How Much Tea for Gong Fu Brewing?

How Much Tea for Gong Fu Brewing?


Hey Teaheads. This is Don from Mei Leaf. In
this video: how much tea do you need for Gong Fu brewing? In this video I’m going to be
giving you my tips on how to choose the amount of tea to use just by looking at the leaf.
This video is going to go under the “tea masterclass” playlist. If at any point in time you enjoy
this video then please give [it] the thumbs-up. The more thumbs in the air, the more tea videos
are going to come your way. If you haven’t subscribed to our YouTube channel then go
click that button. For those of you who don’t know, Gong Fu brewing is the style of brewing
that is used throughout the Far East, and it is simply the best way to get a proper
extraction from your tea leaves. It involves using smaller teaware – somewhere in the region
of between 70 to maybe 180 or 200 ml. It involves using a lot more leaf to water ratio, and
brewing for a matter of seconds over multiple infusions. For those of you who don’t do Gong
Fu brewing i really, really recommend that you start trying to do some Gong Fu brewing. Honestly, for some teas it is the only way
that you can really appreciate the complex nature, and extract all the aromatics of the
leaf. It is [also] the only way that you can explore how the leaf develops as the water
enters the leaf over many infusions. So let’s begin. How do you know how much leaf to use?
The more leaf that you use, the richer the tea is in terms of taste, in terms of texture,
and the more infusions you can do. Is it possible to have too much leaf? Absolutely. It would
be difficult to do, but it’s possible. We’re going to be flash-brewing here, [and] when
you’re flash-brewing it’s going to be a matter of seconds, [so] if you put so much leaf in
that by the time the water hits the leaf and you’ve put a lid on the gaiwan or the teapot
and you’ve decanted it, in those few seconds if the tea has been extracted too strong then
you’ve used too much leaf. It would be quite a difficult thing to do. In general, the more
leaf you use, the better – and I’m not just saying that because I’m a tea seller. If you know that you are [only] going to be
available to drink tea for a few infusions then you may want to reduce the amount, because
as i said, the more leaf you use the more infusions you can do. So you [obviously] want
to be economical with your brewing styles. Okay. I’m going to bring the camera around,
and we’re going to go through each type of tea, and I’m going to give you my tips on
how much leaf to use. All of the figures that I’m going to be giving you today are grams
per 100 ml pot. What you need to do is get yourself a nice, accurate measuring scale
that can measure down to 0.1 grams. Then you need to find out the volume of your pot, or
gaiwan. The easiest way to do that is to just fill an empty pot with water, decant that
water into a measuring jug, and then you can see exactly what the volume is. Now don’t
forget that you’re not actually going to be brewing with that amount of water, because
the leaf itself is going to be taking up some of that volume. If you take the volume of your pot – let’s
say it’s 180 ml – then you would just take the figures that i’m giving you and multiply
by 1.8. If it’s a 200 ml pot then you’d multiply by 2.0. If it’s a 150 ml pot you’d multiply
by 1.5, etcetera. Let’s begin. We’re going to start with green tea, because green tea
is made from the young leaves. The young leaves are the richest in terms of the amount of
catechins and other aromatics in the leaf. Therefore, you don’t need as much. So green
tea is your lowest amount. I would recommend [that] a good starting point for green tea
is between 3.0 and 3.5 grams per 100 ml pot or gaiwan. If you have more dense tea like
this Long Jing here, which is flat and dense, then i would be using something in the region
of 3.5 grams. If you have more light tea [leaves], like this then i would be using about 3.0
