So the other day I was reviewing other's blogs regarding gong fu cha and discovered something regarding the smelling (yang) and drinking (yin) cups I'd not come across before. There is an alternative method (at least one anyway) to simply pouring the tea from the yang cup to the yin. And it actually leads to a more aromatic flavour in the yang cup when done with this alternate method.
The host pours the tea from the tea pitcher into the yang cups as he/she normally would. Then, each person takes his/her yin cup and inverts it overtop of the yang cup so that the pair look like a mushroom. Then, with the tea drinker's hand palm up place the index and middle fingers on either side of the yang cup and the thumb on top of the yin cup holding all securely together. When ready, flip. The yin cup should now be on the bottom with the yang cup upside down sitting inside. Slowly lift the yang cup so that it gradually allows air to enter the cup through the tea and lift the cup to your nose and inhale. You'll find there is much more tea aroma by using this method than simply pouring from one cup to the other. It is particularly good for teas that change significantly from the first pour to the last or even within one pour such as Tie Guan Yin or 40 year old oolong. The aromas linger to be enjoyed just that little bit longer!