, the variety and craftsmanship of tea trays have increased, becoming more exquisite and refined.

When placing a Gongfu tea tray indoors, it should be positioned away from the entrance, drafty areas, and direct sunlight. It is important to avoid exposing the tea tray to strong airflows and excessive heat. In addition, maintaining an appropriate level of humidity is crucial, especially during the spring, autumn, and winter seasons. Using a humidifier or having indoor plants can help regulate the indoor air humidity.

gongfu tea table

The Gongfu tea table is a representative piece of furniture in China’s rich tea culture, combining the functions of tea brewing, sterilization, and water drainage in one integrated table. In the past, the Gongfu tea table was not just a table for tea drinking; it also served as a symbol of the host’s status and played a significant role in society.

how to use a gongfu tea set?

Using a Gongfu tea set is a traditional and precise way to brew tea, particularly Chinese oolong and pu-erh teas. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use a Gongfu tea set:

Gather your equipment: You’ll need a Gongfu tea set, which typically includes a teapot (often called a “Gaiwan”), tea cups, a tea pitcher (also known as a “fairness cup” or “cha hai”), a tea tray, and a tea towel or cloth.

Preheat your tea set: Pour hot water into the teapot, tea cups, and pitcher to preheat them. Swirl the water inside each vessel to ensure even heating, then discard the water.

Measure the tea leaves: Depending on the size of your teapot and personal preference, measure an appropriate amount of tea leaves. A general guideline is to use 1 to 1.5 grams of tea leaves per 30 milliliters of water. Adjust the amount based on your taste.

Rinse the tea leaves: Place the tea leaves into the Gaiwan and add hot water (ideally at the appropriate temperature for the type of tea you’re brewing). Immediately pour out this initial infusion into the tea pitcher or a waste bowl to rinse and awaken the leaves. This step is optional but helps remove any impurities and allows the leaves to open up.

Brewing the tea: Fill the Gaiwan with hot water, covering the tea leaves. Let the tea steep for a short period, usually around 10 to 30 seconds. This time can vary depending on the type of tea and your preference. Then, pour the brewed tea into the tea pitcher to avoid over-steeping.

Serving the tea: Pour the brewed tea from the tea pitcher into the tea cups, distributing it evenly among the cups. The tea cups are typically small, allowing you to savor the tea in small sips.

Repeating the process: Repeat steps 5 and 6 for multiple infusions. Oolong and pu-erh teas are often brewed multiple times, with each infusion revealing different flavors and aromas.

Enjoying the tea: Take your time to savor the tea, paying attention to its aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel. Gongfu brewing allows you to fully appreciate the nuances of the tea.

Remember that the above steps provide a general framework, and specific details may vary depending on the tea and individual preferences. Experimenting with brewing times, water temperature, and tea-to-water ratio can help you find the perfect balance for your taste.

what tea to use for gongfu tea?

Gongfu Tea, known for its high concentration, may initially be perceived as bitter, but once accustomed, other teas may seem less flavorful. Gongfu Tea is made from Oolong tea leaves, such as Tie Guan Yin, Shui Xian, and Fenghuang tea. Oolong tea falls between black and green tea, categorized as semi-fermented tea, as only this type of tea can achieve the desired color, aroma, and flavor required for Gongfu Tea.

Lingtou Dancong

Lingtou Dancong and Baiye Dancong are both produced in Lingtou Village, Raoping County, Chaozhou City. The tea liquor is bright and yellow, presenting a golden hue. It has a smooth and oily texture with excellent honey fragrance. The tea is sweet and moist, with a lingering aftertaste. It is renowned as the “Fairy of White Leaves” and was previously exclusively used to entertain foreign guests by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. It is the most distinctive representative of Chaozhou Gongfu Tea.

