When you're used to a tea bag, drinking high quality, natural tea could be a bit overwhelming. It's actually rather easy, and most importantly, the cup of tea you'll be enjoying cannot be compared to the taste of your tea bag tea. Once you enjoy preparing and tasting natural Teazaar teas, you will never buy a tea bag again.
In this overview, I'll tell you first about the main tea tools you need and show you the Kungfu way. Then, I'll explain per tea variety and how to steep them. Once you've been through this page, you will know how to drink tea and can start developing your own feeling for preparing a perfect cup of tea.
These main suggestions are critical for a cup of tea, independent from the quality of your tea. Even an infusion of flowers or herbs need these critical suggestions:
- Good quality, living water
- Good quality teaware (focus on handmade)
- From light to strong taste (stay away from strong tea)
- From short steeping time to longer steeping time (develop a taste by starting with a light taste)
- Enjoy the fragrance between all the preparations steps (if you don't like the natural fragrance, don't drink the tea. Stay away from chemical additives!)
If you follow these steps, natural tea will never disappoint you. Some you will like the most, others are not quite your favorite. This is just your personal preference. The beauty of Teazaar teas is that you can try all kinds of tea and slowly develop your preference. You'll notice that your preferences keep changing according to the time of the year, time of the day, your mood, your age and when you drink natural tea combined with something to eat.
Get ready for this wonderful journey. Because this journey will be so great, it shouldn't be too easy to get there. Hence, I'll start with guiding you through the Kungfu style tea preparation.
Any tea can be prepared, moreover enhanced by following the basic principles of the kungfu method. I use 90 degrees for Black tea is the standard, Green & White tea should be 80 degrees, Oolong and Puerh tea 100 degrees (boiling hot). Kungfu means disciplined skill. A disciplined skill is something you can only achieve by practice, by developing a feeling for what you're doing. Nobody can tell you how to do this, you cannot study it from a book. However, we can give you some basic guidelines to start with. All you need is a Gaiwan, a serving glass, a number of small cups, hot water, and natural tea.
- Have fresh, living water ready
- Ready a Gaiwan, a serving glass and a number of small cups ready
- Pre-heat all of them with hot water
- Prepare the amount of around 5 grams tea leaves (never measure them with a scale, that wouldn't be Kungfu) and 7 grams for Oolong teas
- Use a pair of scissors to cut open the pack
- Put the tea leaves in the pre-heated Gaiwan and enjoy the fragrance
- Put the cover back and notice how the room filled itself with the fragrance of the tea you're steeping
- Add water to the leaves in order to rinse them. Never fill the Gaiwan completely, the leaves just need to be covered
- Pour the water out and enjoy the fragrance of the leaves once more. You'll notice that in all these three steps, the fragrance is slightly different....
- Fill the Gaiwan till just under the rim and cover with the lid. Wait for around ten seconds, then smell the inside of the cover (either from the middle, or top of the cover inside)
- Get the Gaiwan and pour the tea into the server after around 20 seconds
- Fill the Gaiwan again with water on around 80 degrees
- Prepare a small cup for you and all your friends and fill the cup till about 2/3. Never fill the cup completely, this is a sign for everyone to leave (unless you want this)
- Take a sip from your cup and ask your friends to drink with you (don't cheers, just concentrate on the taste)
- Ask everyone to finish their small cup in three sips and ask how they feel
- Pour the second Gaiwan into the server and give everyone the second cup of tea. Meanwhile, fill the Gaiwan again
- Ask everyone to smell the bottom of their porcelain glass and ask them what they smell
- Pour the third Gaiwan into the server and give everyone their third cup of tea
Repeat this process until the leaves releases all their flavor. In general, you'll get about six rounds of all slightly different tasting teas. This is why you should not mix 2 or 3 rounds of tea into one server. Just keep the process going to enjoy the wide range of flavors each steep brings. That is the beauty of the Kungfu way!
The aim is to forget about the 10 seconds rule; forget about the number of rounds; forget the amount of tea per serving. When you perform this kungfu ceremony every day, you will be able to prepare a perfect cup of tea anytime, anywhere and for everyone without thinking about all of that. You will just know it. Tea drinkers will prefer the tea steeped by you, wondering why yours always taste better than theirs.
If you are in need of a good Gaiwan, we can help get the perfect one for you. Just send us an email with the type of Gaiwan you're looking for.
Per tea variety
Now I'll explain shortly how to steep the teas per tea variety. Don't worry too much about these rules, the main aim is to enjoy a wonderful cup of natural tea and feel great.
Never use boiling hot water, around 80 degrees Celsius or 176 degrees Fahrenheit is the perfect temperature for green tea. When you prefer light tea, then use 3-5 grams tea and 5-8 grams for stronger tea, between 0,11 and 1,27 oz. We suggest starting with a light taste, which means that you should steep for a short time too, around 10 seconds to a minute. If you don't have any teaware, then use around 3 grams of tea leaves for a big glass or mug. Fresh green tea can be steeped up to 5 times before it loses its taste, keep using water at around 80 degrees Celsius.
White tea can be steeped at a temperate between 70 and 90 degrees Celsius or 158 to 194 degrees Fahrenheit. The water temperature depends on how fresh your white tea is and your personal preference. We suggest you try a number of temperatures and to develop your own preference. White tea can be steeped for some seconds, some minutes, even some people boil aged white tea. It all doesn't matter too much, just try the different methods and start with the lightest option.
Always use boiling hot water when you prepare oolong tea. We strongly suggest using a Gaiwan or a small teapot to get the best experience. We are using handmade, porcelain teaware from Jingdezhen. Oolong teas are often packed in small bags - to deliver you the perfect amount of tea (most of the time 7 grams). Oolong teas are often not suitable for drinking from a glass directly (due to both temperature and floating leaves), therefore first get the right teaware and only then try oolong tea. This could be a gaiwan, a teapot (even if you have an old teapot at home) or a tea maker. If you prefer light tea in general, then start with Tieguanyin oolongs, then Dancong oolongs and last one Wuyi oolongs. For the first time, try using half the content of the bag (3 or 5) grams and the next time, use the full amount in order to be able to compare. Many people prefer the 3 or 5 grams option. This means a small packaging that holds two tea rounds of enjoyment for them.
Black tea is called Red Tea in China, mainly because hardly any good black tea looks black. The tea liquid (in China called tea soup) is bright, red and transparent. If your black tea doesn't give you this impression, then there is either something wrong with the quality, or you didn't prepare the tea well. Always use fresh water at around 90 degrees Celsius, and an amount of 3 - 5 grams of tea leaves. Steep for a very short time (around ten seconds) and keep steeping till the leaves have released all their flavor.
Puerh is a special tea, often not appreciated because of its taste, but instead popular because of a so-called slimming effect. This is a pity because a good puerh tea is a wonderful tea. When you buy the raw puerh, then the tea needs to age before the bitter taste changes into a sweet taste. A dark, cooked puerh can be consumed directly but will improve with the years too. Because fermenting takes place with bacterias, you always need to use boiling hot water. And because the taste of both raw and cooked puerh is strong, you should never start tasting this tea with too many leaves. Start with around 3 grams. When you're more familiar with puerh tea and you have a favorite one, then buy a big gaiwan and gradually increase the amount of leaves.