Away from tea bags and large teapots, there is a huge culture of tea in the Far East. The drink has a lot of tradition. The tea ceremony is an enchanting manifestation of this deep tea culture.

What is Gong Fu Cha

Gong Fu Cha is a Chinese type of tea preparation. Gong Fu (also Kong Fu) means “something achieved through hard, patient work” in Chinese. The tea is prepared with a lot of mindfulness and a high degree of accuracy. The main difference between the Gong Fu method and the “western” tea brewing method is the Ratio of water and tea. Gong Fu Cha uses a significantly lower amount of water and a higher proportion of tea leaves. The tea is poured in the so-called Gaiwan or a small clay.

Oolong and PuErh tea are best suitedfor Gong Fu Cha, as most infusions can be prepared from these varieties. Green or black tea is rarely used in China for the Gong Fu Cha, but these teas are still suitable for this brewing method.

Quantities and temperatures of the Gong Fu Cha:

Tea varietyQuantity per 100 mlWater

Oolong Tea

Slightly oxidized oolong3.5g90 – 96 C°
Highly oxidized oolong4 g100 C°
Roasted Oolong4 g100 C°

PuErh Tea

Sheng (raw PuErh)5 g95 – 100 C°
Shou (mature PuErh)5 g100 C°

White teas

Jin Zhen 4 g100 C°
Bai Mu Dan 3g90 C°
Shou Mei3.5g90 C°

Green / Black Teas

Green2.5 – 3 g70 – 80 C°
Black tea3.5g100 C°


By the way: we have already created our own article about the preparation of Oolong tea here for you!

Utensils for the Gong Fu Cha

Gong Fu Cha is simple and easy. We are rather minimalist and pragmatic, which is why we like to keep this type of tea preparation simple. If you want to orientate yourself to the classic tea ceremony, you need a little more equipment. Here we show you the simple method of Gong Fu Cha.

You need:

Gaiwan / small clay can

Gaiwan is Chinese and simply means “cup with lid”. And that’s exactly what it is. In the Gaiwan you simply add the tea and then pour the water over it. To shave the tea, simply leave a small gap between the lid and the cup. The tea can flow out, but the tea leaves remain in the container. Alternatively, you can use a small Chinese clay with a large 100 – 200 ml.

Gong Fu Cha Gaiwan


Tea bowl

If you drink tea alone, it is a good place to use a tea bowl to pour the contents of the Gaiwan or the jug into it. A normal cup of course also works, for the right atmosphere we find a bowl more beautiful. 🙂

Gaiwan Tea Preparation How To


Jug and small tea bowls

If you are drinking tea with several people, then it is recommended to pour the tea into a small jug. What looks like a cream jug is called Dao Beiin chinese gong, or fairness cup. When you distribute the tea into small bowls, the fairness cup ensures that the consistency of the tea is the same. So everyone gets an evenly intense and delicious tea!

Teezeremonie Gong Fu Cha Tea ceremony China Taiwan

Execution of the Gong Fu Cha

For the preparation of tea, you should generally use soft water. Too hard and calcareous water binds the aromas in the tea and makes the drink taste cloudy. Take a Gaiwan or a little jug and put the tea in. Depending on which strain you are using, you will find a dosage and temperature recommendation in the list above.

Pour into the empty infusion vessel and the cup(s) hot water to clean and preheat the dishes. As a result, the tea does not lose heat too quickly later. Then pour the tea leaves into it. Now you can see that the warm leaves give a much more intense smell than in the cold condition. You can perceive the smell of the tea more intensely.

Pour water on the leaves. For the first infusion, 15-30 seconds of drawing time is usually sufficient. With each additional infusion, you should extend the time by five seconds. When the tea is ready, pour the tea into your bowl or jug. Now the tea can be enjoyed!


Why you get the best tea with Gong Fu Cha

Tea leaves are packed with ingredients and taste! However, low-quality teas, which are often found in the West, are also full of bitter substances. In order to prepare such teas edible, a slightly different method of preparation is used in the West than in the Far East. In this country, less tea and more water are used for pouring tea. So the tea is “diluted”, the bitterness is less intense, but all other flavornotes are also.

As a metaphor, let’s compare an orchestra to a single violin player. Sure, the violin itself is also capable of producing and inspiring wonderful sounds, but the orchestra has a much deeper, more complex and richer sound. This is exactly the case with the Gong Fu Cha – you get a more complex and meaningful tea.

For the Gong Fu Cha you absolutely need a high-quality tea. Because only with good tea leaves can a tasty drink be produced. The small surcharge, which is usually paid with the tea, is compensated by the fact that you can pour the tea several times. With our highest quality oolong from Taiwan, for example, eight to ten infusions are possible!


How to drink tea in China earlier

Tea has been consumed in the Far East for thousands of years. The way the tea is produced and drunk has often changed a lot. At the beginning of the Song Dynasty, about 1000 years ago, the tea was still pressed into round flats. This is comparable to the production of today’s PuErh teas. This made the tea more durable and was better suited for transport.

The tea was not drunk as leaf tea at that time, but was ground into a fine powder. Similar to today’s matcha, only much bitter and less green. The method of making tea as a powder is therefore originally not from Japan, but from China. The method of production was only taken up by the Japanese and has continued there to this day.

With the advancement of technology, art and philosophy, the way of consuming tea also changed. Tea was a much sought-after drink, especially among Chinese scholars.

One day, the Chinese came up with the grandiose idea of pouring not the powder of the tea leaves, but the tea leaves themselves. They quickly realized that the tea tasted less bitter and more pleasant. The beginning of modern tea consumption has been set.

Tea Consumption in China – Today & Back

It is often claimed that the modern tea ceremony is a centuries-old Chinese tradition. That’s not true. The tea ceremony, i.e. the Gong Fu Cha, is actually a very young one. But not so hasty. Let’s see how the Chinese really drink tea.

For the majority of people in China, drinking tea is not a complicated thing. Take tea, a container, throw the leaves into the jar and tip boiling water over it. That’s it. Because the tea leaves are usually heavier than the water, they sink quite quickly to the bottom of the vessel, so that you can drink without any problems. No frills with fine jugs or fine cups. No experimentation with water temperatures and the amount of tea leaves.

This way of drinking tea is still common among the majority of tea drinkers in China. Many carry around a bottle of tea leaves. In many public places there is access to hot water, with which you can refill the bottle. This method of tea enjoyment was affectionately christened “Grandpa Style” by blogger MarshalN. Because older Chinese in particular still drink their tea.


Video of the Gong Fu Cha preparation

On our Instagram channel we have posted a great video about The Gong Fu Cha. We would be happy if you would follow and there so as not to miss any videos in the future!


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Friends of Tea (@friendsoftea_) on Sep 1, 2019 at 11:56am PDT

Become thirsty?

Surely you now feel like trying out this exciting brewing method yourself. Do you lack the right tea? No topic – in the Friends of Tea Online Shop find great teas, which are excellent for the Gong Fu Cha. We look forward to your visit!

This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)