Welcome to a blog series listing the tools I use every time I brew gong fu cha.
Another small but essential tea tool for an awesome gong fu tea session is the tea cloth. There are two types of cloth. Tea mat and tea towel. The mat is generally lined with a backing that is absorbent, such as felt. The tea towel is a simple cloth for wiping up drips and spills.
The mat is used to wipe any liquid from the base of the pot. When brewing gong fu style, tea ware can get pretty wet. Spilled tea will collect in the brew tray. Tapping the base of the pot on the mat before pouring prevents tray tea from ending up in the tea you intend to drink and share. Your tea friends will appreciate the gesture. Some might even ask why you tap the pot on the mat each time before you pour. It is an action that adds some of the ceremony into the practice even though it is simply the practice. The practice of sanitary tea service your tea friends will love!
Mat and towel are my go to cloth combination. There are other cloth options such as tea placemat. The mat I consider part of the essential tea ware selection is 4” square. A placemat style comes in two sizes: 17” by 11.5” and 11.5” by 9.75”, neither of which I consider essential. They do set the scene and provide a nice backdrop for an elegant gong fu cha experience.