There are as many ways to brew tea as there are cultures around the world that brew it. Here are a few general categories that represent the full spectrum of tea brewing from practical daily use to the art of tea.
All of our tea types can be understood and experienced most comprehensively by brewing the leaves Gong Fu Style. This is the traditionally developed art of tea brewing that allows for the appreciation of the full spectrum of qualities that are unique to each batch of tea.
While acknowledging this, we can confidently offer alternative brewing methods that provide practical flexibility and still produce a fine brew. We suggest that you try all methods, depending on the occasion, to enjoy your tea to its fullest.
Single Mug Brew
Brewing a mug of hot tea for one is the simplest, fastest method of enjoying whole leaf tea.
- One tablespoon (4-6g) of tea leaves per 500ml (16oz) of boiled (95'C) water.
- Adjust amount of tea leaves to taste.
- Put tea leaves in a porcelain or heavy glass mug and fill with boiled water.
- Let sit for 3-5 minutes, until the leaves have reconstituted and begin to sink.
- Enjoy the direct experience of the full tea leaves brewing in your mug as you sip.
- Refill your mug with hot water when you've reached below half full, or as desired.
- A second refill will produce a lighter, yet still satisfying brew.
Many tea lovers enjoy seeing reconstituted tea leaves floating in a hearty mug of delicious brew. Most of our selections are matured, whole leaf teas that, when brewed, reconstitute to their original full leaf size and gently sink to the lower half of a brewed mug of tea. This allows you to sip directly from the mug of tea still containing the leaves. Once in a while, a smaller leaf or fragment may get sipped up, but as tea is edible, this is also enjoyed by those who appreciate the full experience of direct contact with the leaf. We recommend using hand-picked, unroasted tea leaves for this brewing method for best results.
Cold Brew Tea
Cold brewing is a a refreshing way to make a cool drink. Cold-brewed tea has been reported to contain proportionately less caffeine than hot brewed, yet more of the polyphenols (antioxidants).
- One teaspoon (3g) of tea leaves per 500ml (16oz) of drinking water.
- Adjust amount of tea leaves to taste.
- Put tea leaves in whatever type of container you wish to use, and fill with water.
- Let sit at room temperature for 2-3 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.
- The leaves will reconstitute and sink to the lower half of the container.
- The brewed tea can be poured into a glass, or drunk directly from the bottle containing the leaves.
Most types of tea can withstand a second brew by simply refilling with water. Do not add more tea leaves after the initial amount has brewed.
If kept refrigerated, the tea leaves can be left in the container for 48 hours or more. If room temperature, up to 8-10 hours is fine, but avoid direct sun or high temperatures for best results.
Cold brewed tea will not over brew if the proper amount of leaves are used. The amount of tea leaves is a matter of choice, depending on how concentrated you like your tea. If you enjoy a stronger tea with more brewing stamina, simply use more leaves.
Gong Fu Brew
Gong Fu style involves brewing small amounts of concentrated tea for short intervals that are repeated several times. Brewing the tea in small amounts for short intervals allows the leaves to be brewed in succession, capturing the subtle essences of flavor and aroma as they are released from the tea leaves.
The Chinese term "Gong Fu Cha" refers to the traditional method of brewing oolong tea that requires knowledge and skill. In addition to a small gong fu teapot, pitcher and cups, a bowl or vessel that is big enough to hold the brewed tea leaves as well as the discarded rinse water before and after brewing is necessary.
Begin by rinsing and warming the teaware with boiled water, and discarding the rinse water.
The amount of tea leaves to be used is typically measured in proportion to the size of the teapot. For smaller pots, filling the pot to 1/5 capacity with dry leaves is a general rule of thumb for tightly rolled oolong tea. Leaves that are not tightly rolled should be measured differently. Proportionally less tea should be used as the size of the pot increases.
Prior to brewing the first pot of tea, rinse and moisten the leaves by filling the pot with boiled water and immediately pouring off the rinse to be discarded. Then refill the pot for the first brew. About 50 seconds is allowed for the first brew, and 10-15 seconds are added for each successive brew. After the third brew, up to two minutes for each successive brew is fine. Quality tea can be brewed 6-10 times, depending on the leaf.
The Art Of Tea
Leaves, Water, Intent; Fulfillment; Well-being. These are the essential components of brewing tea.
Fulfillment is rooted in the intent, which begins with the farmer's contact with the earth in cultivating the plant and culminates in the act of adding water to dried leaves with your own intent to serve yourself and others. The fulfillment reaches its completion in the appreciation of the unique character of each brew - which is comprised of the fruit of the farmer's labor, the context at hand, and the attention that is brought to brewing and imbibing the tea.
Well-being is the result of this fulfillment which nourishes the body and refreshes the mind. Acknowledging these components allows for a sense of communion with this age-old custom and the magic that ensues from simply adding water to tea leaves.