When tea and tea culture are booming worldwide, more and more people like to talk about Gongfu Cha. But what is the difference in Gongfu Cha (工夫茶）vs. Gongfu Cha (功夫茶）？These two share the same Chinese PinYin, but not all teas can be classified as GongfuCha.
A lot of people are confused by Gonfu Cha in 工夫茶 or 功夫茶. Hopefullly the following brief outlines are useful for you to distinguish few fundamental differences based on Chinese definitions:
Gongfu Cha 工夫茶
Gongfu Cha 工夫茶 started from Chaozhou,Santou and Southern part of Fujian in the Soong Dynasty, it was named as 工夫茶 because of its unique manufacturing methods. In the Wuyi Tea Song writen by Zen Master Shi ChaoQuan in the late Ming Dynasty： 如梅斯馥兰斯馨，大抵焙时候香气，鼎中笼上炉火温，心闲手敏工夫细, the poet clearly mentioned fine quality tea that has gone through complex manufacturing processes and time consuming. It is named as Gongfu Cha because the selection of tea leaves, withering, baking, rolling, fermentation and roasting, storaging and brewing require very particular attention.
In short, Gongfu Cha 工夫茶 is attractive because of its unique complex fraquence, the refinement in the delicated roasting process and most importantly the refinement in the workmanship in the manufacturing and the brewing process.
In the “Qing Dai Tong Shi” edited in 1915 by Xiao YiShan, it mentioned famous teas exported to the West were “Gongfu tea, Wuyi tea, Souchong tea & Pekoe tea”, from it we understand the Gongfu tea were meant for various fine quality black tea, i.e. MinHong Gongfu (i.e. ZhengHe Gongfu, TanYang Gongfu & BaiLing Gongfu from Fujian), Keemun Black tea and Dian Hong; Gongfu Cha is no longer to name Wuyi Rock tea.
Gongfu Cha 功夫茶
The most direct interpretation of Gongfu （Kungfu 功夫）is “martial art, skill; “Gongfu Cha 功夫茶” refers to tea making, tea brewing techniques and the way of tasting and drinking. The unique brewing from Chaozhou played a crutial role to lead the development of Gongfu Cha 功夫茶 mainly to brew traditional Oolong tea。Places known for Gongfu Cha 功夫茶 are Chaozhou, Xiamen/SanTou & Taiwan, among those regions, Gongfu Cha in Chaozhou plays the most influential role.
There are many different disciplines in Gongfu Cha 功夫茶，but few characters are in common:
- Brewing with with boiled water
- Small tea pot with small tea cups
- More multiple brewings are permitted
- Complex brewing procedures allow tea lovers to appreciate its complex layers in fraquences and tastes from each brewing