Fenghuang Dancong

One hundred years ago, Fenghuang Dancong won a silver award at the Panama International Exposition. One hundred years later, in 2015, Fenghuang Dancong once again achieved the “Centennial World Expo Chinese Famous Tea Golden Camel Award” at the Milan World Expo, shining on the World Expo stage with its exquisite tea culture. Fenghuang Dancong is produced in the Fenghuang Mountain area of Chaozhou. The tea liquor has a slight brown color, with tightly rolled leaves and a thick leaf texture. It is highly resistant to brewing and can be steeped around 20 times. It comes in various flavors such as osmanthus, jasmine, and honey. It is another representative of Chaozhou Gongfu Tea after Lingtou Dancong. Fenghuang Dancong tea is most famous for its flavors of osmanthus, jasmine, and honey. It was crowned at the National Famous Tea Evaluation held in Fuzhou. The tea leaves grow on high mountains and absorb the essence of smoke, nourishing spring water, and the sun and moon without pollution. It possesses a pure character, aromatic flavor, and is rich in various nutrients, particularly when brewed using the complete set of Chaozhou Gongfu Tea brewing techniques, it offers many benefits.

Fenghuang tea has a variety of cultivars and fragrances, and its quality also varies with the seasons. Among them, “Fenghuang Dancong” is considered the best. “Fenghuang Dancong” refers to those high-quality tea trees that have undergone years of tasting and have been identified to possess various natural floral aromas. During the production process, each tea tree is individually harvested, processed, and dried to create this premium tea. Its production requires meticulous attention, with harvests taking place on clear and cool days during the spring season, specifically between 1 and 4 pm. After harvesting, the tea leaves must be stored separately in a cool and shaded place before initial processing. If harvested during rainy days, morning fog, or afternoon shade, the fragrance of the Dancong tea cannot be fully developed. Among the Fenghuang Dancong teas, Fenghuangshan Wudongding Dancong is considered the highest quality, known for its beautiful appearance, vibrant color, rich aroma, and sweet taste. The fragrance of this tea can be detected from a few steps away, and its taste leaves a long-lasting aftertaste.

what material(s) is involved in the gongfu tea ceremony?

The Gongfu tea ceremony typically involves various materials that play specific roles in the tea brewing and serving process. Here are the primary materials used:

Teapot/Gaiwan: The teapot, often referred to as a Gaiwan in Gongfu tea ceremonies, is typically made of porcelain, glass, or clay. Porcelain and glass teapots allow you to appreciate the color and clarity of the tea liquor, while clay teapots, such as Yixing purple clay teapots, are popular for their ability to enhance the tea’s flavor over time.

Tea Cups: Gongfu tea cups are generally small and handle-less, allowing the tea to cool down quickly for immediate sipping. They are typically made of porcelain or clay, with some clay cups being specifically designed to bring out the tea’s aroma and flavor.

Tea Pitcher (Fairness Cup/Cha Hai): The tea pitcher, also known as a fairness cup or Cha Hai, is used to hold the brewed tea from the teapot temporarily. It allows for equal distribution of the tea’s strength among multiple cups during the serving process. The pitcher is commonly made of glass or porcelain.

Tea Tray: The tea tray, also known as a tea boat or tea board, is used to hold the teapot, tea cups, tea pitcher, and any spilled or excess water during the brewing process. It helps maintain cleanliness and prevents water from spilling onto the table. Tea trays are typically made of bamboo, wood, or plastic.

Tea Utensils: Various utensils are used in the Gongfu tea ceremony, including a tea scoop (Cha Ze) for measuring tea leaves, a tea needle (Cha Jian) for unclogging the teapot’s spout, a tea strainer (Cha Luo) for filtering tea leaves, and a tea towel or cloth for wiping and drying the tea utensils.

Water Kettle: A separate kettle is used to heat water to the appropriate temperature for brewing different types of tea. Electric or stovetop kettles made of stainless steel or heat-resistant materials are commonly used.

Additionally, some tea enthusiasts may incorporate other accessories such as aroma cups (sniffing cups) for appreciating the tea’s fragrance, tea pets for decoration, and scenting tools like scent cups or scenting lids for experiencing the tea’s aroma.

