2 images come to mind when I think about Kungfu Tea.
In Chinese historical period dramas, sometimes you’ll see how tea was made. It’s not just about adding hot water to some tea leaves. You’ll see a set of ceremonial tools with a small teapot and small tea cups. With a series of graceful movements from ‘washing’ the teapot, tea cups and tea leaves, to finally appreciating a cup of good tea.
Another was when watching travel shows to China, in Chinese tea houses, a waiter carrying a teapot with a long tea spout can be seen moving around in slick kungfu moves, ‘pulling’ tea out from the long tea spout to tea cups. Applauses can be heard when such skills are displayed. To those who never saw such moves, it lit up one’s eyes especially tourists who would visit these tea houses specially to enjoy this different kind of ‘tea appreciation’.
Tea appreciation is the process of tea valuation, tea observation and tea tasting.
Before making tea, the Tea Master will show to his guests the look and color of the tea leaves while the guests enjoy the aroma from the dry tea leaves.
Different methods of tea brewing are used for the different types of tea leaves including the temperature used for the different tea leaves.
When the tea is brewed, the shapes and color of the tea leaves will turn. The color of the water will change from pale to dark with the movement of the tea leaves. Depending on the type of tea used, the color can become green, yellow or red.
Tea tasting is by smell and taste. When the tea is served to the guests, smelling the tea and then taking a small sip of it is the first step. The second sip will be a bigger mouthful, swirl it gently within different parts of your mouth and tongue, to experience the taste of the tea.
The tasting usually repeated three times for delicate tea like green tea and up to six times for the stronger red tea.
Although it only requires 3 steps for tea appreciation, the actual methods to brewing the tea can be pretty complicated. Different tools and utensils are used to make that perfect brew of tea. From what I've researched, in one particular article, it required 21 steps to tea making!
Chinese tea appreciation consists of many elements. It’s not just about drinking a good cup of tea, but enjoying the entire process. From sight to smell to taste, the ultimate ending should be the feel. Seeking serenity and calmness, clearing away the messy thoughts and balancing one’s mind and spirit.
Discover more about Kungfu tea in this interesting video