What is Gongfu tea ceremony in Chinese traditions?
Four basic elements for Gongfu Tea Ceremony
Perhaps those who learn and practice Gongfu would understand better when I refer it back to the principle of Gongfu tea ceremony (功夫茶) to the learning and practice of Gongfu 功夫 (Wu Shu武術) . Even with the most talented people, none of us can master one sort of Gongfu movement in a very short time. On the contrary it requires day-in-day-out and years of diligently practice. Before learning different forms, one must first learn the basic steps in a concrete and solid manner; before learning how to jump, one must learn how to put the root of their energy on the ground solidly.
Four basic elements are very important in the practice of Gongfu tea ceremony:
- Arts – including the tea setting preparation, water selection, preparing fire, brewing and serving tea
- Manner – tea is more than just a drink. During the tea ceremony people learn and put the practice of good manners that requires the strengthening the basic and regular practice
- Environment and state of Mind – It is not just limited to the choice of location, the setting of the environment and tea setting because every detail matters.
- Learning Dao (Tao) through introspection – tea ceremony is about taking time to enjoy the peace, harmony and tranquility in silence while enjoying the fine flavor and taste. To realize the learning of wisdom of Dao (Tao) through the process and a cup of tea.
The use of small tea pot with tiny tea cups that we know as Gongfu tea ceremony is an old tea art ritual practice in Chaozhou since Song dynasty. The development of one specific practice in culture takes several generations with persistence and perservance and there is no exception for the Chaozhou style tea ceremony. The earliest documentation about Chaozhou style tea ceremony was written in Qing dynasty and the early stage of Republic.
The word of Gongfu in Chaozhou dialect means paying attention when doing things. Based on this traditional definition, perhaps you can already imagine how we can stretch the definition of Gongfu Tea Ceremony.
Only use premier nature and authentic quality tea
The traditional Chinese Gongfu Tea Ceremony uses small earth ware teapot and tea cups that emphases more on a good balance of flavor, taste, after taste and the strength of the taste, therefore Oolong tea from different fermentation and roasting techniques are the most suitable choice for the Gongfu tea ceremony. Of course, you can also consider to use very heavy or full fermented black tea (red tea in Chinese), but the best tea ware will be porcelain than earth ware, so you can distinguish the true flavor and taste.
You can choose either ceramic, Yixing or porcelain teapot, the key thing is “small with round belly”, otherwise can also try to do it with porcelain Gaiwan.
- It has to be the super premier quality that were hand-picked and semi-manual processed quality
- Pure, nature and authentic flavor and taste, so it excludes aromatic or blending teas.
Gongfu tea is not the name of a specific type of tea. How to select tea and find the right matching of tea ware that can provide you the best brewing result is a fun learning. Gongfu tea is not just about how strong the taste you can get, but it is how you can bring out the best from tea. Gongfu Tea Ceremony is about state of mind and attention on selecting, brewing, serving and drinking tea. Enjoy the fine, nature and pure flavor and taste from a cup of tea.
©copyright Mei Lan Hsiao, Belgium Chinese Tea Arts Centre/Belgium Chinese Tea Culture Association, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: (32) 0494-50 68 99