I usually brew tea for the guests I meet the first time. It's probably interesting and useful for them to see how I perform my tea. But after a while, I also like to reverse the roles and see my guests brew. That's what I did last week with M.
He has a martial arts background that gives him a strong and peaceful presence. I was very impressed by the calm and concentration he had during the whole brewing, starting from the pre-heating to the drinking.
He brewed both winter 2012 Hung Shui Oolongs from Shan Lin Shi. Thanks to my familiarity with the teas and my prolonged education, I knew how the tea would taste just from looking at his process. It felt like seeing 1 + 1 and concluding 2. Before receiving the first cup, I knew the tea would be too light, and that the leaves hadn't fully opened in the gaiwan.
When I'm brewing by myself, I am too absorbed by my movements and my routine to notice my own mistakes with the same ease. (And I'm still far from perfect!) But being on the outside and watching somebody else brew is much easier.
Therefore, one way you can improve is to record yourself with a video camera to see yourself when brewing tea. And if you have trouble brewing one of my teas, I would gladly review 1 video of you brewing one of my tea, so that I can tell you what you are doing wrong and how you can improve. The easiest way would be to post it on Youtube and send me your link. (I will also continue to make videos to show you my technique. Update: here is my Youtube channel to see them.)
M's second cup was much more concentrated and full of delicious aromas after I told him which points to pay more attention to!
I live in Taiwan since 1996 and have been studying tea with Teaparker. He's a worldwide tea expert and author of over 30 tea books. The study of tea isn't just theoretical, but it's also rooted in daily practice. It's a path of continuous improvement. As my brewing technique improves I get access to better teas and better accessories. These things go hand in hand. My blog documents my learning since 2004. And I have set up an online tea boutique with my selection of top quality teas, accessories and tea culture.