I was chatting with BBB today about teaware and things, and one of the points we agreed on was that both of us are moving towards simpler brewing. These days for me it’s a kettle, a pot, a cup, and that’s it. I don’t pour water over the pot. I don’t pour tea over the pot (usually). I don’t do anything fancy. Water in, water out.
If you watch those videos on youtube teaching you how to do gongfu brewing, they are usually full of pomp and circumstance — paraphrenalia galore, plus a lot of extra steps and movements that are, for all intents and purposes, completely unnecessary. In fact, very often they detract from the actual product that you care about — how the tea comes out and tastes. Oftentimes I’ve seen people getting too preoccupied with a certain step or two that other, important aspects of tea brewing gets ignored. They might take too long to pour, wait too long so the water is cold, brew too long because they have to clean something or move something, the list is endless. This is what we call literally “inverting the base and end” in Chinese (本末倒置), meaning that the emphasis is entirely on the wrong thing.
Brewing tea is really only about three variables, once you’re done with figuring out the inputs (tea + water). It’s temperature, time, and volume. How hot, how long, and how much water/tea. The rest is just motion. For me, temperature is almost not a concern, as I almost always use water that’s just off boil, no matter what it is. As long as you adjust the other two, anything, including greens, can come out just fine.