The materials used in the Gongfu tea ceremony can vary based on personal preferences, regional customs, and the availability of traditional tea utensils.

The Meaning and Symbolism of Kung Fu Tea

Gong Fu tea, also known as tea art, is an important part of Chinese traditional culture. It is a performance art that showcases tea culture through a series of actions, including brewing tea, pouring tea soup, and tasting tea. This cultural form is closely connected to tea and carries rich symbolic meaning.

Symbolic Meaning of Gong Fu Tea:

Gong Fu tea symbolizes the essence of Chinese traditional culture. Chinese tea culture originated over three thousand years ago during the Western Zhou Dynasty and has undergone thousands of years of development and change. As a representative of Chinese traditional tea art, Gong Fu tea is one of the essences of Chinese tea culture. Through it, people can experience the historical accumulation and profoundness of Chinese traditional culture.

Gong Fu tea symbolizes people’s reverence and respect for nature. Chinese tea trees grow in the embrace of nature and thrive through the labor and care of people. Brewing Gong Fu tea requires considering factors such as water temperature, time, and tea selection, which requires deep understanding and awe of natural factors such as tea leaves and water quality. This spirit of reverence and respect is not only reflected in the process of brewing tea but also in various aspects of life.

Thirdly, Gong Fu tea symbolizes people’s pursuit of aesthetics and taste. Brewing Gong Fu tea requires considering the aroma, taste, color, and other aspects of tea leaves, which requires people to have aesthetic ability and professional taste for tea flavors and colors. This pursuit of aesthetics and taste is not only manifested in the process of brewing tea but also in daily life to varying degrees.

Fourthly, Gong Fu tea symbolizes people’s emphasis on friendship and social interactions. There is a saying in China, “Using tea in place of alcohol,” which means using tea to show respect and friendship to friends. In Chinese traditional culture, brewing tea is an important social activity that allows people to connect with each other, promote friendship, and facilitate communication.

Gong Fu tea also symbolizes people’s concern for physical and mental health. Brewing Gong Fu tea requires focus and patience, which helps people relieve stress and anxiety, and promotes overall well-being. Tea itself contains beneficial components for physical health, such as tea polyphenols and caffeine, which have positive health effects on the body and mind.

Gong Fu tea is not only an important part of Chinese tea culture but also carries rich symbolic meaning. It allows people to experience the profoundness of Chinese traditional culture, show respect for nature, promote health and wellness, pursue aesthetics, and enhance friendship and communication. The process of brewing Gong Fu tea is a process of settling the mind and returning to the inner self, deserving our attention and cherishment.

how to brew gongfu tea?

To brew Gongfu tea, you can follow these general steps:

Prepare the Tea Set: Gather all the necessary tea utensils, including a teapot or Gaiwan, tea cups, a fairness cup (Cha Hai), a tea tray, tea scoop, tea needle, and tea towel. Ensure they are clean and ready for use.

Preheat the Teapot and Cups: Pour hot water into the teapot and cups to preheat them. Swirl the water around and then discard it from the teapot and cups. This helps to warm the vessels and maintain the tea’s temperature during brewing.

Measure the Tea Leaves: Use a tea scoop to measure the appropriate amount of tea leaves for the teapot or Gaiwan. The specific amount will depend on the tea type, vessel size, and personal preference. As a general guideline, use approximately 1-2 teaspoons of tea leaves for every 150ml of water.

Rinse the Tea Leaves: Pour hot water over the tea leaves in the teapot or Gaiwan and quickly pour it out. This step helps to rinse and awaken the tea leaves, removing any impurities or dust.

First Infusion: Fill the teapot or Gaiwan with hot water (at the appropriate temperature for the tea type) and cover it. Let the tea steep for a short time, typically around 10-20 seconds, depending on the tea variety. The first infusion is often shorter to awaken the leaves and produce a balanced flavor.

