Last time I was here I had tea in the gaiwan style. This time we shared tea in the gongfu style. Gongfu is a Chinese tea ceremony. It is used with oolong and pu-erh teas. I will describe the ceremony as I experienced it (there are variations).
We were drinking Mensong tea, a pu-erh from an old growth tea forest.
First brewing poured into the aroma cups
Cups are inverted and participants appreciate the aroma from the tall, cylindrical cups
Again, this brew was poured off (and over the teapot).
Now we are ready to taste the tea! The next brew (and several more) are poured into the small tasting cups and enjoyed. According to tradition, this should be consumed in three sips.
It's a special moment focused on the conscious appreciation of tea. Unfortunately, my description leaves out a lot of nuance and detail. If you ever have the chance to attend a gongfu tea ceremony, please do!
(Apologies to my Oregon friends! I didn't have time for a visit this trip.)