Chinese Tea Gong Fu Style using Yixing teapots
One of the many things I especially like about Chinese tea in a genuine Chinese teashop, is the use of tiny Yixing (pronounced Yee-shing) teapots, which are part of the traditional Gong Fu style tea service.
Gong fu style tea involves three or four infusions of tea in one tiny Yixing teapot using the same leaves. Before you start the infusions, you first fill the clay teapot and your teacups with hot water to heat up the chinaware. Then you pour off that water from the teapot, add about a heaping teaspoon of leaf tea, fill the teapot with hot, but not boiling, water and pour that water off. Since tea leaves are dried in the air, they can contain dust, and this first rinse pours off the dust and impurities. Finally, you start the infusions, the first one lasting about 30 seconds. Each infusion lasts longer, and even though the tea is steeped longer, because you’re using the same tea leaves, the last infusion is the weakest. My favorite infusion is usually the second.
Here I am enjoying Chinese tea with Michael Fung at The Best Tea House in Richmond, British Columbia. It’s one of a group of shops headquartered in Hong Kong.
Photographs by John J. Chapman, used with permission.