Until recently when I was Gong fu-ing (is there a better term for that? ) I didn’t bother with a wash. I would slosh water round all my pots and cups to warm them up depending on the tea I was using (there is nothing like the aroma of some of the Taiwanese oolongs gently shaken in a warm gaiwan) but washing the tea leaves before you start brewing seemed like a waste of time. My recent tea travels and resulting experiments when I returned have caused me to change my position and I am now doing a wash whenever I Gong Fu.
Gong Fu isn’t just about tea tasting. It is about really experiencing a tea. The wash as i see it serves several purposes, it gives you a rinse to warm up/ wash cups and jugs between teas and more importantly it starts the process of waking the leaves up and getting them going, this is especially important for tightly rolled or balled oolongs which need a few steeps to start releasing all the lovely flavour notes they keep tucked up inside. Why sell a good tea short.