Post by Eric (Student) on Jun 22, 2010 21:45:54 GMT -8
I give Gong Fu Cha lessons at The Chinese Tea Shop. One day, a new student said she found the process quite wasteful of water. That got me thinking, as usually fresh hot water from the kettle is used and discarded for each step of warming/rinsing the teapot, pitcher, strainer and cups, rinsing the tea leaves in the teapot and pouring water over the teapot for each brew. I adjusted my technique a few months ago to conserve water, with good results:
1. Fill the teapot with water from the kettle to warm it 2. Pour the water from the teapot into the pitcher to warm it 3. Put the tea in the teapot and pour the warming water from the pitcher back into the teapot. Since this is only for rinsing the leaves, this seems OK and the slightly cooler temperature of the water ensures no steeping and preserves the most delicate aromatics one usually wants from a first brew 4. Immediately pour the rinse water from the teapot back into the pitcher (or longer for Pu-Erh or Black Tea if desired) 5. Rinse/warm the teacups and strainer with some of the rinse water from the pitcher 6. Make the first brew with water from the kettle and pour the rinse water from the pitcher over the teapot as usual 7. For subsequent brews, I hold back a little tea in the pitcher which I use to pour over the teapot in the traditional way which further conserves water and builds up the tea oils on the Yixing teapots.
Gong Fu Cha purists and traditionalists may be horrified at this innovation but Gong Fu Cha was invented in a day and age of little concern about planetary water conservation. This seems a small way to do one's part for keeping a greener planet and in some ways I think, actually improves the tea.
surely you also drink plain water, you probably even carry a reusable bottle of it with you. if you keep your tea boat clean, there is no reason you couldn't simply collect the water from it, let it cool, and enjoy very very weak tea as your normal drink.
this way, you can lavish heat on your tea session with impunity and recycle the water later.