Indeed, brewing a good cup of tea requires the right utensils, tools and knowledge of how to use them. Tea culture is rich and encompasses various tools and techniques. While Lu Yu, the Sage of Tea, designed 24 tea wares for tea brewing and tasting, many of these are not commonly used today. Let’s focus on the essential tea wares that are frequently used:
- Kettle or Electronic Kettle: Used to heat water for brewing tea. Electronic kettles are more common nowadays for their speed and convenience.
- Tea Plate: A base used to place the teapot. It catches any water that may leak from the teapot, keeping your table dry. Typically used for the wet brewing method.
- Hu Cheng (Tea Support): Similar to the tea plate but used in the dry brewing method.
- Tea Towel: Used to wipe away any water from the edges of tea cups, serving pitchers, or the bottom of the tea cup.
- Teapot: Essential for brewing tea leaves. Common options include Gaiwan and purple clay zisha teapots.
- Serving Pitcher: Used to hold the tea from the teapot, making it easy to distribute tea evenly among guests.
- Tea Filter: Placed over the serving pitcher to filter out tea leaves and residues.
- Waste Water Bowl: Used to store waste water from cleaning cups and teapots. Don’t use the waste water for brewing tea.
- Tea Holder: Holds dried tea leaves, allowing guests to see the tea before brewing.
- Fragrance Cup: Often seen in tea technique performances, it’s used for smelling the tea.
- Tasting Cup: The tea cup guests use to drink the tea.
- Cup Holder: Placed under the tasting cup.
To brew tea effectively, you also need to understand and use the “6 tea ceremony buddies,” which include:
Gong Fu Cha Utensils for Brewing Loose Leaf Tea
- Tea Funnel: Placed under the lid to store dried tea and prevent tea leaf leakage.
- Tea Caddy: Used to store tea wares.
- Tea Spoon (Cha Ze): For picking up tea leaves.
- Tea Pick: Used to clear the teapot, preventing blockage from tea leaves.
- Tea Scoop (Tea Scraping): Assists in putting tea leaves into the teapot.
- Tea Pincers: Used to clean cups and pick up tea from the bottom.
These 18 tea wares might seem like a lot, but each one serves a specific purpose in the delicate art of brewing tea. The next time you enjoy a cup of tea, you can appreciate the craftsmanship and tradition behind it, as well as the people who serve you this beautiful beverage.