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1. Rinse tea utensils with warm, boiled water before use.
2. Use fresh water for brewing each time.
3. Preheat the vessel and teapot with a few drops of hot water before adding tea leaves.
4. Measure the correct amount of leaves and place them into the vessel or teapot.
5. Infuse leaves with hot water and adjust steeping time according to personal preference.
6. Pour the brewed tea by tilting the lid at an angle in order to avoid spilling liquid from the spout hole during pouring process.
7. Once finished, rinse utensils again with warm, boiled water and dry thoroughly afterwards before storing away in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight
Correct Use of Kung Fu Teaware! People’s tea ware generally refers to a teapot, and as the tea industry continues to develop, kung fu tea ware has become more and more demanding. Let’s take a look at the specific use of different tea utensils.
The teapot used in Gongfu Cha implements is called “Chongguan” or “Suguan” in local dialects, as it originated from Yixing of Jiangsu Province, which is the smallest of Yixing’s purple-clay teapots. There are four criteria for selecting teapots: “Small, shallow, even and old”. Teapots are variously classified as two-person pots, three-person pots, four-person pots and four-way pots. Those made by Mengchen, Tiehuaxuan, Qiupu, Eepu, Xiaoshan and Yuansheng are prized possessions. There are many shapes of teapots such as small ones like oranges, large ones like mandarins; gourd shaped, persimmon shaped, diamond shaped and drum shaped etc… Drum shape is the most common due to its correct thickness. There are also a variety of colors such as cinnabar red clay, ancient iron chestnut color, purple clay and stone yellow etc…. But regardless of shape or color the most important thing is that “the pot should be small not big; shallow not deep” as then it would not serve its purpose for Gongfu Cha.
A teacup is a small cup used for drinking tea. It typically has a handle and holds 6–12 US fluid ounces (180–350 milliliters). Teacups are generally made of glazed ceramic, porcelain or bone china. They are often part of a full tea set and may have decorations or designs on them.
When using Kung Fu tea sets, there is also a four-character motto for choosing cups: small, shallow, thin and white. Small cups are ideal for drinking all at once; shallow cups ensure no water remains; white color like jade sets off the color of tea; thin like paper so that it can bring out its flavor. Chaozhou teacup patrons often choose wide-mouthed flat-bottomed blue and white porcelain cup with “Ruoshen (如深)” written at the bottom, which is considered precious but hard to find nowadays. White porcelain small cups produced in Jingdezhen or Fengxi in Chaozhou, commonly referred to as “bai guo bei” (白果杯), are also excellent choices.
Third, Tea Washing
1. Boil water in a pot.
2. Put tea leaves into a teapot and pour the boiled water over them.
3. Let it steep for 1 minute or longer depending on how strong you prefer the tea to be.
4. Swirl the tea in the teapot 15 times while pouring it out into cups or glasses.
5. Serve the tea with snacks if desired.
Shaped like a large bowl, there are many shades of deep and light colors. When making tea, three are essential: one primary and two secondary. The primary is used to soak the teacup; the secondary is used to soak the teapot; and one is used for storing the water for washing the cup and already brewed tea leaves.
Fourth, Tea Tray
Tea trays are used to hold cups of tea, and come in various styles, such as round moon shape and chessboard shape, etc. But no matter what the style is, the most important principle remains the same: wide, flat, shallow and white. The surface should be wide enough to accommodate different amounts of cups for different numbers of guests; the bottom should be flat so that the cups don’t shake easily; the edges should be shallow and the colour should be white, in order to set off the beauty of tea cups and teapots.
Fifth, Tea Coasters
Tea coasters are often used to protect the surface of a table or countertop from spills. They can also provide decoration and add color to a room. Most tea coasters are made from wood, bamboo, stone, or ceramic materials. They come in various sizes and shapes, so it is easy to find one that will fit your table.
The tea mat used for Kung Fu Tea is smaller than the tea tray. It is used to place the teapot and comes in various shapes. However, one should always remember that “summer is shallow and winter is deep”. Winter is deep so that more boiling water can be poured when pouring the pot, making it difficult for the tea to cool. A layer of “felt” should also be placed on the tea mat. The “tea mat” is made of loofah according to the shape of the tea mat, so it should be made of loofah instead of felt, so as not to produce odors. The role of felt is to protect the teapot. After sprinkling tea, Kung Fu Tea also needs to turn over the teapot to avoid water accumulation in the pot. Even a little water will make the tea taste bitter due to malic acid dissolution.
Sixth, Water Pots and Water Bowls
Both water bottles and water pots are used for storing water for cooking tea. Water bottles are necked and shoulder-hung, flat-bottomed with handles, of which the plain porcelain blue and white one is the best. There is also a kind of necked one with a mouth decorated with dragon, called the dragon pot, which is also good. As for the water pot, it is about the same size as an ordinary flowerpot and there are many styles available. In the Ming Dynasty, ‘Red Gold Color’ was made by using five metal glazes and painting two goldfish tails on the bottom of the pot. When scooping out water, it seemed like the goldfish were also moving – this is a very rare treasure.
Seven, Dragon Tank
The dragon tank is similar to the lotus tank planted in the courtyard, or smaller. It is used to store a large amount of spring water and is covered tightly. The bottom is supported by a wooden table and placed in the corner of the book room with an antique flavor. Dragon tanks are also made of plain porcelain blue flowers, some of which were made during the Ming Dynasty Xuan De years, but it is very difficult to see.
Eight, red clay stove
Translation: Eight, Red Clay Stove
The Red Clay Stove used in Kung Fu Tea utensils is produced in Chao’an, Chaoyang, and Jieyang. It looks very nice with various styles. It is characterized by a long shape, six or seven inches high. The stove heart for placing charcoal is deep and small, so that the fire power is even and saves charcoal. The small stove has a lid and a door, which can be covered and closed when not in use, saving energy and convenient. There is often a very elegant couplet on the door of the small stove, which adds to the tea charm.
Nine, Sand Chisel
The most famous one made in Fengxi, Chaoan is “Sand Shaker”, commonly known as “Tea Pot”. It is made of sand mud, very light. As soon as the water boils, the small lid will automatically lift up and make a sound. This is just the right time to make tea with this pot. As for using steel or aluminum pot to boil water for tea, it is also okay but not as good as metalware. It’s less sophisticated.
Ten, Feather Fan and Steel Chopsticks
Feather fan and steel chopsticks are two very important items in Chinese culture. The feather fan is a traditional Chinese cooling item used to ward off the summer heat while the steel chopsticks are an essential tool for any meal. Both of these items have been around since ancient times, representing the elegance and beauty of China’s culture.
The use of a fan when making Kung Fu tea is to fan the fire. When fanning, one should put effort into it without going over the left and right sides of the stove, so as to maintain a certain temperature and show respect to the guests. Therefore, specially-made fans are not only beneficial for showing off one’s skill in making tea, but also their elegance with white goose feather blades, bamboo handles and silk tassels set against red, green and white colored tea sets together with dark purple tea creates an interesting atmosphere. Steel chopsticks not only help pinch charcoal and move around fire, but also keep the host’s hands clean.