Gong Fu vs. Western Style Brewing

Gaiwan being filled with loose leaf tea

When most people think of brewing a cup of tea, they typically think about putting tea into their infuser, and steeping the leaves for 3-5 minutes before removing the tea leaves. This is a very easy and convenient way to brew tea, and is considered the western brewing method. Here I will give a rough overview of the Western vs. Eastern (Gong Fu) style of tea preparation.

The Gong Fu brewing method is different from the western method in two main ways.
1) First, is the tea leaf to water ratio.
2) Second, is the steeping time.

With the western method, typically about a teaspoon of tea leaves are used per 8oz of hot water. The tea is steeped one time for anywhere from 2-5 minutes. The Gong Fu style uses about 4-6 times as much tea, but reduces the steeping time to just 15-20 seconds per infusion.

The benefits of Gong Fu style:
-You get double the amount of infusions from the leaves since you are brewing using more tea leaf but for a shorter period of time.
-The flavor profiles of each infusion are much more pronounced

Super basic Instructions for How to brew Gong Fu Style:
1) Increase quantity of tea leaf by 4-6 times the Western preparation instructions
2) Add tea leaves to a Gaiwan
3) Pour hot water over tea leaves
4) Steep 15-20 seconds
5) Pour all tea out of Gaiwan, into a tea cup, keeping tea leaves in Gaiwan
6) Keep lid off Gaiwan so tea leaves don’t continue to steam while you sip your tea
7) Continue with multiple infusions, adding 5-10 seconds of steeping time for each additional infusion. Notice how the flavor changes with each infusion.