Saturday, February 23, 2008

Chao Zhou Brewing Style

Chao Zhou Kung Fu Tea is the oldest tea culture even in China. Tea wares are some what different as well. Most of the modern day Kung Fu tea wares (except YiXing) are more or less derived from the Chao Zhou style. Pictured below is a typical setting of traditional Chao Zhou style, minus the mat.
1 deep flat bottom dish for tea pot
1 half an inch thick loofah - place under neath tea pot
1 Chao Zhou Zhu Ni teapot
1 deep flat bottom dish for tea cups
3-4 tea tasting cups (should hold the same volume of tea as tea pot)
1 water well
1 clay stove
1 Sha Diao (water boiler)
Don't forget tea leaves and water. :P

-Light up charcoal to boil water
-Roast tea (optional)
-preheat pot
-empty water into cups
-place tea leaves in teapot
-fill hot water to top
-scrape foam off and close lid
-pour hot water over lid
-hold bottom dish with one hand, hold cups down with another hand (fingers spread out), empty water in cups into water well
-pour tea into hot empty cups at low height, circle around cups fast and evenly, shake off as much tea drops as possible
-same drill for subsequent brews

This is the traditional method, and still practice by many locals. However water drops everywhere, number of cups are fixed no mater how many people are there in the party, which isn't as practical as other tea trays and tea sets on the market.

Phoenix teas are more aromatic than most teas, hence temperature is extremely important, especially for 1st brews. That's why the preheat water is only emptied right before tea is ready to be poured, also Cha Hai is not part of this method. Rinsing is not recommended for high end Dan Congs. Oolong teas go through series of rolling process, hence much of the juice is on the surface of the leaves, rinsing is throwing away the essence.

Traditional CZ tea wares can be made of CZ zhu ni, ceramic or porcelain. You can mix and match any dishes to create a set which is what I did in the picture, as long as the size is right, functional and pretty.

Enjoy your Dan Cong tea!

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