It’s essential to know what a gongfu tea set comprises of and how are each of the tools used. After all, drinking tea in the Gongfu style is not only about drinking the tea, but also about enjoying the whole process of brewing the blend.
Apart from being gorgeous to look at, tea trays display all the pots, cups and other gongfu tea tools. The tray can be round, square or fan-shaped, often being shallow to hold any overflowing or discarded water in the process of brewing.
Serving the purpose of brewing and pouring tea, tea pots can be worked up of porcelain, or glass. On the more traditional side, some use sand-fired tea pots or Yixing clay teapots.
When brewing tea in gongfu style, Gaiwan is used not only to brew the leaves in, but also to pour the blend. People use it to gaze up the lovely unfurling tea leaves and to cherish the aroma of the brew. Gaiwans are available in various colors and styles. The cover of the Gaiwan signifies the sky while the bowl represents humankind, and the saucer at the bottom as earth.
Related Article: Gaiwan Teapot: A Complete Guide
The filter is utilized to filter the leaves after brewing before pouring it into the pictcher and pinming cups. The filter is stored on the filter shelf when not in use.
THE TEA PITCHER
Also known as fair cup and cha hai, the tea pitcher holds the brewed tea blend. Once brewed, the tea is poured into the fairpot, which then holds the tea, further making it a uniform density and flavor throughout before serving the blend.
PINMING TEA CUP
Pinming tea cups are what one actually drinks the brewed tea from. The blend is poured into the cups from the fair pot, and pinming cups are a bit smaller, thinner and shallower than a western teacup.
THE FRAGRANCE SMELLING CUP OR THE AROMA CUP
Aroma cup is used to smell the tea’s fragrance. It is more slender and taller than tasting cup, and typically, one aroma cup matches a tasting cup in terms of the color and material. It also matches the pinming cups and captures the essence and aroma of the brewed blend.
The tea holder serves the purpose of holding the dried tea leaves that are then brewed, after being removed from the canister that they are stored in. Tea holders are generally made from bamboo or wood, but simple white porcelain ones are the most common.
The coasters hold the serving and tasting cups, and are generally made of bamboo, metal or wood.
A tea scoop takes dry teas out from tin or tea bag into the teapot or gaiwan.
It transfers the tea leaves from the tea holder to the gaiwan or teapot.
A cylindrical funnel directs the flow of the blend into Yixing teapot, while also preventing the liquid from overflowing.
Tea tweezers pick the teacup in order to protect one’s fingers from heat, or taking the leaves out from Yixing teapot.
Tea pin is used to clear the tiny tea leaves blocking the holes of the filter in Yixing teapots, allowing the water to reach spout properly.
A tea vase holds the tools including the tweezers, tea funnel, tea pin, tea scoop and tea spoon.
The tea towel is an essential element of the ceremony and it used to clean up the spills, and tea or water stains. A cotton or linen cloth is used for the same and often matches the tea set.
In order to gently clean the Yixing teapots, a brush works wonders as the pots can’t be cleaned with some other cleaning products in order to avoid the oil from the skin being absorbed by the clay.
PU’ER TEA KNIFE
A long knife that can be flat or shaped like a needle breaks apart tea cakes and compressed teas.