grams. Now that may sound counter-intuitive, but
if you imagine that you want to take, let’s say, 100 leaves, a hundred leaves of the lighter
tea would weigh less than 100 leaves of the more dense tea. So the lighter the tea, generally,
the less leaf you use. This is 3.0 grams, and this is 3.5 grams. You can see, visually,
the difference in terms of the density. Now if you have a super-light tea, for example
a Hou Kui, like this. This is Hou Kui, [which] is a beautiful Anhui [province] green tea.
This is very, very light – super light. I would be looking at even less, [like] something
in the region of maybe about 2.0 to 2.5 grams. But this is a very unusual tea. For the most
part, [for] all green teas you’d be looking at between 3.0 and 3.5 grams of tea per 100
ml pot. Okay. Next up is white tea. White tea is made with young leaves, but it’s also
usually made with buds. So, for white tea we go from 3.5 to 4.0 grams
of tea per 100 ml pot, or gaiwan. Again, I’d be looking at the density. This white peony
here is a little more fluffy, [and] a little bit lighter, than the silver needle here,
and therefore i would be using a little bit less tea compared to the silver needle. A
good starting point [is] 3.5 to 4.0 grams. Okay, next is black tea. Black tea, again,
is made with the young leaves and buds, and so therefore requires a little bit less tea
[leaves] than you other teas. I would be sticking to between 4.0 and 4.5 grams. So we’re moving
up in 0.5 [gram] increments here, [and here that would be] 4.0 and 4.5 grams per 100 ml
pot. Next up we have oolong teas. Because oolong
teas use larger leaves – they use third and fourth leaves – those leaves have less concentration,
and therefore you need a little bit more leaf. For oolong teas i’d be going between 4.5 and
5.0 grams per 100 ml pot, or gaiwan. Again, we’re increasing it by 0.5 grams, so 4.5 to
5.0 grams, depending again on density. This eastern beauty here is a lot lighter and fluffier,
so I’d probably be looking at around 4.5 grams, but for the Dan Congs, and the Wuyi
Ya Cha’s I would be looking at around 5.0 grams. Next up is PuErh tea. For PuErh tea
you have the cooked PuErh tea here. This is a shou cha. Then you have some raw PuErh tea
here. For PuErh tea i think it is a very standard five grams. From what i have experimented
with 5.0 grams is the right amount for PuErh tea per 100 ml pot or gaiwan. So 5.0 grams
of PuErh tea. Last, but not least is your ball-rolled oolongs.
Ball-rolled oolongs are obviously more dense, and therefore heavier, and i would recommend
somewhere in the region of 7.0, and maybe up to 7.5, grams of ball-rolled oolong per
100 ml pot, or gaiwan. If you are brewing western style then i would recommend, [again
as] a good guide [or] starting point, would be to divide all of the numbers that I’ve
just given you by about 5 or 6. That will give you the amount to use per 100 ml if you
are brewing western style. That is all you need to know. I hope that these guidelines make sense, and
I’ll put them in the description [section] below. Please remember that every tea is different,
so this is just a starting point. With these tips i hope that you will be able to make
an educated guess – just by looking at the leaf – on how much tea to use to Gong Fu brew
successfully for a rich, flavourful, and delicious brew. That’s it Teaheads. If you made it to
the end of this video then please give [it] the thumbs-up. Check out our YouTube playlists
and let us know if there are any videos that you would like us to make. If you’re ever
in London then come visit us in Camden to say “hi!” and taste our wares. If you have
any questions or comments then please fire them over. Other than that, I’m Don Mei from
Mei Leaf. Thank you for being a part of the revelation of true tea. Stay away from the
tea bags, keep drinking the good stuff, and spread the word, because nobody deserves bad
tea. Bye!

