Tea brewing can be as simple or as complex as you like. Answering questions related to the art form are not always easy as there is often more than one answer to a given question.
What is the best way to make tea? A common question we get at our tea shop. Mindfully is perhaps the best response to this. Mindfulness is really the only constant and correct variable in good tea technique.
An Yi Xing tea pot is arguably the best for making tea, though there are limitations to these as well. These pots are porous and will carry the signature of a given tea type if dedicated to its use. When we use a single pot for all sorts of teas, it tends to muddy the experience of flavors. I’ve heard said that a person should have 18 tea pots in order to comfortably accommodate the full range of Chinese teas, but one could get by with 15 in a pinch.
A glass tea pot, ceramic, or a gai wan is a good option as any type of tea can be made in them. The gai wan is my go to any time I want to test out a new tea, or to make a lighter green tea for which I don’t have a committed pot.
At home I often make tea in a mug, straining the leaves with my teeth. This is perfectly satisfactory for casual tea drinking, though it is not how I would make tea for guests. It also lacks some of the ceremonial sex appeal that draws so many of us to the ways of Tea.
Great tea can be made just about anywhere and the gear can be improvised when not traveling with full regalia. The attitude in which one brews tea will dictate the result more than anything. What one likes, what fits the budget, what is comfortable in the hand, this is all that really matters.
The one great thing about Taoism, and in turn the Way of tea, is that there are no rules. There are principles which aid in making a good cup of tea, but it is really open season as far as how one chooses to execute the process.
It has taken me rather a long time, but finally I’ve been able to incorporate a bit of carelessness into my brewing process. The appearance of it anyway. To be natural and artless is something which is aspired to in many classical disciplines of the East. Tea is no exception. It is something which I have had the good fortune to witness first hand, and a standard to which I hold in highest esteem.
It is said that the tea is the best teacher of all, and will guide us in the process of preparation, when we are capable of listening to its low still voice.