Chinese Tea Ceremony

Mr Sam Qin and Mrs Keri Bosley will be hosting this lovely, traditional Chinese ceremony on the day.

The Chinese practice a form of tea ceremony called Gong Fu, where the tea master preparing the tea is considered an artist in his or her own right.  Styles for pouring the water and tea vary individually, and many devote a lot of time practicing difficult and artistic manoeuvers.  Usually the equipment for this tea ceremony are a clay Yi-Xing pot and several small teacups, a tea sink or shallow bowl for draining water into, and a few bamboo tools for handling the hot objects.

The tea master will arrange the teapot and cups in a circular fashion over the tea sink or in the bowl, and pour hot water into each to rinse the objects and to warm them so that the temperature of the tea is more consistent. This water is discarded and then a generous helping of tea leaves, usually oolong or Pu-erh, is measured into the pot.  More hot water is then poured into the pot and the tea leaves will begin steeping.  Every infusion in the Gong Fu tea ceremony is very quick, about 30 seconds, though the method for timing is never exactly precise.  In one tradition hot water is poured over the outside of the teapot, and when the water is seen to be fully evaporated, the tea is ready to be poured.  In another, the tea master must count a full 4 deep breaths before beginning to pour.  Either of these methods is roughly a 30 second steep, and remains consistent throughout the multiple following infusions.

Finally, the tea master will begin pouring in a continuous flow around to each of the teacups, a little at a time, resulting in each person having the equal amount and strength of tea in his or her cup.  After enjoying this first round of tea, the leaves may be resteeped for many more infusions.