34 thoughts on “How Much Tea for Gong Fu Brewing?”

  1. I think the figures you gave for green tea are fine for Chinese ones, but you might want to go higher with good Japanese greens. For high quality sencha and gyokuro teas I was told to use 5-6g per 100 ml, sometimes even 7 or 8g for that rich umami punch.

  2. Hey Don, I have a question abuot Puerh teas. I was looking into some different puerhs and i came across a section of teas called "Dark tea". It looked similar to Puerh but I was wondering is there any difference between the two?

  3. Hi Don! I've been following up with your videos and they are awesome!

    I have a question though, I do not own a Gaiwan but I am interested in trying Gongfu brewing, can I still do the gongfu brewing with a tea basket?

    Hope you are having a good day today and thank you for the awesome videos.

  4. That is actually a really good guide. I was using similar figures for green tea, after experimenting with it. Thanks to you i have a good staring point for other kinds of tea. Thanks!

  5. Thank you, Don! This video couldn't have come at a better time. Gongfu-style is definitely the way to brew if you want the most flavour and experience out of your tea.

  6. I'm looking into getting a super tiny pot for gong fu brewing as 1 so much to drink on your own and 2 sometime caffeine effects my sinuses badly and then in I'm headache town for hours but at the moment I have a connoisseur tea brewer from you guys and brew a lot of tisanes and blends… Can I do these gong fu style, if so what amount am I looking at or can I brew less volume in my brewer even if it's 200ml ?? (Always so many questions 😂)

  7. Don, I personally find black teas very challenging to brew, in terms of extracting the best flavour out of them, and I wonder if you can help me. I have a couple of black teas, they both seem to perform much better grandpa style, but even then I have difficulty bringing out the flavour.

  8. Thank you Don!
    For years, my tea under-performed in terms of taste and fragrance because of too much water & too little tea leaf.
    I wish you were around with that kind of info some 5-7 years earlier. 😉

  9. A few years ago I printed up your tea brewing guide and stuck it to my refrigerator for quick reference. So handy! I must admit that I tend to enjoy western style brewing more than gong fu, but when I have a special tea that I really want to spend time with, I do gong fu.

  10. At around 3:15 you say that the tea is g/100ml pot volume. My gaiwan is 120ml but I only fill it with about 80ml of water when brewing as that's roughly where the lid still closes nicely.
    I'm assuming I'd use the actual amount of water I use for the calculation and not the theoretical max. capacity of the gaiwan? So if your recommendation is 5g of tea/100ml I'd use 5*0.8=4g of tea instead?
    Or is that loss in water already "priced in" and I would use 5*1.2=6g? I think in your videos you also don't fill the 150ml gaiwan to the max so how much tea do you use with that pot if your recommendation is 5g/100ml?

    Thanks a lot, great channel.
    The passion of everyone involved can be felt in every video 🙂

  11. Hey Don, thank you as always for a wonderful video. I'd definitely be interested in seeing a video that compares oolong  and ball oolong (just a thought). You channel is truly a gem, thank you for all of of your hard work, dedication, and passion! Love from Canada.

  12. I've used 5g for ball rolled oolongs. Might experiment with 7, but 5 is quite economical in the sense that I still get all the flavors but less steeps I guess.

  13. 5g/100ml on Pu Erh seems really strong. I'm brewing with a 200ml pot and tried different amounts of Shou Cha. I found 10g/200ml barely drinkable on the first infusion.

  14. Since the rolled oolong leaves expand so much, you have to keep adding more water, right? What's the right amount of water for these leaves as they expand?

  15. When I brew I use a scale to judge how much water I'm using as well as the amount of tea.

    room temp water is pretty much dead on 1ml/g.

    The hottest the water should ever be is 100 Celsius, at which point it's just over .95g/ml.

    I normally brew about 150ml of tea at a time, going twice if I want to fill a standard sort of 300ml mug.

    so If I tare my vessel with the tea leaves inside then fill to 150g + change, I'm pretty much dead on with my leaf/water ratio and don't have to second guess based on how the leaf has expanded.

    Of course I usually just go by eye once I've done a couple infusions and the leaf is as expanded as it's going to get, but I try and do this so I can be scientific (XD) when figuring out how I like new teas I try.

  16. Hey Don. I realy love your channel. Last time i heard the suggestion to use so much tea, that the bottom is covered. That should be a good amound for every pot. How do you see that? Thanks and cheers

  17. I bought a beautifully made teacup recently, at the store it looked like 100ml+ cup, but it turned out to be a 50ml cup. I got confused, I usually drank 100-130 ml brews with the same amount of leaves you presented here. Would you recommend halving the amount of leaves? Also, can I keep the recommended re-brewing times?

  18. Need more and more 5-min or under 10-min videos. I luv tea and your channel also but English isn’t my mother tongue, long videos are like a real IELTS exam for me 😉

  19. Are there any "conversion" equations that you use for bigger gaiwan? Instead on 100 ml, what about 150ml or 180 ml?

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