About Gongfu Tea Service
The gongfu tea ceremony (Chinese: 工夫茶 or 功夫茶), is a kind of Chinese tea ceremony involving the ritual preparation and presentation of tea. It is probably based on the tea preparation approaches that originated in Fujian and the Chaoshan area of eastern Guangdong. The term literally means "making tea with skill". The approach involves using smaller brewing vessels and a higher leaf-to-water ratio than in western-style brewing. Today, the approach is used popularly by teashops carrying tea of Chinese origins, and by tea connoisseurs as a way to maximize the taste of tea.
All teas, loose tea, coarse tea, and powdered tea have long been associated with the "imperially appointed compressed form", known today as a "pressed tea cake". By the end of the 14th century, the more naturalistic "loose leaf" form had become a popular household product and by the Ming era, loose tea was put to imperial use. In Japan, tea production began in the 12th century following Chinese models, and eventually evolved into the Japanese tea ceremony, meant to be exclusive to political and military elites. The related teaware is the gaiwan lidded cup and the small glass pitcher known as the cha hai.
Tea and Mindfulness
Brewing tea through a succession of steepings from the same tea leaves means that over a single tea session, the flavors, aromas, and impressions evolve from batch-to-batch. As a result, drinking tea becomes a dynamic process that draws one ever back to the novelty of each and every moment. Meanwhile, the attention paid to the brewing process itself only serves to heighten this present-mindedness.
Drinking tea in this way creates the perfect conditions for mindfulness, and almost always leaves one feeling much more at ease than when they began. There is nothing left to do, nothing to wait for, no instructions to uphold, and no training required – tea guides the way to a place of calm without effort. Little wonder, then, that Buddhist monks have been revering tea in this way for centuries! It is also for this reason that tea facilitates connection and friendship so well; when people are present – and able to sip some tea before speaking – they end up listening much, much more deeply. Northeast Tea House aims to make this remarkable and satisfying relationship with tea (and, by extension, with each other) easily accessible to all by providing a space specifically designed around the mindful appreciation of tea.