Gōngfu Cha
Gōngfu Cha preparation.

Guwahati: How do you brew your tea every morning?

One uses one gram of tea for 100 ml of water and is brewed for 3-4 minutes. 

Jingle Daulaguphu, an Assam resident, is now teaching and doing classes throughout the Northeast on Gōngfu Cha brewing, which is a traditional Chinese method of making tea where instead of steeping tea once, one can steep tea up to a dozen times, and each steeping will change and develop. 

Literally translated, Gōngfu cha means “making tea with skill” or “making tea the right way”.

Gōngfu Cha (literally, “Kung Fu Tea”) is a traditional Chinese term that refers to brewing tea with discipline and skill.

One of the most important things needed in Gōngfu Cha brewing is the gaiwan, a small clay or porcelain teapot. Experts say that the practice of Kung fu martial arts requires intense deliberation, focus, mindfulness and repetition to develop skill, the Gongfu Cha tea arts carries a similar gravity and intensity.

“Basically, what makes Gōngfu brewing different from the Western style that we all practice is the leaf to the water ratio and the steeping time. Gōngfu Cha uses an average of 5 times more leaves for the same quantity of water and five to ten seconds of steeping… and adding 10 seconds in alternated steepings,” he says. 

“Drinking tea Gōngfu style is like watching a movie in high definition with top-quality surround-sound speakers. It’s the way the movie (or tea) was intended to be consumed,” Jingle told EastMojo.

He said a large number of leaves showcase the full flavour of the tea without the bitterness and brewing “Western-style” or using a teabag will often result in a much more bitter and dull-flavoured tea.

His love for Gong fu cha started during the lockdown period when he started seeing videos of Gong fu tea ceremony.

“What gets me really interested in brewing tea is the whole process. The process of the Gōngfu style of brewing itself is so calming. It’s a therapy for me and could be for many. This moment of my day puts everything into reset mode, which actually helps me focus and plan things. I feel all of us should find ourselves an activity which could be anything else, like cooking, gardening etc., and for me, it’s brewing tea,” Jingle says. 

“I find myself connected to nature and with the people involved in this tea-making process… Basically, it’s the tea culture of the Far East that really interests me,” he says.

He said a lot of people who were intrigued by his daily posts of tea brewing on his personal Instagram account started asking him ‘What’s going on ?‘ or asking him to invite them for tea and often there were guests coming over for tea and at times doing outdoor tea brewing.

“This was the beginning of an idea to create a tea community which focuses on speciality or whole leaf tea culture with a Gōngfu school of brewing which is the best brewing method for brewing a rich tea… I started my tea community page in May 2022 and I post a lot of tea activities and some tea education posts. 

“I hope this community really grows with people changing from the perception of tea bags and milk tea to tea in its pure form enjoying and experiencing the artisanal teas connecting us with the tea producing areas ecosystem and the craftsmanship of the masters,” he says.

He says the idea was also to connect with other tea people and begin the real tea culture where it’s not about just drinking for its health benefits or to start your day but to enjoy and experience the whole tea-making process.

 Other than the videos the other thing which attracted Jingle to Gongu fu tea style was from the movie ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’ where Michelle Yeoh drops the Gaiwan purposely to check the Kungfu skill of Zhang Ziyi as she was a suspect of stealing the Sword. It was in the movie at first when I saw Gaiwan and really liked the classic look and elegance of it. I already had two Gaiwan tea sets in 2015 but never knew how to use them until 2020 when I watched Gōngfu Chá learning videos. 

“Also from the Movie Ip Man 2, there is a scene where Doni Yen has to face all the masters in Hong Kong to open his martial arts school. Next to every master on a table lies a Gaiwan filled with tea and seeing them hold the saucer at the bottom with their left hand and use their right to hold the lid, how they balance and use it to drink directly from it got me really interested in using Gaiwans,” he says.

Jingle is working to have a regular tea session if possible every week, which he has been doing for a couple of weeks since April on Sundays in Itanagar Vivek Vihar @My Cup of Tea- a cafe and a patisserie owned by a friend. 

He also does it elsewhere when tea lovers want to host a session on any day. Since 2022 he has been hosted at Cafe Town, Itanagar, Coffee Tribe, Naharlagun, Mom’s Bakery and Cafe, Itanagar, The Cherry Blossoms, Naharlagun, The Elite Resort, Itanagar, The SOTO, Naharlagun, My Cup of Tea, Itanagar and The Tea Story, Uzanbazar, Guwahati.

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“I would really like to see India producing and shift its focus more into speciality/whole leaf teas and eliminate or minimise at least the tea bags consumption. We need to shift the practice of milk tea by adding sugar to the purest form experiencing the real character of tea which actually defines the terroir of the different growing regions and the artisanal skills of its tea masters giving us different experiences likewise to just being a generic product,” he says.

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