How did western style brewing get its start.
Was wondering if anyone had any facts/sources on how the west got it starts brewing small amounts of tea in larger amounts of water for longer than say Gong Fu. I seem to remember that it had something to do with how hard it was to get tea when the west first discovered it. That or the opium wars. I’ve been searching high and low and can’t confirm one or the other. Can anyone support either of these or know of a resource that can shed some light on the topic for me?
I mean the Chinese tend to “grandpa style” a lot of teas where they just throw leaves in the cup and add hot water and drink it without removing the leaves over time. I do this with cheaper teas in a larger pot if I’m planning on just relaxing for a while. You fill it up when it gets nearly empty. I’m not sure if I’m not allowed to link it so sorry if this is against the rules but Marshaln wrote a good article about it. It probably was adapted from this method one way or the other. Also I’m sure people brewed like this years before the “Western Style” term was coined.
He says it’s one of the most common ways they brew tea.
I have no academic knowledge on that topic but I guess Western style developed due to convenience. Just like tea drinking habit in general. For Asians it was a sacred ritual, for Westerners drink of aristocracy later drink of the working class.
The ‘gongfu’ style of brewing tea is actually very modern, and derives from a practice only really done in a very particular region of China (Chaoshan).
Jack linked marshaln; I believe they also have a post on the origins of gongfu (it was first ‘marketed’ China-wide in the 80s by Business folk, if I recall from conversations with other tea people; I’m badly paraphrasing from fragmented memories).
So ‘western’ style brewing was based on the much more prominent style of daily-drinking, ‘grandpa’, and this is pretty easy to see in especially classical ‘British’, Russian and Turkish tea-prep which involves leaving the tea in the pot so it oversteeps and then adjusting the taste with other additives.
Gongfu tea, if anything, is only analogous to western style of competition tea-brewing, which involves a large amount of tea in a small cup, short steep, and poured into a second cup for assessment, not unlike using a gaiwan:
I’m pretty sure it didn’t have anything to do with the Opium Wars, although I could be wrong because the Guangdong region (city of Canton/Guangzhou specifically) WAS the only port the British were allowed to conduct tea through before the wars, so definitely in the right area.
Found the article: