For this Cha Xi, I have chosen my 'subtropical forest' Wenshan Baozhong from spring 2008. I chose my ivory white porcelain gaiwan to brew it. Its thin walls help to underline the light fragrance. I'm using a tea quilt that my mother gave me. The inside stitching are Japanese patterns that look like waves. The jar and the used water bowl come from Michel. Tea and accessories complement each other harmoniously.
Using a gaiwan makes it easy to see the fresh leaves open up. It's also easy to smell under the lid and smell the wet, hot leaves. We can learn a lot from these smells. What do you learn when the lid smells bad and the leaves smell good (or vice versa)? And is it a problem if spent Oolong leaves smell nice (after you have removed them from the gaiwan and you're about to throw them away)? I now let you post your thoughts and will answer these questions in a day or 2.
UPDATE. Here comes the answer: One interesting observation is that the lid and the leaves smell differently most of the time. (This is especially striking with roasted Oolongs, old puerh. With fresh, little processed leaves, the smells are more similar). The smell of the lid gives us a good snapshot of how the brewed tea smells in the cup. Therefore, a lid that smells good is an indication of a good tea and/or good brewing. If at the same time the wet, hot leaves don't smell that good, it's no problem: the brewing was successful at keeping those bad smells in the leaves.
An unsuccessful brewing would be when the leaves smell good and the lid (= tea in your cup) smells bad! The bad came out of the leaves and the good remained inside. Luckily, this is something that has never happened to Youlong! Congratulations. This was the best answer.
1 day ago