Drink Magazine

Gongfu Brewing in the Office

By Dchew78 @peonyts

Regular readers of this site might realize that there are a few themes that pop out frequently in our writings among which include:

i)   Our love for oolong tea

ii)   Oolong tea is best brewed gongfu style

iii)   The pleasures and practicality of having good tea in the office

At first glance, ii) & iii) seems to be diametrically opposed goals- unless you are the CEO, it would be quite impossible for you to bring your tea tray and the entire ensemble to gongfu brew in the office.

Innovative Brewing Vessels

Thanks to innovation from China and Taiwan, not only is it possible to gongfu brew in the office, it is simple and simplistic as well.

Since most of these are product specific, for simplicity we will refer to them as innovative brewing vessels- it can be a Piao-I Pot, an Easy Pot or a Kamjove Pot, the principle is the same.

What these vessels have in common is that they are basically a brewing vessel and a fairness cup in one complete package.

Tea- apart from glass brewing- is best decanted after a set infusion time so unless you are using the Chaozhou style of brewing, you would generally need a fairness cup to pour your liquid into.

For these innovative brewing vessels, the fairness cup and brewing vessel is combined in one vessel. Either by lifting up the brewing compartment or by pressing a button, the liquid is decanted and flows to the receptacle below.

Simple as that. You can pour into a serving cup thereafter.

Simply put, these vessels are a godsend for the oolong lover in the office.


Gongfu Brewing in the Office
The allure of these pots is primarily convenience. As already mentioned, instead of a whole list of utensils and accoutrements, essentially you just need the vessel and drinking cups in addition to hot water and tea leaves of course.

No need for a tea tray- you can deposit the initial ‘rinse’ in the pantry sink- no tea tongs or tea spoons. No need for the aforementioned fairness cup as well.

For a cluttered workspace (as well as to avoid office gossip), space saving is essential.

As for washing up, just dump the leaves and wash. Less parts and apart from the main body, the lid and brewing chambers are made of polycarbonate which is less fragile, a valid concern when you are rushing to clean up in the office, especially at the end of the day.

In addition, as we are often summoned away from our desk, materials made of ceramic tend to stain easily if tea (or coffee) is left in it too often. Not for so glass and polycarbonate.


Let’s face it most of us are at least moderately concerned about our public image. On our workspace our ornaments are often not so much an extension of our personality as a portrayal of our desired image. Having a somewhat archaic looking utensil often goes against the fiber of our carefully cultivated persona.

These brewing vessels are generally designed with contemporary sensibilities in mind- no dragon carvings or ancient rune-like figures. Transparent and black, there’s nothing that would clash with the layout of our workspace.


Gongfu Brewing in the Office
Whether it’s the Piao-I pot or the Easy Pot, simplicity is of paramount consideration. When we are at work, we have much to fuss about- deadlines, targets, KPIs- our tea naturally takes a backseat (much as we loath to admit).

Lift and decant or push a button and decant. It’s as simple as that.

Because polycarbonate is generally the material of choice for the brewing compartments, you don’t have to worry about scalding your hands, even if you’re handling your vessels absent-mindedly.

Though gongfu brewing is about effort, sometimes it’s good to be effortless.

Minimum Compromise

All these makes no difference if the tea brewed tastes horrible but thankfully it doesn’t.

I will be lying if I said there is no drop-off in the quality of tea brewed using these pots as compared with a good gaiwan or a Yixing pot.

That said, the drop-off is lesser compared with most if not all of the alternatives for office brewing, at least for oolong tea specifically.

These vessels have ample space for even large oolong tea leaves to unfurl in all its glory, no worries about curtailing its taste unlike say a tea ball.

Unlike a mug and such, these are of a reasonably small size- generally 150cc to 250cc- perfect for oolong tea.

Plus the mechanism makes it easier to decant the tea completely, not leaving behind residual water that would render the next infusion too bitter and astringent.

All said, you can get a very decent brew from these pots- not perfect but in the office environment you wouldn’t bring your finest indulgence teas anyway.

For everyday oolong consumption in the office, it’s hard to beat these pots.

See the Easy Pot Set or Easy Pot Bundle Set available in stores now

See more articles related to brewing tea

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