A ceremonial drinker is someone who wants to learn the ins and outs of tea. Many ceremonial drinkers are connoisseurs. They believe that treating tea in a respectful manner is the right way to bring out the most of it. They are willing to spend more money, time and effort in order to gain experience and knowledge in addition to enjoying premium tea.
To a ceremonial drinker, quality tea is essential. Also a good set of tea ware is key to this style of drinking. When it comes to the equipment, it’s not necessarily about having the largest collection with the highest price tag. It is about finding the most suitable one(s) to your needs. If you are a Pu-erh lover, a clay teapot is likely a better choice than a glass one. Clay (especially Zi-sha, the highest quality clay) holds the temperature well and retains it for longer periods of time than glass. However, if you are a flower tea enthusiastic, the glass pot will be your option. Flower tea is not as temperature sensitive as Pu-erh. You just need to make sure the flowers and tea leaves have space to open up in the water.
Small details can help you determine the quality of your tea ware. The lid of the teapot should be round and smooth, and a perfect fit to the body of the pot when you close it. Fill in some water in the teapot and pour it out. A good spout allows the liquid to come out as a smooth clean pour. If it makes a mess outside of the teacup, you will want to move on to another pot. The handle of the teapot is the soul of its usability. One should make it easy to lift a full pot up and balanced enough to feel effortless when pouring the liquid out.
There is no rush to brew your tea right away after rinsing your tea ware. Fill in the tea leaves and close the lid. Hold the teapot with both of your hands. Let your thumbs secure the lid and the rest of your fingers the bottom. Give the tea leaves a few good vertical shakes in the pot. The warm environment inside the tea pot, with the impact from the shaking, allows the tea to release more aroma.
Vintage tea is not only for brewing, you can also cook it. Most vintage teas have longer brewing endurance than young freshly made teas. They are also more rare and expensive. Some ceremonial drinkers want to make the most of their vintage tea. After brewing it, they cook it. Once the tea has been brewed enough times, so the taste has become light, switch into a stove safe pot/kettle. Add more hot water. Cook the tea at low heat for 15-20 minutes (adjust time according to personal preference). You will discover new tastes and aromas from your vintage tea.