Kungfu tea (Kungfu cha), the “espresso” of Chinese teas with a formidable kick, which was first sipped back in the Song Dynasty (440-479 A.D.), is still flourishing and remains an important part of social etiquette in Chaozhou. If you visit a family, you can be sure of at least one round of Kungfu tea.
Kungfu tea, to which manual skill, high quality tea leaves and water as well as appropriate temperature control are critical, brings out the best that tea, especially the fermented Wulong tea, can offer.
It is a true art form to prepare the tea. Making basic Kungfu: first, clean the teapot with boiling water to make better tea with a warm teapot. Then fill in the teapot with a big handful of tea leaves, making sure the leaves, after being soaked with hot water, will stick out the mouth of the teapot. Next, pour boiling water into teapot. The water should overflow so as to get rid of impure materials and foam, and to make mellow tea. A few seconds later, the tea should be poured into cups, which are usually arranged in a circle. The last step is to pour tea with a few rounds of circular motions into each cup so as to make sure the tea in all the cups is the same in terms of color and fragrance. To avoid creating foam, the teapot should be held close to the teacups.
Though it tastes bitter when it first reaches your mouth, it is the lingering aftertaste that makes Kungfu tea probably the most charming tea culture in China. Drinking Kungfu tea is in fact a process of aesthetics rather than a solution to thirst.
For ordinary people, after a long day of hard work, a round of Kungfu tea offers refreshment and physical relief. This is one of the important reasons why the tradition lives on. Some even use Kungfu tea to stimulate their minds and seek inspiration, a much healthier method than relying on caffeine or cigarettes.