Gongfu is a Chinese tea brewing style with which the best quality loose leaf tea properties can be brought out by using much more leaves in proportion to the amount of water. The Gongfu style is suitable for all types of tea, although the difference is especially noticeable in oolong tea and dark tea: they are fairly even when normally brewed, but with Gongfu style they become very nuanced and strong in effect.
Gōngfuchá (功夫茶 / 工夫茶) or Gongfu tea means tea brewed with skill, and
consistent good brewing requires precision, mastery of the instruments, and good understanding of the effects of brewing parameters. And the end result is well worth it!
Gongfu's short story
Gongfu tea was originally a "strange" local brewing method for oolong tea in the East, in Guangdong (there especially in Chaozhou City) and Fujian, both
in southern China. The earliest mention of this style of brewing dates back to the 17th century. In the 1970s, Taiwan developed a reformed style of gongfu which adopted new tools and aesthetic elements. As such, Gongfu began to spread slowly across the Strait to mainland China. In China and Taiwan this new and easier approach of Gongfu eventually became a national cultural symbol similar to that of tea ceremony traditions in Japan. Gongfu is also known as the more formal art form called Chinese tea art (Zhōnghuá cháyì, 中华茶艺 / 中華茶藝).
Since the 21st century, Gongfu has begun to spread internationally as a good way to get more potential out of high quality tea. The older and more modest “Chaozhougongfu” has so far remained the style of that smaller region.