Go Gong Fu

Translating loosely as “making with effort,” the traditional Chinese gong fu method transforms tea preparation into a ritual.

The Slow Food movement has gained worldwide traction in recent years. Slow Foodies advocate for quality ingredients and a return to taste, taking the time to prepare foods with a sense of purpose and honoring the cultural, historical, and social connections of the things we eat.

So what about Slow Tea? In both of our stores in Berlin, we prepare tea for our customers according to the centuries-old Chinese gong fu tradition. The name literally translates as “making with effort,” and for good reason: The gong fu ceremony is the very antithesis of today’s quick-and-easy standard, the slop-some-hot-water-over-a-teabag technique. Long before convenience became the most important factor in tea making, the gong fu tea ceremony was being developed in southern China, and was later brought to the island of Taiwan by migrating tea merchants. The tradition continues to flourish to this day.

Wistaria Taipei

As with cooking, preparing tea in the gong fu style requires little more than a handful of knowledge, a dash of effort, and the dedication to spending a bit of time. Though enthusiasts may add numerous in-between steps to lay on flourish and flair, the fundamentals of the gong fu process are none too complicated: dousing the pot and cups with hot water to warm them, rinsing the leaves, then brewing and pouring the tea in timed succession. The brewing pot and sipping cups are small, designed with multiple, short infusions in mind. Preparation takes place on a slatted tray or box that allows the excess water to drain away. And of course the key elements: the inner mindset, personal engagement, pure tea, pure water.

The result, the Chinese believe, is a tea that both warms the heart and touches the soul.

Slow Teaists of the world, unite.