I practice a tea ritual called, Gong Fu Cha. What is Gong Fu Cha? The term itself means "making tea with skill" and it is a Chinese tea ceremony, involving the ritual preparation and presentation of tea.
For me this is a space for freedom, relaxation and a very meditative experience. The steps of the Gong Fu Cha ritual practice , focus on taking much care and being mindful during the whole preparation and drinking process.
This eastern style of tea brewing is very different from the west. Most of us are used to the boiling of water then dunking it over a tea bag in a large tea cup for minutes (some times leaving the bag in the tea cup) adding a sweetener and milk. The Gong Fu Cha style of brewing is very different, you use full leaves and steep for very short periods, seconds, then immediately strain the infused tea into a small tea cup.This process is repeated multiple times until you are satisfied. This is a process, but it allows you to be in the moment, and truly take care in the drinking experience.
Here is how I go about my practice,
Gong Fu Cha Style....
First, I take a moment and sit with how I feel, I take note. Then I will search through my tea stash to see what is fitting for the moment.
I like to take the steps in choosing the perfect tea vessel for the brew, then carefully measuring out the amount I think will be best. As my water boils, I take a moment to smell the essence of the tea and choose a tea cup that again works with the mood. Once the water is ready, I begin the process of rinsing the tea leaves. Then I begin the short steeps (5 - 10 seconds) and tastings of the tea, this is a repeated process that can go as long as you would like, generally I like to go a minimum of 6 - 8 rounds. With each round, the tea flavor profile changes and it is fun to take note and explore the different flavors, textures and sensations you may notice throughout the session. Meanwhile there is usually music playing in the background that is fitting to my mood and honestly some how, it influences the tea... (a topic to explore in another post).
My tea habit/hobby - like any other hobby - can be dangerously expensive, lol. I do have a small collection of Chinese and Taiwanese tea brewing vessels, tea cups and other tools used for this particular tea ceremony. In addition, I have a large collection of teas straight from the tea mountains of China. Currently I have taken a pause on purchasing teas, so that I can get more familiar with the tea I have on hand, lol. These teas can last many many years, and the flavor improves through time (like fine wine).
If you are interested in learning more about my tea habit, I have a whole tea blog dedicated to my tea obsession, so definitely go check it out!
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