Making Tea in Zhao'an Style 诏安泡法

1. The characteristics
Use old tea, sort out the tealeaves on a napkin and follow certain rules of washing teacups.
2. Steps for making the tea
Prepare the tea ware: have the napkin folded neatly and placed at the position wher the tea maker used to place the saucers, right in the front of the teapot.
Sort out the tea: as the tea is used, old and has many leafs, it is necessary to sort it before making it. Put the tealeaves on the napkin, fold and shake it gently, the coarse tealeaves and the fine tealeaves will get separated. After that, put the tealeaves on the table for the guests to check them.
Heat the teapot: when heating the teapot, the lid should be heated at the same time by placing it on the opening of the teapot.
Put the tea in the teapot: after pouring away the water which was used to heat the teapot, place the lid on top of the cup. The tea can be put in the pot as soon as the water and steam inside the teapot has vaporized and the teapot is dry. Put the fine tea at the bottom and the coarse tea near the spout to avoid it being blocked.
Fill the teapot with water: fill the teapot with water until the water reaches up to the spout.
Wash the cups: egg-shell shaped cups are used in the making of the tea in Zhao’an style. These cups are very thin and light. Before washing them, the cups should be placed in the center of the saucer, water should be filled up to one-third of its height. When washing the cups, you should pour the water with both hands in the two cups in the front row, and then quickly move to the other two cups which are in the following row. By holding two cups in your hands, keeping your middle fingers in the bottoms and thumbs on top, while balancing with index finger, wash the cups on other cups. Your actions in the washing process should be quick, neat and skillful. One can judge if the tea maker is skilful or not by checking the process of washing the cups.
In Zhao’an style of making tea, the level of how strong the tea turns out to be is calculated from the number of cup washings. In the first round, cups are washed once with both hands; in the second round, the cups are washed with both hands a round; in the third round, the cups are washed with a single hand for all the cups. The teacup for the host should be washed in the end. When the cup is filled with water, one should rub it with the middle finger, then pour away the rest of the water in the cup with your index finger and thumb gently holding the cup.
Fill the cups with tea: when filling the cups with tea, pay special attention to be gentle and slow, without hurry or delay. And pour the water in every cup. The first cup of tea should be kept for yourself, as it most probably contains a lot of leafs. You should stop pouring tea to the cups as soon as the continuous tea flow stops and it starts to dribble. All cups should be filled for three times at maximum, for heavily fried tea will run out of its flavor after three times and therefore should not be used anymore.
Clean the tea ware: Tea ware should be cleaned for later use.

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