How to: Gong Fu or Kung Fu Brewing Tea to Optimize a Loose Leaf Oolong Tea Presentation

How to: Gong Fu or Kung Fu Brewing Tea to Optimize a Loose Leaf Oolong Tea Presentation

Zone – 365, the makers of one of our favorite loose leaf Oolongs,  recommends a specific way to get the best brew from Oolong. Kung Fu Brewing or the Gong Fu style of brewing is a common process in Taiwan for making tea. It is a detailed process that gets the best out of the Oolong tea leaves. The full process is seen on the 365 blog, and it makes for a lovely tea ceremony that brings out all the flavors of the Oolong.

This is a modified version of the “Gong Fu style” Way when making Oolong tea for one person.

  1. For the best quality tea, use the freshest, cleanest water you can find, such as filtered water or well water. Oolong is too delicate to conceal a bad-tasting water. Heat the water to an at-below boiling point.
  2. Using a clay or glass pot (clay is preferable to enhance the flavor over multiple brewings but glass works as well) add about 2-3 grams of Oolong pearls to the pot.
  3. Fill the pot less than halfway full. Swish the water around for about 30 seconds; this removes the outer surface layer of the Oolong, and any tea dust from settling in the bag. It is like how many people don’t eat the first pancake in a batch because they are just “priming” the griddle. Nothing is wrong with this tea; it is just not the very best brew.
  4. Pour this water out into a discard container. In the video, I poured into the pottery ware cup. In the traditional method, this water is used during the rest of the tea ceremony and initially, is poured into the drinking cups to warm them. I skip this step and just discard the priming brew water.
  5. Now pour the remaining water into the teapot. Within a minute or two, the Oolong unfurls into the beautiful leaves. I loved how fresh, unblemished and beautiful the unfurled leaves looked.
  6. Brew for about 2-5 minutes, or a few more minutes to taste the deeper Oolong flavor. The traditional method groups many serving cups together and in a swirling pattern, pour the tea over all of them to get an even distribution of the flavor. It reminds me of being at a party, and many champagne glasses are being filled at once. A tea towel is used to clean up the cups before they are served. I don’t pour it the traditional way but do give the teapot a few swishing motions around to give the infusion a good stir before pouring.
  7. You can immediately start the next brewing infusion off the same Oolong, and get a good four infusions from the same leaves, and maybe up to seven or eight infusions depending on the size and medium of your teapot. Clay works best for multiple Oolong brewings.

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