At a quick glance I thought this was rinsing the tea, but then realized it was the 'tea-things', which I assume means the brewing vessel and cups. The first step in brewing gongfu style is to rise the teapot and cups in hot water to warm and clean them. I assume this is what was mentioned, but the other packages of tea from the same brand didn't have this same instruction. I was also surprised by the 2-3 minute steeping. I haven't encountered such a long steep time for an initial gongfu style preparation. The English directions don't specify how much tea to use, or what sort of vessel to steep in. So it's possible it could be for a larger teapot. Nevertheless, the curious directions helped me realize I don't often heat my vessel or cups before brewing. I know this is an important part of the tea-making process, and I'm glad to have the reminder.
I often won't even do an initial 'rinsing' of the leaves when I'm brewing in the gongfu method, mostly because I can't bring myself to waste any of the tea. The initial rinse allows the leaves to breathe and supposedly cleanse them. So perhaps I'm doing it all wrong, but it's just more tea for me to enjoy, so why discard it? If you brew in this method, what do you do? You can admit it if you drink that initial rinse...
In serving tea in the proper British way, the porcelain teapot is also warmed before adding the leaves. Again, it helps the pot retain the heat. When I'm at home using a large teapot, I usually forget to pre-warm the pot, of course. I can't say if the tea tastes better with a warm pot. Do you think it does? Since I'm not a big fan of extremely hot tea, I don't mind if mine cools a little bit faster that it should. In fact, when I prepare black tea with boiling water, I have to wait at least 5-7 minutes before I take a sip. I like my tea just the other side of 'hot'.
Even if I don't follow the rinsing instructions, they are a reminder to pay attention to the tea, and take in the whole process. Thinking about each step certainly helps me stay in the moment, and pay proper respect to the beautiful leaves (even if I skip a step). Also, I like calling the teaware 'tea-things'. For whatever reason, I keep imagining golem clutching a yixing teapot says 'my precioussss tea-thingssss'. Well, that's what they are, after all.