Grandpa style is a term that I coined a few years ago while talking about drinking tea casually, and it has since caught on, it seems, in the blogosphere for tea. In a nutshell, grandpa style means the brewing of tea in a large cup, with no filters or teaballs or bags or anything else in it, with water constantly refilled without much regard for infusion time or temperature. The only three things necessary for grandpa style brewing are tea leaves, water, and cup, preferably a large one. I named this grandpa style, because this is how my grandfather drinks his tea, and is one of the first memory I have of people drinking tea.
This is really the way that most Chinese drink their tea, most of the time, in most places. Relatively few people actually know how to brew tea gongfu style, much less practice it on a daily basis. Most just throw in some leaves every morning/afternoon/evening, pour hot water into their cup/thermos, and drink. The key to grandpa style is that you use a relatively low amount of tea leaves, pour hot water in, and refill water from time to time. I have given pointers as to skills to successful grandpa brewing. It is by far the most convenient way to drink tea in the office, or on the go. It is also a great way to finish up a tea that you no longer feel is worth your time to gongfu brew any longer.
One of the most important thing to note when drinking tea in general is that there’s really no reason why everything has to be tasted with gongfu style. Some teas are remarkably good with grandpa brewing, such as aged or roasted oolongs, or even cooked puerh of various sorts. It always takes some practice to get it right, but it actually can give you nuances in a tea that you don’t notice if you gongfu brew them. In that sense, it’s not inferior at all as a method of tea drinking – just different.