Pour into the Fairness Cup: After the desired steeping time, pour the brewed tea into the fairness cup (Cha Hai) to ensure an even distribution of the tea’s strength. This step also allows the tea leaves in the teapot or Gaiwan to rest.

Pour into Tea Cups: From the fairness cup, pour the tea into the small tea cups. Hold the fairness cup slightly higher above the cups to create a gentle and controlled flow of tea. Fill each cup partially to allow for subsequent infusions.

Savor and Enjoy: Lift the tea cup, appreciate the tea’s aroma, and take small sips to fully experience its flavor. Pay attention to the tea’s taste, texture, and subtle nuances. Feel free to discuss and share your impressions with fellow tea enthusiasts.

Repeat Infusions: Gongfu tea is often brewed through multiple infusions. For subsequent infusions, adjust the steeping time according to personal taste preferences. Gradually increase the steeping time for each subsequent infusion, allowing the flavors to evolve and unfold.

Maintain the Tea Set: After completing the tea session, pour hot water over the teapot, cups, and other utensils to rinse and clean them. Gently dry the tea set with a tea towel, ensuring they are ready for the next brewing session.

Remember, the brewing process may vary depending on the tea type, personal preferences, and the specific tea ceremony style. It’s always a good idea to explore and experiment to find the brewing method that suits your taste and enjoyment.


The key points for brewing Gongfu tea are as follows:

Water Quality: Gongfu tea ceremonies have specific requirements for water quality, utensils, and brewing methods. Water is of three types: celestial water, terrestrial water, and spring water. Celestial water, such as snow or dew water, is considered the best. In the past, affluent families would collect water drop by drop before the first ray of sunlight, as it was believed that pre-sunrise water had a Yin quality and would result in a more fragrant tea. Modern research suggests that rainwater and snowwater are the only sources of pure soft water in nature, and brewing tea with soft water indeed produces a clear soup and a fragrant taste. Terrestrial water refers to mountain spring water, which can have different soil qualities like sandy, loamy, or clayey. Sand quality is considered the best as it acts as a filter. However, in hotels or teahouses, as long as the water is clear and has a pleasant taste, it is acceptable.

High Pouring and Low Pouring: “High pouring and low pouring” refers to the techniques used in brewing and serving tea. When brewing tea, the hot water should be poured along the inner edge of the teapot’s opening, and the water column should not directly hit the tea leaves in the pot’s center to avoid “breaking the tea essence” and damaging the flavor. The pouring should be done smoothly and steadily, resembling calligraphy. The distance between the kettle and teapot should be relatively large, resulting in a “high pour.” It is said that high pouring allows the heat to penetrate directly to the bottom of the teapot, causing the tea froth to rise, which not only looks beautiful but also enhances the tea’s aroma. When serving the tea, the teapot should be held close to the tea cups to prevent heat from dispersing, ensuring the water is adequately hot and preventing premature dissipation of the tea’s aroma. Additionally, low pouring avoids stirring up foam and eliminates any dripping sounds.

Tea Serving: Tea should be poured into the tea cups in a rotating manner, gradually filling each cup through a repetitive pouring process known as “Guangong Xuncheng.” This ensures an even color of the tea soup in each cup.

Tea Etiquette: In traditional Gongfu tea ceremonies, only three cups are typically used, regardless of the number of guests. When serving tea, the cups are arranged in a “品” (pin) shape, representing unity. The first cup of tea should always be served to the guest seated on the left, regardless of their status, age, or gender. After each cup is consumed, it should be rinsed with hot tea water before being passed on. This practice symbolizes unity, friendship, and humility.

It is important to note that Gongfu tea brewing methods have similarities across the different regional styles such as Fujian, Chaozhou, and Taiwan. The specific tea types may vary, with Fujian being known for Tie Guan Yin, Chaozhou for Da Hong Pao and Shuixian, and Taiwan for Dong Ding Oolong. However, the principles of brewing tea remain consistent.

