How to Make Chinese Gongfu Tea

Making Chinese Gongfu tea is a traditional and meticulous process that emphasizes the careful preparation of tea leaves to extract the fullest flavor and aroma. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make Gongfu tea:

Equipment Needed:

  1. Teapot: Typically small (around 150-200 ml) to brew concentrated tea.
  2. Tea Cups: Small, handle-less cups to appreciate the tea’s aroma and temperature.
  3. Tea Tray: A tray with a drainage system to collect water and tea spills.
  4. Tea Strainer: Optional, to strain tea leaves when pouring.


  • High-quality Chinese tea leaves (e.g., oolong, black, or Pu’erh tea)
  • Fresh, filtered water

Steps to Make Gongfu Tea:

  1. Prepare the Teaware:
    • Rinse all teaware (teapot, cups, and tea tray) with hot water to preheat them. This helps maintain the temperature of the tea during brewing.
  2. Measure Tea Leaves:
    • Use approximately 5 grams of tea leaves for every 150 ml (5 oz) of water. Adjust based on personal preference and the specific type of tea being brewed.
  3. Boil Water:
    • Heat water to the appropriate temperature for the type of tea:
      • Green tea: 70-80°C (158-176°F)
      • Oolong tea: 85-95°C (185-203°F)
      • Black tea: 95-100°C (203-212°F)
      • Pu’erh tea: Boiling water (100°C, 212°F)
  4. Warm the Teapot:
    • Pour a small amount of hot water into the teapot to warm it up, then discard the water.
  5. First Infusion:
    • Place the measured tea leaves into the warm teapot.
    • Pour hot water over the tea leaves and immediately pour it out into the tea tray (this is the rinse, or “wake-up” infusion). Discard this rinse water.
  6. Brewing Process:
    • Pour hot water over the tea leaves again for the first proper infusion.
    • Cover the teapot with its lid and let the tea steep for a short duration (typically 10-30 seconds for the first infusion, adjusting for subsequent infusions).
  7. Pouring the Tea:
    • Hold the teapot close to the tea cups and pour the tea in a circular motion to evenly distribute the flavor.
    • Serve the tea into small tea cups. Gongfu tea cups are small to encourage frequent refills and to savor the tea’s aroma and taste.
  8. Subsequent Infusions:
    • Gongfu tea brewing involves multiple short infusions. The number of infusions varies depending on the tea type and personal taste.
    • Increase the steeping time slightly with each subsequent infusion, gradually bringing out different flavor profiles of the tea leaves.
  9. Enjoying Gongfu Tea:
    • Gongfu tea is meant to be enjoyed slowly, appreciating the evolving flavors of each infusion.
    • Take time to smell the aroma of the tea before sipping, and note the differences in taste between infusions.

Tips for Making Gongfu Tea:

  • Experiment: Adjust the amount of tea leaves, water temperature, and steeping times to find the perfect balance for your preferred taste.
  • Tea Variety: Different types of Chinese tea require slightly different brewing parameters. Explore and enjoy the nuances of each tea.
  • Tea Ceremony: Gongfu tea brewing is often accompanied by a ceremonial approach, emphasizing mindfulness and appreciation of tea as an art form.

By following these steps, you can experience the traditional Chinese Gongfu tea brewing method and enjoy the rich flavors and aromas that Chinese teas have to offer.