Chinese Tea Culture --- Chaoshan Gong-fu Tea Ceremony

Chao Shan Gong Fu tea has a history more than 1,000 years, which shows the essence of Chao Shan diet culture. It takes a lot of effort to make out the best tea with more than 8 procedures. At the same time, Chao Shan people also found out the best cooking and brewing way and tea set for this unique style tea. Let’s have a look at these traditional tea set.

Charcoal stove, made by Chao Shan local red clay, is good for slow cooking, which will help the water become soft and at the same time the burning charcoal will enhance water quality. You know, nature is magic. It is totally different between electronic boiling way and charcoal boiling way, the water you drink may give you the answer. Goose fan, is good for fanning, strong texture with powerful wind. This fan is used for burning up the stove and speed up burning degree. 

The pot on the stove is also made by clay. Water that is boiled by this clay pot becomes softer and more sweet, compared with steel pot or other pot. What’s more, this clay pot can keep the water warm for a relatively long time. This characteristic is quite useful for Dancong brewing since Dancong need water more than 80 celsius degree. Usually the first brewing of Dancong need to be more than 95 degree or boiling water, and from the second brewing, the water can be kept more than 80 degree. If the water is not hot enough, the tea soup is quite plain.


Zhu Ni (Red clay) hand-made pot is made by Chaoshan local red clay. This pot is good for brewing Dancong tea, which can make the water softer. Soft water brews better tea.


Chaozhou Pulling Teapot


Foreigners in China --- Chaozhou Pulling Teapot



Gongfu tea is famous in every household in chaoshan district. It is often the case that they make tea and serve their guests. Chaoshan gongfu tea is very well-known custom in China culture and it is one of four Golden Flower in the southern place. The fundamental spirit of it can be seen as the following: peace, love refinement and nobleness. Peace represents the harmonious atmosphere. Love represents the kindness, refinement represents the beauty of tea set and the particular way of making tea and nobleness represents the nobility of the mind.

Officially, the Gongfu Tea Ceremony is a 21-step process which takes careful practice, hence the name gong-fu, a play on words kung-fu. Whenever you visit an authentic Chinese tea shop, they will undoubtedly offer some form of gongfu tea service, often with exaggerated hand motions or entertaining tricks.


For your reference, here are the official 21 steps for Chaoshan Gongfu Cha:

1. Explain the tea service to the guests.


2. Wash your hands.


3. Light the charcoal (traditionally olive pits) in the clay tea stove.


4. Pour the water into the tea kettle (a long-handled, clay teapot).


5. Bring the water to a boil, using a feather fan on the coals to sufficiently heat them.


6. Warm the serving teapot by pouring the hot water in and over it.


7. Warm the tea cups in the same fashion.


8. Place the tea to be infused on a piece of white paper.


9. Use the paper to guide the tea leaves into the teapot.


10. Wash the tea leaves with hot water, pouring this first infusion over the tea cups and teapot (to keep them warm). Be sure to then discard this fist infusion by dumping all tea in the cups and teapot out on the tea table.


11. Pour hot water into the teapot a second time (this time to be consumed), being sure to keep the kettle 20 centimeters (8 inches) above the teapot.


12. Use the teapot lid to smooth out any bubbles on the surface of the tea in the teapot.


13. Put the lid back on the teapot and warm the teapot again by pouring hot water over it.


14. Warm and wash the cups again by pouring hot water over them and rolling one inside another using tea tongs, being sure to get all the edges submerged in the hot water. Cup washing should only take seconds to perform.


15. Pour the tea from the teapot into the first cup, being sure to keep the teapot 4-5 centimeters (1.5-2 inches) above the cups.


16. Quickly move the teapot to the second and third cups, being sure to pour the tea evenly into every cup.


17. Make sure every drop is dripped into the cups.


18. Serve the guests by gently moving a tea cup in front of each one and politely asking them to drink. Extra guests beyond three must wait for the next round, and the same three cups are reused.


19. Before sipping, guests should first smell the tea. Hosts will also often offer the teapot lid for guests to smell. Smelling is very important because 90% of the taste of tea is in the smell.


20. Everyone is to take sips of the tea and savor the taste. Connoisseurs often loudly slurp the tea and swish it around in their cheeks to be sure all taste buds are engaged.


21. Everyone should smell their empty cup after drinking. The teapot or gaiwan lid will often be offered as well.


This process is repeated each time the tea is served, and a single serving of tea (3-8 grams) can be reused 4-8 times, until the flavor has faded. Depending on the speed of consumption, the warming steps may be left out if not needed.



盖碗:the lid is for the sky , the bottom is for the earth, and the body is for the person. When we combine these three things together, we call it Sancai(三才)cup


温杯、洁具:pour into the hot water until half-full,then throw the water out of the teapot. It can warm up the teacup


乌龙入宫:we use the shovel to get some tea and put the oolong tea into the teapot


悬壶高冲:lift up the pot and pour the water into the pot, the tea-leaf will flowing with the water, in this way, we can wash the tea and force the smell of tea come out


春风拂面:we use the cover of teacup to scratch the bubble on the surface


若琛出浴:use the tea to warm up the cup, in this process, we should turn the cup around


关公巡城:pour the tea into every cup in order, we should bear these four words in mind: low,fast, even and尽


韩信点兵:when the tea is nearly ran out, put the rest of tea into every cup. Every drop of water should be distributed evenly


敬奉香茗:now it is time for our guests to enjoy the tea.


三龙护鼎:use the thumb and the index finger to hold the body of the cup,and use the middle finger to 顶 the cup


鉴赏汤色Now we can drink the tea, before that, we should watch its color carefully. If it is in good quality, the color should be clear, golden. Bright and bring a sense of enjoyment


细闻幽香Then we can smell its fragrance, the laurel smell, the orchid smell will definitely make you pleasant


品啜甘霖now we can drink the tea. There is a special kind of feeling when you hold the tea in your mouth and drink it very slowly into your heart



Chinese tea ceremony tea set --- Gongfu Teapot


Chinese tea ceremony tea set --- Kettle & Cup


Four Treasures of GongFu Tea Set




#tea #ceremony #gongfu #chaoshan

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