If you want to brew tea in “gong fu” style, you really only need a few things.
First you need something to boil water. I tried using the water from our office hot water dispenser, but it’s just not consistently hot enough for black tea.
Then you need something to keep your heated water hot over the course of your sessions. A thermos that holds 3 or 4 cups will do.
Then, of course, a gaiwan. These can be gotten online or at specialty tea stores. The people at Yunnan Sourcing are super nice and have a good selection. (They also have a second location based in the US, Bend, OR, to be exact: YunnanSourcing.us with faster turnaround and cheaper shipping.) I’d suggest a glazed porcelain or glass gaiwan, medium-sized sized (around 150ml). Don’t spend too much to get started. Save your money for tea. 😃
Finally, you need a teacup or mug. Not all coffee mugs present tea in a flattering way. Experiment with what you have at home.
If you want to share tea with others, a small pitcher to pour your brewed tea out of is nice. I use an old bodum tea pot.
If you’re picky about pieces of tea leaf in your tea, a tea strainer or small fine sieve.
A small electronic scale that will measure grams can come in handy to get the hang of dosage amounts for various teas.
If you want to get into brick teas like Pu-Erh, you’ll need something to break them up, a tea pick or tea knife is traditional. Sort of a cross between an ice pick and an oyster knife. (The pointy blade of a scissors works OK, just be careful not to stab yourself.)
It doesn’t hurt to have a watch with a second hand to time your steeps, but you can always use your smart phone.
Finally, if you don’t have one of them fancy water boilers that allows you to set a temperature, you should think about a getting an instant read thermometer so you don’t overcook your more delicate teas (especially, white and green).
#tea #cha #gongfucha