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

Mansa's brewing technique (recommended)

Mansa's brewing technique adapts the traditional gongfu style for our modern tea drinkers who have more one- to two-person tea sessions than a big group ones, rather that be in the office or at home to wind down one's day. At the same time, we find this the best way to truly understand the intricate flavors of single-origin tea 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

Don't have all the items you need? Read our article on how to brew loose leaf tea without all the teaware.

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, the 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 and 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 and 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

Gongfu Brewing Technique

Gongfu brewing technique uses more tea leaves (7g) but a shorter brew time. 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.

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 and 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.