The Gong Fu Cha Ceremony Takes You on a Tea-Tasting Journey
Using the same tea plant and employing different tea-making processing techniques, tea-masters create different flavors, aromas, and textures. This is why historically in China, tea is referred to as:
“Tea is the essence of heaven and earth.”
Throughout the ages, tea immortalized innumerable tea connoisseurs in China. Emperors, artists, and poets befell by the charm of this humble yet noble beverage.
Tang dynasty poet Lu Tong penned the famous “7 Bowl,” or “7 Cup,” while he was tasting tea. Legend has it that he was tasting Wuyi Rock tea, renowned for its long-lasting brews.
Wuyi Rock tea would later evolve into Oolong, invented by the Buddhist monks at the Mother Temple in Wuyishan, more than 800 years after the tea-intoxicated poet put down his tea bowl.
Here is the English translation of this poem.
The first bowl moistens my lips and throat;
The second bowl breaks my loneliness;
The third bowl searches my barren entrails but to find Therein some five thousand scrolls;
The fourth bowl raises a slight perspiration, and all life’s inequities pass out through my pores;
The fifth bowl purifies my flesh and bones;
The sixth bowl calls me to the immortals;
The seventh bowl could not be drunk, only the breath of the cool breeze raises in my sleeves.
– Lu Tong (790-835 A.D.)
What Are Major Tea-Tasting Traditions?
Similar to tea-making, the art of tea-drinking also evolved throughout the millennia in China. As tea flowed out to different parts of the world, tea-drinking was adopted and evolved according to local culture. Here are the major tea-drinking traditions, starting from the ancient times to present days as we know around the world today.
- Cooked Tea In ancient China, tea was boiled with ginger, mint, scallions, citrus peel, etc.
- Powdered Tea Lu Yu, the world’s greatest tea sage in the Tang dynasty, promoted Powdered tea.
- Whipped tea Around the 10th century, in the Song dynasty in China, Whipped tea became fashionable. Japan adopted Whipped tea as Matcha 500 years later, giving birth to Chado, or Chanoyu, also known as the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
- Steeped tea This tea-drinking method resulted from the invention of loose tea, which happened in the Ming dynasty of China. Read more about how tea is made.
- Zen Tea Ceremony: This ceremony originated at the Mount Tai temple in Shandong province in China. The practice spread throughout China and overseas. We filmed the Zen Tea Ceremony in Wuyi Shan’s Mother Temple.
- Gong Fu Cha or Gong Fu Tea, The Gong Fu Cha Ceremony, was invented specifically to taste Oolong tea, a semi-fermented tea invented by the Buddhist monks at the Mother Temple Wuyi Shan.
- Japanese Tea Ceremony or “Chado” Also called Chanoyu, or “The Way of Tea,” the Japanese Tea Ceremony started in the 1500s by adopting Whipped tea, a Song dynasty tradition in 10th century China. Read more about how tea came to Japan.
- Afternoon Tea Introduced in England by the Duchess of Bedford in 1840, afternoon tea was initially a time for women to get together in their boudoir, then it moved to the hotels of London in the mid-1800s. It grew into a quintessential English custom beloved by people around the world today.
Discover the art of tea tasting.
LOVE TEA? OR KNOW A TEA-LOVER IN YOUR LIFE? GIVE THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING…
You’ll love our new artbook! A labor of love, this artbook showcases glorious images, taking you on a journey through ancient tea rituals and how these practices bring calmness, mindfulness, and tranquility through the ages.