How to Brew Tea


Gong Fu Style Tea is my favorite method of brewing my favorite teas. I enjoy Indian and Japanese tea, but the diversity offered by the rich geographical and historical complexities of Chinese tea are unmatched elsewhere.

 Tea Brewer's Checklist

1. Select a tea
2. Offer the tea's appearance and fragrance to be enjoyed
3. Put a fairly large quantity of tea in a relatively small pot
4. Rinse the tea and warm the cups with the rinse
5. Steep the tea for what may seem like an incredibly short period of time
6. Enjoy your tea
7. Steep it again for just slightly longer each brew, enjoy, and repeat

Guidelines by Type

Here are some rough guidelines for the more common types of tea. There is too much variation among tea to be more specific, and everyone will prefer their tea done slightly differently. If you are coming to a tea for the first time, this guide should get your brew going.

Green

Temperature: 165 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit
Amount of Water: 250 mL
Amount of Leaves: 3 to 5 grams
Time: Between 30 seconds and 1 minute for the first steeping, adding 30s each re-steep.
Servings: 3 to 4

Light Wulong

Temperature: 175 to 195  degrees Fahrenheit
Amount of Water: 250 mL
Amount of Leaves: 5 to 7 grams
Time: Starting around 15-30 seconds, adding 5 seconds to the next two steepings, then 10 seconds and progressively longer until the tea is steeped out. With lower temp or less tea start with longer steeping times.
Servings: 3 to 8. Steeping out quickly is a sign of an inferior tea.

Dark Wulong

Temperature: 175 to 208 degrees Fahrenheit
Amount of Water: 250 mL
Amount of Leaves: 5 to 7 grams
Time: Starting around 15 to 20 seconds, adding 5 seconds to the next two steepings, then 10 seconds and progressively longer until the tea is steeped out. With lower temp or less tea start with longer steeping times. With Phoenix Wulong, err on the side of caution.
Servings: 3 to 8 . Falling off sharply after the third brew is a sign of an inferior tea and is very common among dark wulongs.

Red

Referring to Chinese Red Teas, often referred to as Black in the West.
This includes teas such as Dian Hong, Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, Qi Men, etc.

Temperature: 208 degrees Fahrenheit to boiling
Amount of Water: 250 mL
Amount of Leaves: 3 to 5 grams
Time: Starting around 3 to 15 seconds, adding 5 seconds to the next two steepings, then 10 seconds and progressively longer until the tea is steeped out.
Servings:
4 to 6

Black / Fermented

Referring to Chinese Black or Dark teas, often referred to as Fermented teas in the West. For teas commonly called "Black Tea" in the US and Europe, see Red above.

Temperature: 208 degrees Fahrenheit to boiling. Lower Temperatures will not infuse properly.
Amount of Water: 250 mL
Amount of Leaves: 5 to 10 grams. Higher quality tea can usually use more leaf for a stronger brew without adding impure flavors.
Time: Starting around 3 to 15 seconds, adding 5 seconds to the next two steepings, then 10 seconds and progressively longer until the tea is steeped out.
Servings: 6 to 12