We have been occasionally asked by surprised customers as why the Chinese teapots and accessories are much smaller in size in comparison to the traditional English teapots.
Tea in China is like wine in the west. The Chinese have had a love affair with their teas for more than two thousand years. After their discovery of this unique beverage, they invented all sorts tea ware and ways to explore and enjoy every aspect of it with all senses, to see, smell and taste.
A famous tea master from the Tang Dynasty, Lu Yi once put down this thumb of rule for tea brewing: Water – natural spring is the best; Fire – charcoal fire has the magic; Tea vessels – small ones are ideal.
Using a small Gong Fu tea set has the following benefits:
- Communal. A tea tasting section is often shared by a group, family or friends – great opportunity to chat, discuss or have a laughter. It is on opportunity to deliberately slow down (among the fast pace modern lifestyle) and appreciate some humanity like our ancestors did daily.
- Bring the best out of good teas. The Chinese believe the best teas are the ones freshly brewed and freshly served. A small teapot with frequent topping ups and serving minimises the chance of a tea being soaked and over steeped, where a bitter taste and rough texture is often introduced.
- Laying out the different layers and aspects of a tea. Premium teas have layers and angles that tea drinkers appreciate and enjoy. We often refer to them as tea tasting than tea drinking, for examples: shape, aroma and colour of dry leaves; aroma, colour, flavour, texture and aftertaste of a tea brew; the characteristics of the wet leaves after their brewing etc.
- Over and above, there is one distinctive character of a premium tea that is not talked a lot about, that is different infusions of a same tea have rather different natures in colour, taste and aftertaste. Only using a small teapot with frequent topping ups will allow these to be separated and appreciated individually.
A Gong Fu tea set therefore, apart from its authentic look and ceremonial significance, has also got its functional implications.