Brewing Kungfu (gongfu) Tea


Heat to the proper temperature, use a reliable thermometer to verify this. Refer to this Table for appropriate temperatures. If the water is too hot, the tea leaves may be scalded and some of the flavor lost. Less oxidized teas such as green and oolong are somewhat more sensitive to water temperature than more heavily oxidized teas. Because water quality influences the taste of tea, you may prefer to use bottled or filtered water.


As a starting point, use one Tablespoon of dry tea per two cups water. When the leaves expand during brewing, they should comfortably fill the inside of the teapot, without forcing the lid off. With practice, you will be able to determine the optimum quantity of tea for your particular teapot.

Brewing Procedures

step 1 Arrange your utensils. Pour some hot water into the empty teapot. Leave it in just long enough to thoroughly warm the teapot, then pour it out.
step 2 Add the dry tea leaves and put the lid on the pot. After a few seconds, remove the lid to smell the aroma of the leaves.
step 3 Fill the pot completely with water.
step 4 Cover the teapot and pour off the water immediately. (The purpose of this step is to allow the leaves to begin expanding.)
step 5 Don't drink this batch, but instead use it to warm the cups or pour it back over the teapot. Over time, this latter step will add depth to the color and patina of the teapot.
step 6 Add water again and cover.
step 7 Let the tea steep for about one minute, then pour it into a serving vessel.
step 8 Pour the tea into cups and serve. Enjoy!

Repeat steps 6 though 8 three to six times, increasing the steeping time slightly with each infusion. Experiment with the steeping times to accommodate your taste, but remember that one excessively long steeping can jeopardize the quality of subsequent infusions.

Care of Yixing teapots

But I don't have an Yixing teapot!

Other brewing vessels may be used also, but for best results use a container that allows the leaves to expand freely and occupy roughly the same volume as the water. Brew as if using an Yixing teapot, with several short steepings. An alternative method, suited to larger brewing utensils, is to use fewer leaves, more water, and a single long infusion. If you use this brewing method, be careful not to over-steep your tea. It is best to err on the side of caution, starting with a steeping time of about one to two minutes