top of page



How to Host Your Own Gong Fu Cha (Traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony)

Recently, I had the opportunity to become the only active student of a prominent Taiwanese tea master, and over the past few months, have been working closely alongside her to learn more about the art of brewing tea.

Specifically, we have been focusing on Gong Fu Cha, the classic Chinese tea ceremony that is largely used by Guangdong businessmen -- and now, everyone at Eisa Tea Co.

The main focus of this tea ceremony is to serve tea with grace, precision, and mindfulness. Here's a basic guide on how to run your own gong fu cha -- but with a Taiwanese twist.

gong fu cha in taiwan

Setting the Stage

To begin with, the Gong Fu Cha ceremony starts with careful preparation:

  • Setting up: Traditionally, you would arrange three cups for three people, but of course this number will change depending on the number of drinkers, with the tea master's cup directly placed in front of you.

  • Hand washing: Use a small towel to wash your hands, with a single swoop for both the front and back. Fold gently and put away.

Heating and Cleaning

Next, the heating and cleaning process begins:

  • Heating water: Heat the water kettle on a fire, allowing it to heat slowly to boiling point.

  • Cleaning the teapot: Fill the teapot (or gaiwan for green and more sensitive teas) with the hot water, pouring over the sides and into the tea bowl which it sits within. To clean the teapot, turn it upside down on its spout and gentle side-to-side, before flicking it twice to remove droplets. You will keep the teapot in a shallow bowl of hot water throughout.

  • Cleaning the cups: Fill the cups with hot water and clean them by rotating one cup within another, two at a time. You will clean the cups this way after every pouring to avoid making the "tongue stupid", to quote the tea master.

Preparing the Tea

Once everything is clean, it’s time to prepare the tea:

  • Sorting tea leaves: Separate the small leaves from the large ones, and place within a paper leaf catcher. Then, hear the leaves over a fire to release their aroma.

  • Pouring tea leaves: Pour the large leaves first into the teapot as the pot will be hot and smaller leaves may burn.

taiwanese gong fu cha

Brewing the Tea

Brewing the tea is an art in itself:

  • Waiting for the water: Wait for the hot water to “dance” with bubbles before gently placing the water pot on the table and waiting for the boiling to stop making the lid rattle (or at least, until it stops spluttering).

  • Brewing: Use 100g of water at 100 degrees celsius with 12g of tea. The brew time is especially short - brew only for the time it takes to clean the cups.

  • First brew: Pour the first brew into a separate pouring cup, usually disregarded but sometimes combined into a concentrated “soup” for comparison later. You will decide whether or not to drink this first brew.

Serving the Tea

Serving the tea will then be done with elegance and care:

  • Pouring the tea: As the tea master, you always start by pouring your cup first and last, ensuring any small leaves bits are filtered out.

  • Serving the first brew: Place the teacups close to one another, but not touching, and pour small amounts into each one, evenly dispersing the brew with the same tea concentration. You will end the pour with a movement that mimics a general riding a horse and caring for his soldiers.

  • Bowing: After serving, bow to signify that every movement should look natural, graceful, and important.

  • Following brews: You will then continue to clean and pour with each new brew, with some teas being able to be reused up to seven times. The second brew time will be the shortest, but after that, you may consider adding +10 seconds to each brew time.

tea master wanxin with gong fu cha taiwan

The beauty of Gong Fu Cha lies in its ability to transform a simple tea-making process into a serene, mindful ritual. Each step, from heating the water to serving the tea, is performed with precision and grace, making every moment feel significant.

By immersing ourselves in this ancient practice, we not only learn about tea but also about the values of patience, attentiveness, and respect that underpin this beautiful tradition.

Whilst somewhat difficult to explain with words, we will explain this ceremony a little more in the form of video on the Eisa Tea Co Instagram page. Stay tuned, and let us know how your ceremony goes!


Want a Free Tea Tasting Chart?
Subscribe to Our Newsletter!

Welcome to the gang ;)

bottom of page