Each teapot pours a little differently, so I practiced pouring with my zhuni Da Bing Ru Yi for several brews today.
The easy way would be to use a chahai, a pitcher, to collect all the tea and then distribute it in the cups. But it wouldn't be very 'gong fu', would it?
It takes much more skill to pour directly in the cups. The goal is to pour the same volume and same concentration into each cup without spilling too much tea around. It is a (difficult) skill to master, but at the same time it simplifies the process by bypassing the cha hai. Done with grace, it looks nicer, saves time and maintains the tea at a higher temperature.
Here is my third (and best) attempt today:
There were a couple of drops here and there, but the result was quite OK, I think. Now it's your turn to try!! But before you do, let me give you several 'tricks' or details:
- Dry the foot of the teapot. If you see it has collected water, place the teapot on an absorbing cloth just before starting to pour,
- stop your movement for a second or two when the teapot is next to the cup and before you pour. If the water is still shaking inside the teapot, it is more likely to come out unevenly and cause a spill,
- fill the cups in this order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
- hold the teapot so that you can open the lid of the teapot with one finger (see how I pour at the last cup). This will help to pour the teapot dry.
- practice often.
Note: Today, I brewed the Shan Lin Shi Dong Pian of late November 2008. It tastes pure, deep, mellow and long. A fantastic tea for a very nice Cha Xi practice.