To make a good cup of tea, you need the right brewing technique as well as high-quality tea leaves. Of course, just as personal preference plays a big role in determining how to take one's single-malt whiskey, there is no one right way to make one's tea. We encourage you to start with our brewing recommendations for your first tasting of our tea products and slowly experiment to find your perfect cup of tea. 

Mansa's brewing technique (recommended)

Mansa's brewing technique adapts the traditional gongfu style for our modern tea drinkers who typically enjoy more intimate tea sessions. We find that the best way to truly understand the intricate flavors of single-origin tea is by observing the change in flavor over multiple infusions without over-steeping tea.

Items you need

Temperature controlled kettle
Digital scale
Plain white Gaiwan
Tea tray or waste bowl
Timer
Tea Strainer
Serving pitcher (for more than one-person)
Tea cups

Mansa Tea | Our Brewing | Our brewing technique explained in six steps | single-origin aged tea | pu'er, pu-erh, dark, white teas

Why is a Gaiwan required?

Step 1: Heat water

Heat water to the recommended temperature on your product instructions slip by using a temperature-controlled kettle. Most of our tea products are best brewed at close to, if not at, boiling temperature (205-212°F) given our collections mostly feature aged pu'er, dark, and white teas. 

Step 2: Measure tea leaves

Use a digital scale to measure the recommended amount of tea leaves in a Gaiwan. We recommend about 3g of leaves per 4 fl oz (or 120 mL), which is in between the traditional gongfu method (7g) and the Western brewing (2g). We find that 7g can be too much for a one-person tea session, and 2g requires a longer brew time that may end up over-steeping the tea. Also, a plain white Gaiwan works best for tea tasting as it is easier to observe the leaves and the brew color against its white background

Step 3: Awaken leaves + pre-warm teaware

Once the water is heated, add hot water to the Gaiwan to awaken the tea leaves. Awakening opens up the leaves, especially for aged tea like pu'er. Immediately, decant the water into the serving pitcher and teacups to pre-warm the teaware. Although the serving pitcher is used in the traditional gongfu style, you can skip and pour directly into your tea cup for a one-person occasion. Pour the remaining water into a waste bowl or tea tray. 

Step 4: Infuse

Slowly pour the water into the Gaiwan, just below the rim. When you close the lid, the water level should rise slightly above the lid to seal in aromas. Set a timer to steep for the recommended brewing time of 30 to 60 seconds. We encourage you to start with 30 seconds for the first brew, and adjust depending on personal preference and number of brews. 

Step 5: Decant + Serve

Tilt the lid slightly to create a small opening. Place your thumb and middle finger on the rim and your index finger on the lid to hold the Gaiwan. Place a tea strainer over the serving pitcher or your tea cup, and decant the brewed tea over the strainer. If using a serving pitcher, pour into individual tea cups. 

Step 6: Enjoy multiple infusions

Repeat steps 4 and 5 for subsequent infusions. Remember to keep the water heated at the recommended temperature. We typically increase the brewing time by 10-15 seconds for each subsequent brew. Most of our tea selections should brew 5-9+ times. Enjoy the change in flavors over multiple infusions, and let us know which tea you like the best!

Mansa Tea | Our Brewing | Gongfu Brewing Technique for Single Origin Aged Tea, including pu'er or pu-erh

Explore our teaware set

Gongfu Brewing Technique

For tea drinkers who want to explore more traditional techniques or who are serving larger groups, we recommend the gongfu brewing technique. It is the technique most often associated with traditional Chinese tea ceremonies. While gongfu means “highly skilled” you can learn how this technique in just a few steps. In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of gongfu brewing, a technique which uses more tea leaves (7g) but a shorter brew time. This style is best suited to long days with friends so that everyone can enjoy how the tea changes over time. Start with a favorite tea whose delicate flavors evolve with each infusion.

Items You Need

Same as Mansa's brewing technique. Feel free to use your favorite gaiwan or yixing teapot.

Step 1-3: Heat Water, awaken leaves, and pre-warm teaware

These steps are the same as Mansa's brewing technique. Heat water to the boiling temperature (212°F). Instead of using 3g of tea leaves, use 7g per 4 fl oz (or 120mL) of water. After awakening the tea leaves, do pre-warm the teaware. This step is more important in gongfu brewing than other styles because we do not want the hot warmer cooling down in the teaware when the brew time is already short.

Step 4: Infuse

Once the tea leaves have opened up, pour the boiling water slowly into the brewing vessel. Fill to the rim and cover with a lid. For gongfu brewing, start with a quick brew time of 5 to 10 seconds.

Step 5: Decant + Serve

After the quick brew time, pour the tea into a serving pitcher to ensure an even taste for each infusion. From the pitcher you can then pour the tea into the cups. Given the high leaf to water ratio, the gongfu method best allows you to enjoy the distinct flavors that change with each cup.

Step 6: Enjoy multiple infusions

For each brewing session, add on another five seconds of steeping before serving. This will unlock different flavors with each infusion. Do this in quick succession until the tea has no more flavor. Some of our teas can hold up to 20 infusions. 

Mansa Handcrafted Aged Tea | Express brewing guide

Express Brewing Technique

Although Mansa recommends more traditional brewing techniques to brew our aged tea, we also understand that there is a time and place for everything. Mansa’s express brewing technique is designed for quick tea sessions in the office when you don't have your full teaware set available. This technique uses higher water to tea leaf ratio and longer brewing time. 

Items You Need

Digital scale, or pre-weighed tea leaves
Large mug + tea strainer
or glass/porcelain teapot (about 10 fl oz or 300 mL)

Step 1: Heat Water + awaken leaves

Heat water to the boiling temperature (212°F). If using hot water from dispensers, try microwaving as it is most likely not at the boiling temperature. Weigh out 3g of tea or use a pre-weighed single serving packet from Mansa Tea. Awaken the tea leaves with hot water with a quick 5-second rinse. 

Step 2: Infuse

Steep for just under 3 minutes. Remove the strainer from the teapot and set it aside. The process of separating tea leaves from the brewed water releases a lot of aroma from the tea to the surrounding area. 

Step 3: Re-brew + Enjoy!

Our teas can be rebrewed 3-4 times using this method, increasing each brew by 1 minute. You can leave the tea leaves inside the teapot for the last brew to fully extract out the flavors one last time.

Try our Aged Tea Sampler

Try these brewing techniques on our Taste of First Step aged tea set

Now that you learned the right brewing technique for brewing high-quality tea leaves, it's time to try it out. We highly recommend trying our best seller, the Taste of First Step, which contains different types of pu'er teas and other aged teas. 

Don't have all the items you need?

We understand that not everyone starts out with a full set of teaware. Find teaware to add to your existing collection or read our article on how to brew loose leaf tea without all the teaware.