Tasting Kung Fu Tea

Traditional Chaozhou Gongfu tea ceremonies typically involve using only three cups, regardless of the number of guests. When serving tea, the three cups are arranged in the shape of the Chinese character “品” (pin), symbolizing unity. The first cup of tea must be served to the guest seated on the left hand, irrespective of their status, age, or gender. After each cup is consumed, it should be rinsed with hot tea water and then passed on to the next person, ensuring the cup retains its warmth. This custom is believed to represent the virtues of unity, friendship, and mutual respect.

When tasting tea, there is a specific sequence to follow. First, one should smell the aroma, then observe the color of the tea soup, and finally taste the flavor. One cup of tea should be divided into three sips. The fragrance gradually spreads from the tip of the tongue to the throat, and the last sip should be finished in one go, providing a refreshing and exhilarating experience. This represents the three realms of Gongfu tea: “fragrant aroma overflowing the mouth, sweet and mellow moisture in the throat, and a transcendent spiritual experience.”

The 8-step brewing method for Gongfu tea

Gongfu tea’s essence lies in its brewing method. Even with good tea leaves and teaware, if the brewing is not done properly, all efforts will be in vain. The Chaozhou Gongfu tea brewing method is known as the “Ten Techniques,” which include live fire, shrimp whisk water, selecting tea, loading tea, scalding the teacups, heating the teapot, high pouring, covering the foam, pouring on the top, and low sieving. Some people summarize the specific steps of brewing Gongfu tea as the “Eight Steps Method.”

The brewing method of Gongfu tea follows a complex set of procedures. The process involves preparing the teaware, adding tea leaves, waiting for the infusion, pouring the tea, scraping off the foam, pouring water on the teapot, scalding the cups, and finally serving the tea.

Teaware Preparation: The preparation work before brewing tea, including starting the fire and heating the water, and preheating the teaware.

Adding Tea Leaves: After sorting the tea leaves by size, they are placed in the teapot. Coarser leaves go to the bottom, medium leaves in the middle, and finer leaves on top. The teapot should not be filled too full, around 70-80% is ideal.

Infusion Waiting: The quality of the boiling water is crucial. The best time to pour the water is when it reaches the “crab’s eyes” stage, which means the water is just about to boil.

Pouring the Tea: The technique of “high pouring” is used, where the boiling water is poured along the edge of the teapot, avoiding pouring directly into the center to prevent damaging the tea leaves and causing excessive foam.

Foam Scraping: Any white foam that overflows during pouring should be gently scraped off using the teapot lid.

Water Pouring on the Teapot: After covering the teapot, hot water is poured over the lid to rinse away any excess foam and to provide additional heat from the outside.

Cup Scalding: Before straining the tea, the cups are scalded with hot water. This not only sterilizes the cups but also warms them up, ensuring that the tea stays hot and enhances its aroma.

Tea Straining: The unique sieving method in Chaozhou Gongfu tea is known as “low sieving.” The teapot spout is placed close to the arranged teacups, and the tea is continuously and evenly poured into each cup, resembling the motion of “Guangong Xuncheng” (Guangong patrolling the city). The cups should not be filled all at once, demonstrating equal treatment for everyone. However, the tea in the pot must be continuously strained until it is finished, following the principle of “Han Xin counting his troops” (the more, the better).

The 16-step brewing method for Gongfu tea:

Appreciating the Fragrant Tea: Take a pot-sized amount of tea leaves from the tea storage and place them in a tea appreciation tray for observation.

Meng Chen Lin Lin: Pour boiling water over the teapot to warm it up, known as “warming the pot.”

Oolong Enters the Palace: Use a tea scoop to place the tea leaves into the teapot. The order of loading the tea leaves is from fine to coarse and then the stems.

Pouring from a High Position: Fill the Meng Chen pot with water until it reaches the brim.

Spring Breeze Brushes the Face: Use the teapot lid to remove the foam from the teapot opening.

