On the Art of Enjoying the Tea
In order to do justice to a tea, i.e. in order to liberate the individual characteristics of any kind of tea, care is needed on all levels. This entails besides the right knowledge about cultivation and manufacture also the right stocking so that the tea keeps or increases its quality. And, of course, the right way of brewing.
Beyond this we need some experience and intuition about how we can relax and find a good place to enjoy the tea in a calm atmosphere.
Besides a good quality of clear water, a beautiful tea set is important. Very suitable drinking vessels are thin-walled porcelain cups, white at the inside, so that the nuances of the tea’s colours become well visible. Cups with thick walls often have the effect that the subtle aromas of the tea are less easy to feel and taste. Exceptions, however, prove the rule!
A good teapot can be made of glass, cast iron, metal, porcelain, stone, earthenware or clay. If one and the same teapot is used for different kinds of tea an enamelled inside wall is of advantage. For pure teas we advise special Yixing-teapots from China or same qualities from Taiwan or Japan.
We offer a great range of tea accessories in our shop, and you find pictures of accessories for the Gongfu method here, for Western style here.
Tea is prepared in many different ways around the globe. And it is always all about bringing the three factors: amount of tea leaves, steeping time and temperature into an optimal harmonious relationship. We are happy to give you precise advice for any individual tea that we offer. The more, you find our brewing suggestions on the back of the paper bag the tea comes in, resp. the label on the rarities box.
In order to do justice to the typical characteristics of different kinds of tea two brewing methods are clearly prominent. These are firstly the classical Western method, which can be used for all teas (in general), and secondly the Gongfu Cha method for teas of East Asian origin (i.e. not Indian teas and similar), especially for good and best qualities.
Preparation of the tea with the Gongfu Cha method for Chinese teas of all kinds:
- Fill the teapot with boiling water, pour the water into the scent cups, from there into the drinking cups and finally into the brewing tray (pour over a Happy Buddha or similar figure).
- Give the tea leaves into the pre-heated teapot (4g per 1dl size of teapot). Rinse the leaves with water of the appropriate temperature by filling the teapot and immediately pouring this first brew into the tea pitcher (ChaHai), and from there into the cups via the scent cups. Finally pour into the tray (again over Happy Buddha or similar).
- Pour again water of the appropriate temperature over the tea leaves and from there almost immediately into the cups. Serve scent cups to your guests and smell the tea’s fine aromas. Enjoy the tea in three sips. Repeat this procedure with slightly increasing (a few seconds a time) steeping time until the leaves are completely leached and tasteless. The scent cups can be left out after the first two or three times, or even from the beginning.
You find more detailed information under Tea Ceremonies.
Brewing tea in one big teapot following the classical Western style, for all kinds of tea, is best be done like this:
- Weigh the tea leaves (12g per liter, respectively amount of teaspoons indicated on the bag).
- Heat the adequate amount of water to the appropriate temperature.
- Take a teapot, put in the leaves and fill it with the water.
- Let steep.
- Pour into a second, pre-heated teapot using a tea strainer.