Q: Do you have Gongfu tea?
A: There are many different kinds of Gongfu teas, which one do you want?
Q: …… do you have Gongfu tea?
A: There are many different choices from hand-made fine quality teas are Gongfu tea, particularly in the family of traditional fermented teas from the range of mid. to heavy fermented Oolong tea, with or without roasting. So which one do you prefer?
Q: No, I want Gongfu Black Tea
A: I also have many different kind of hand-picked fine quality famous black tea.
Q: ………. so you don’t have Gongfu tea.
A: *_* (speechless) @_@
It was a very funny telephone call that I had with someone from Holland many years ago, I don’t know should I laugh or cry even when I think of it today. Gongfu tea is not a name of a tea, but it is the description of fine quality teas that are produced through sophisticated processes.
Gongfu Cha (功夫茶) began from the Song Dynasty, it is very different from the mangcha-base tea ceremony (點茶法). Gongfu Cha became a very popular tea ritual in Caozhou in Guangdong, Zhangzhou and Chuanzhou in Fujian in China. The Hans migrants later brought this old tea tradition to Taiwan in the end of Ming to early Ching Dynasty. Gongfu Cha is a very popular tea culture in Taiwan, Fujian, Shantou, Guangdong and Hong Kong. In the southern Fujian dialogue, the word of “Gongfu” means exquisite, elegant, carefully connotation. Therefore in Gongfu Cha, it sets high standards to the selection of tea, the complex of steps in tea preparation, but also emphasis on brewing procedures, the selection of tea ware, the manners in tea serving and drinking.
Selection of tea
Tea used in the Gongfu Cha mainly is from the category of traditional semi- to high fermented, being or not being roasted tea – Oolong tea. There are many different varieties even in Tie Guan Yin, of course another unique choice is from the group of Feng Huang Dan Cun from Caozhou, Guangdong; because only these semi-fermented teas could emit the seductive natural pure flavor and taste.
Selection of tea ware
The basic tea wares used in the Caozhou Gongfu Cha are one small ceramic teapot with 2-4 tiny cups. The teapot should small and low and the cup should tiny, low, thin and white. In the traditional Gongfu tea ritual, not only carefully selecting teaware but also paying particular attention to how to boil the water.
The use of tall smelling cup and serving pot began from Taiwan in the 80’s and is suitable to brew light fermented Oolong tea. An unique intervention from Taiwan to the Gongfu tea culture.
It does not matter what kind of tea ware you use, still the quality of tea is playing the most significant key role to the whole tea ritual process.