Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, August 8 – As a little girl, I loved tea parties and I collected small teacups…. And here I am now, 50 years later, still doing the same thing! One of the biggest challenges for me in China is resisting buying tea sets! Especially here in Guangdong province, where Gongfu style (or “kung fu” in Cantonese) tea sets are common. These are small sized teapots and cups, and they are either beautiful or super cute! There is also a definite art to drinking tea Gongfu style! The tea set and experience are as important as the taste of the tea!
A basic tea set consists of: the tea tray, filter and filter shelf, the gaiwan (used to brew the tea), the tea pitcher or “fair cup,” cups, the tea pot, tongs and a towel. You can have many additional pieces, including a tea pet! I remember the first time I was served tea this way at someone’s home in China, I was going by the American custom of finishing what you are served, and the hostess just kept refilling my cup! I had way too much tea that day, but learned that you should leave some tea in your cup and they won’t serve you more! And, be sure to smell your tea before drinking it! This picture is my “cute” Gongfu style teapots and cups :-) If you are interested in seeing how Gongfu style tea is prepared and served, here’s a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtWVkv_dw_c