Drinking Tea in a Kong Fu Style

Generally speaking, Chaozhou refers to Chaoshan-Guangdong area and southwest Fujian. "Kongfu Tea" of Chaozhou is actually the art of making tea, instead of the skills of tea production. It is said that native Chaozhou people developed the habit of drinking “Kongfu Tea" in the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1367). Kongfu here means skillful or master, since the Kongfu tea needs skills and delicate manner to make.

A maximum of four people is required on "Kongfu Tea" drinking occasions. This reflects the idea that participants of a tea-drinking occasion should not be too many and they should be in harmony with each other. Usually the guests sit on both sides of the host, starting from the right side in line with their position and social status. When the guests are seated, the host starts the tea rituals, including arranging tea-things, selecting tealeaves, heating water and infusing tea. 

The art of making "Kongfu Tea" is noted for its ten-step method which is a very complicated process. "Kongfu Tea" is very strong. Tealeaves which may cover 70% of the pot will be soaked in the boiling water until it swells up to the top of the pot. The first-round tea is not for drink but for cleaning teacups so as to create a warming-up atmosphere for following drinking. After the teacups are cleaned, water will be poured into the cups. At this time, tealeaves have swelled and its fragrant scent can be smelt. Then the host begins to infuse tea. He first clusters four small teacups together and pours tea into them around until the cups are 70% full, which is the second-round tea. This way of pouring tea is called "Guangong patrolling". The remaining tea should be gradually dribbled into the cups, like a dragonfly skimming the surface of the water. This is called "Hanxin calling roll". 

Only if the tealeaves color and quantity of the four small cups is the same will the host's superb skill can be demonstrated. At this time, the host presents the four small cups of tea in front of the guests by hand in the precedence of age. The guests should make tea move around the tongues and swallow it until they fully feel the taste of the tea, which can stimulate every taste bud and therefore enjoy it thoroughly. After savoring delightfully, the guests should show the empty cup to host. This not only shows that the guests have accepted host's friendship, but also shows their appreciation of the host's superb skill. In the last round, the host will pick out the remaining tealeaves with bamboo chopsticks and put them in a small plate for the guests to see them. This is called "appreciating tea".

Source: http://home.seechina.com.cn/