Washing the Fair Countenance: Quickly pour out the water from the teapot to wash the tea leaves and remove any surface dust.

Ruochun Bathing: Use the first brew of tea to scald the cups, also known as warming the cups. Rotate the cups, resembling a spinning wheel or flowers dancing.

Jade Liquid Returns to the Pot: Use the high pouring method to fill the teapot with boiling water again.

Touring Mountains and Enjoying Waters: Hold the teapot and rotate it around the tea boat once to drain any remaining water from the teapot bottom, preventing water drops from falling into the cups.

Guan Gong Patrolling the City: Pour the tea in a continuous cycle, similar to General Guan Gong patrolling the city, to ensure consistent tea concentration in each cup, avoiding excessive loss of aroma.

Han Xin Counting His Troops: When the tea in the teapot is almost finished, pour the remaining tea evenly into each cup. These drips are the essence of the whole teapot’s tea, and they should be carefully distributed drop by drop, hence the name “Han Xin counting his troops.”

Respectfully Serving Fragrant Tea: Serve the tea first to the honored guests or according to age priority.

Appreciating the Aroma of the Tea: Smell the fragrance of the tea before tasting it. While tasting, hold the cup’s rim with the thumb and index finger, and support the cup bottom with the middle finger, known as the “Three Dragons Protecting the Tripod” gesture. Sip the tea in three separate sips to truly appreciate its taste. “Taste it three times to appreciate its flavor, and taste it three times to be moved.” The tea has a rich and refreshing aroma with a lingering aftertaste.

High Pouring, Low Sieving: Brew the second round of tea by repeating steps nine, ten, and eleven.

Ruochun Bathing Again: Same as step seven.

Pouring Again for Exquisite Aroma: Repeat steps nine, ten, and eleven.

Rediscovering the Mellow Aroma: Repeat step thirteen.

Three Pours Reveal Radiant Colors: Brew the third round of tea.

21 procedures of the Gongfu tea brewing method?

Prepare the Utensils (Prepare and Arrange the Utensils)

Ignite the Fire (Using Olive Charcoal to Boil Spring Water)

Cleanse the Hands (The Tea Master Cleanses Their Jade-Like Fingers)

Await the Fire (Use a Fan to Stoke the Charcoal, Making It White)

Pour the Tea (Pour the Excellent Tea onto a White Paper)

Roast the Tea (The Phoenix Is Roasted to Refine Its Skills)

Warm the Teapot (Meng Chen Is Showered to Warm Its Body)

Wash the Cups (Cleverly Rolling the Hot Cup, Skillfully Boiling It)

Receive the Tea (The Vermilion Pot Receives the Oolong Tea)

Pour from a High Position (Lifting the Pot Handle, Swiftly Pouring from a Height)

Moisturize the Tea (Sweet Springs Moisturize the Tea Until It’s Saturated)

Scrape the Foam (Lifting the Lid, Brushing Off the Foam)

Pour the Tea (Pouring from a High Position, Filling the Dragon Spring)

Roll the Cups (Rolling the Hot Cup, Turning It in Circles)

Sprinkle the Tea (Guan Gong Patrolling the City, Sprinkling the Tea)

Sample the Tea (Han Xin Counts His Troops with Precision)

Serve the Tea (Respectfully Serving Fragrant Tea to Guests)

Smell the Aroma (First Smell, Searching for Its Fragrance)

Savor the Taste (Sip Again, Discovering Its Flavor)

Assess the Aroma (Sniff Three Times, Assessing Its Aroma)

Thank the Guests (Graciously Thanking the Honored Guests)

Gong Fu tea ceremony VS Japanese tea ceremony

The Gongfu tea ceremony and the Japanese tea ceremony, also known as Chanoyu or Sado, are both traditional tea ceremonies with distinct cultural and stylistic differences.

