The Origins of the Gong Fu Tea Ceremony

In pinyin, the term “Kung Fu” is written: gōngfu. The term really has nothing to do with martial arts, but refers to the possession of great skill. So in the world of tea, when we refer to the gong fu tea cermony, we are referring to a skillful way to prepare tea. When performing the gongfu tea ceremony there is no formal set of rules, procedures, or utensils — but there are some fundamental ideas that have grown into the tradition we now call the Gong Fu Tea Ceremony. The first treatise on tea surfaced during the 8th century –
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The redundancy of "Chai Tea" (Masala Chai)

We’ve all said it, “chai tea” — the greatest redundancy in the world of tea. In the Hindi language, “chai” means “tea”, so saying “chai tea” is the same as saying “tea tea.” Just think about that the next time you are in a coffeeshop and hear someone order a “chai tea latte” — whatever that is. Granted the popularized form of “chai tea” in America is syrup or powder based anyway – so calling what most drink in America “masala chai” would be a bastardization.  Masala refers to a mixture of spices; in masala chai, usually cardamom, cinnamon, cloves,
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The Manufacturing of Tea in India

In 1883, Edward Money published this great work on the state of the tea industry in India. He goes into the different regions of India, how to set up a tea garden, grow the tea, harvest the tea, process the tea. Everything you’ve ever wanted to know! Here are some photo excerpts: The best part about this is that it is available for download for free @ Archive.org: http://www.archive.org/details/manufacturetea00monerich Enjoy!
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Tea Culture in India: Photos

India has a rich tea culture, still the world’s largest tea producer — tea has become an important part of everyday life for most Indians. Masala Chai shops can be found on any street-corner, on the back of bicycles, and in many cases, the chaiwallah (“one who serves chai”) will come to you — as is the case while riding the Indian Railways. Many times, chai can be purchased in India for about 5 rupees – equivalent to just less than a dime (USD). Here are a few shots from my recent trip to India:
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Easy Steeping for Busy Folks

Let’s examine the steeping of tea in its simplest form for a moment: when we steep tea, we are making a drink from the leaves of a plant. We take into account the type of tea leaves we are using and the way they were processed along with the water temperature and steeping time. Too many times we end up drinking what Heidi Kyser from TChing [http://www.tching.com/index.php/2009/03/12/down-with-brew-waste/] calls “brew-waste.” This is “when a server ruins a perfectly good tea by brewing it at the wrong temperature, for the wrong amount of time, and/or using the wrong kind of equipment.” And
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Same tea bag after steeping

Why tea-bags and tea-infusers are bad

Tea bags are a product of convenience; they are easy, cheap, and clean. But if you’ve only ever drank tea that was a product of a tea-bag, you are missing out. Tea-bags used to only be filled with dust and fannings which are all the little pieces leftover from different processing methods. Through the years, tea companies have been putting higher and higher quality tea in bags. But no matter how nice the tea, or how innovative the bag is (see nylon bag below), they fail for one fundamental reason: tea leaves must be allowed to flow freely within the
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Boh Tea Plantation Fields in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

A Visit to the BOH Tea Plantation in Malaysia

In July 2008, I was backpacking through Malaysia and was able to visit the largest tea plantation in Southeast Asia-the BOH tea plantation. It was a great experience. If you find yourself in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia, be sure to visit a tea plantation. There were rows and rows of tea plants as far as the eye could see. I took a tour of the processing plant and was able to see their process. Their process was described to us as we walked through the factory; they broke it down into each stage: plucking, withering, rolling, fermentation (oxidation), drying
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