How do you serve gongfu tea?

Serving gongfu tea is an art in itself, one that embodies both precision and tranquility. The process involves several key steps, each crucial to unlocking the full flavor and aroma of the tea. Here’s a guide to help you master the art of gongfu tea service:

1. **Prepare the Teaware**

* Choose a suitable teapot, typically made of porcelain or Yixing clay.
* Ensure the teapot and cups are clean and dry. Warm them with hot water to enhance tea flavor.
2. **Select the Tea**

* High-quality loose-leaf tea, such as oolong or puerh, is ideal for gongfu cha.
* Use a tea scoop to measure out enough tea leaves for one session, typically filling about 1/3 to 1/2 of the teapot.
3. **The First Infusion (Rinsing the Leaves)**

* Pour just-boiled water over the leaves, enough to cover them.
* Discard this first infusion immediately; it’s mainly to rinse and wake up the tea leaves.
4. **Subsequent Infusions**

* Fill the teapot with hot water, being careful not to scald the leaves.
* Cover the pot and let the tea steep for a few seconds (the time varies with each infusion).
* Pour the tea slowly and evenly into the serving pitcher, then into individual cups.
5. **Appreciate the Tea**

* Observe the color, aroma, and clarity of the tea.
* Taste the tea, noting its flavor and mouthfeel.
6. **Repeat the Process**

* As you go through multiple infusions, adjust steeping times to account for the tea’s changing flavor.
7. **Cleanup**

* After the session, rinse all teaware thoroughly to remove any residual tea particles.
* Dry and store the teaware properly to maintain its quality.

Remember, gongfu tea is not just about the taste; it’s also about the meditative process of preparing and sharing tea with others. Take your time, enjoy each step, and savor the moment as much as the tea itself.

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