An Xi Tea Sampling Method
In this style of making tea, many of the key points, such as water temperature, water source etc. that have been mentioned before in our description of the 'Traditional ChaDao tea ceremony' method are relevant. To avoid repetition we will not mention them here again.
Here we can see the tea set laid out with the cups having been filled. The first stages of preparation are basically identical to those we described on our original 'Traditional tea ceremony' page. Again, we can see that the tea leaves are mixed with the water using the covered 'Gai Wan' bowl in which to infuse the tea. When we decant the "actual" infusion through the filter or strainer, this time we use a bowl which has a considerably wider mouth that the traditional gong dao bei jug.
One very noticeable point here is that the tea is not usually poured directly from the larger bowl but a spoon is used. This is done to ensure that each person receives an equal amount as well as for aesthetic reasons so that skill and elegance of the person, 'Pao Cha Shi', can shine through (Cha Yi Shi - more specific for a person who is an expert of all aspects of tea and its culture).
This method commonly uses smaller cups and a single spoon of tea is given to each person because of its use in commercial tasting's. In a more informal situation the tea is often just poured directly from the bowl to the cup for convenience.
One of the main reasons for this method is that the colour can be appreciated more fully as the liquid is thinly dispersed in the bowl. Again pure white porcelain is used. Particularly when buying higher grade teas this method can be very advantageous as the appearance of the tea is another way for human senses to be stimulated and so is an important factor in helping to evaluate tea. In many ways these pictures do not do the tea real justice. When directly looking at the freshly made tea, though translucent, there is almost an iridescence to it.