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Monday, May 10, 2010

What is Chao Zhou style Gong Fu?

A long time ago I did a post on this, but now I feel I know a bit more and can elaborate a bit, so I decided to put together a step by step with pictures.

As always when brewing this consider how many people you are serving when taking into account the size of the pot you are going to us. I am using a 1 oz cup for myself, so I am using a 60 ml yixing, which will produce slightly more than the cup can hold (do not worry that is not a problem).

So materials:

  • Enough cups for everyone.
  • A yixing pot or gaiwan that is paired at about 25 ml in size per half ounce cup.
  • One or two faircups (one if you are using a teapot, two if you are using a gaiwan).
  • A high roast oolong, typically High fire TGY.
Steps:

  1. Crush enough of the tea leaves to fill 1/3 of the yixing or gaiwan. Note do not crush as in mortar and pestle, but crush by hand till you get small broken bits, a bit of a step up from fannings. For this step I like to use a gaiwan to crush just because it gives a firm surface that I can push the tea against with my thumb. Some prefer to crush in their hands, but depending on the tea that can leave your hand feeling rather raw. (I have had some hard as rock High fire TGY).crushed leaf
  2. Repeat the process for nearly another third of the pot, but crush it a lot less, try and get medium sized pieces.
  3. Finally fill the rest of the gaiwan or yixing to about 80-90% full with full leaves. And, yes this method does use quite a large amount of tea!Full Pot
  4. This is the hard part, you want to steep the tea so that it is very dark in color and very strong, think 30+ seconds first infusion. And for subsequent steeps you want to get identical brews. Typically going for 4 identical infusions.infusion
  5. When pouring with a yixing pot have the cups arranged close together and preferably in a circle so you can go around and around and around till all cups are evenly distributed. With a Gaiwan it is easier to pour into a faircup then repeat the process. Any excess should go into the other fair cup to be saved for later.
  6. After those are over, drink the cold excess infusions in the other fair cup, there should really only be enough for one or two cups.


You are supposed to be done after 4 identical infusions, but should you feel uncertain about using that much leaf for only four infusions go a head and steep the rest of the tea out, though this is not considered part of Chao Zhou Gong fu.

This method produces an amazing brew, that my friend has likened to the Turkish coffee of the tea world.
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