Gongfu Tea Ceremony:

Origins: The Gongfu tea ceremony originated in China and is practiced in various Chinese tea cultures, such as in the Chaoshan region and Taiwan.

Focus: The Gongfu tea ceremony emphasizes the skillful preparation and appreciation of tea through multiple infusions. It highlights the tea’s aroma, taste, and appearance.

Tea Preparation: Gongfu tea involves brewing tea in small teapots or gaiwans, using a higher tea-to-water ratio and short infusion times. The leaves are steeped multiple times to extract the full flavor of the tea.

Utensils: Gongfu tea ceremonies typically involve a variety of utensils, including teapots, tea cups, tea trays, tea pets, and fragrance cups. These utensils are often made of clay or porcelain and are chosen for their functionality and aesthetic appeal.

Atmosphere: Gongfu tea ceremonies can be conducted in a casual and relaxed setting, allowing participants to appreciate the tea and engage in conversation.

Etiquette: While Gongfu tea ceremonies may have specific etiquette and rituals, they tend to be less formal and more adaptable to personal preferences.

Japanese Tea Ceremony:

Origins: The Japanese tea ceremony has its roots in Zen Buddhism and developed as a distinct cultural practice in Japan.

Focus: The Japanese tea ceremony emphasizes harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility. It is a meditative and spiritual practice that values the overall experience and connection with nature.

Tea Preparation: Matcha, a powdered green tea, is the centerpiece of the Japanese tea ceremony. The tea is prepared by whisking the powdered tea with hot water until frothy, resulting in a thick and vibrant tea.

Utensils: The Japanese tea ceremony employs specific utensils, including a tea bowl (chawan), tea scoop (chashaku), tea whisk (chasen), and tea caddy (natsume). These utensils are often crafted with traditional materials like ceramics, bamboo, and lacquer.

Atmosphere: The Japanese tea ceremony takes place in a dedicated tea room called a chashitsu, which is designed to create a serene and contemplative atmosphere. The room may include traditional elements like a tokonoma (alcove) and a garden view.

Etiquette: The Japanese tea ceremony has highly formalized and precise rituals and etiquette. Participants follow specific movements, gestures, and procedures, including bowing, sitting seiza-style, and handling utensils in a prescribed manner.

While both ceremonies involve the preparation and enjoyment of tea, they have distinct approaches, aesthetics, and cultural contexts. The Gongfu tea ceremony highlights the artistry and sensory experience of tea, while the Japanese tea ceremony emphasizes mindfulness, harmony, and the spiritual aspects of tea.

Gong Fu tea VS Gong Fu

Gong Fu tea and Gong Fu are two different concepts that are often associated with Chinese tea culture. Here’s an explanation of each term:

Gong Fu tea: Gong Fu tea refers to a traditional Chinese tea brewing method that emphasizes the skillful preparation of tea using specific utensils and techniques. It involves using a higher tea-to-water ratio, short steeping times, and multiple infusions to extract the full flavor and aroma of the tea leaves. Gong Fu tea brewing is known for its precision, attention to detail, and the appreciation of the tea’s qualities through multiple rounds of brewing.

Gong Fu: Gong Fu is a Chinese term that translates to “hard work” or “great skill” and can have broader applications beyond tea. In the context of Chinese martial arts, Gong Fu refers to a style of training and practice that focuses on developing exceptional skill and expertise through rigorous and disciplined training methods. Gong Fu can also be applied to various other domains where mastery and dedicated practice are involved, such as calligraphy, cooking, or any craft that requires extensive training and skill development.


Kung Fu Cha, the art of Chinese tea ceremony, embodies the essence of Chinese culture, mindfulness, and appreciation for tea. With its rich history, attention to detail, and emphasis on ritual and harmony, Kung Fu Cha offers a unique and immersive tea experience. By engaging in this traditional practice, individuals can not only enjoy the flavors and aromas of exquisite teas but also connect with a centuries-old tradition that celebrates the beauty and serenity found in the simple act of brewing and savoring tea.

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