Congou (Chinese: 工夫红茶; pinyin: gōngfu hóngchá) is a description of a black Chinese tea variety used by 19th-century tea importers in America and Europe. It was the base of the 19th-century English Breakfast tea blend.
Generally, 4 grams (0.14 oz) of tea per 200 ml (7.0 imp fl oz; 6.8 US fl oz) of water. Unlike green teas, which turn bitter when brewed at higher temperatures, black tea should be steeped in water brought up to 90–95 °C. The first brew should be 60 sec., the second brew 40 sec., and the third brew 60 sec. If the tea is of high quality, it may be brewed several times by progressively adding 10 sec. to the brew time following the third infusion (note: when using a larger tea pot the ratio of tea to water will need to be adjusted to achieve similar results).
- Standard black tea brewing
- Brew temperature 90–95 °C
- Standard[clarification needed] 200 ml water
- 4 g of tea
- Brew times[clarification needed]: 60-40-60-70-80-(+10) seconds
A cold vessel lowers the steep temperature; to avoid this, always rinse the vessel with ≥90 °C (≥194 °F) water before brewing.
The more delicate black teas, such as Darjeeling, should be steeped for 3 to 4 minutes. The same holds for broken leaf teas, which have more surface area and need less brewing time than whole leaves. Whole-leaf black teas, and black teas to be served with milk or lemon, should be steeped 4 to 5 minutes. Longer steeping times makes the tea bitter (at this point, it is referred to as being "stewed" in the UK). When the tea has brewed long enough to suit the drinker's taste, it should be strained before serving.