Currently, there is a trend towards using big cups for drinking tea in contrast to the small ones that we are accustomed to. Is this a sign of Song or Tang dynasty
customs revival? Not just yet because the big cups are still much smaller than the tea bowls used during those dynasties.
Big tea cups usually contain about 7-12 gm. One measure used by Chinese tea expert of a big cup is that when you hold it up, it covers the whole face.
According to tea experts, the tea water should not cover the whole of the tea cup but just a quarter of it. They added that using big tea cups would conform to the
rules of the Chinese tea ceremony too.
Because when you drink from big cups, the water level is not high due to the fact that only a quarter is filled, then the fragrance of the tea would naturally be able to
engulf the nose. This is because since the water level is low, one would naturally lower one's nose deeper into the cup, thus ensuring that he/she is able to smell
the full fragrance of the tea.
Thus, some say that drinking from large cups is indeed another form of enjoyment by itself. The tea drink should be drunk in three sips in order to bring out the fine
taste of the tea.
The Dragon's claw
The correct position to hold the Chinese teacup in the modern-day Chinese
tea ceremony is called the Dragon's claw position. It consists of the first
and 2nd holding the rim of the cup and the third finger holding the foot of
the cup. This position resembles a dragon's claw, thus the name.
position enables the tea drinker to hold the cup without scalding himself
and is a stable position and enables the holder to manipulate the cup well.
Because the tea cup is small, such position enables the holder of the cup to
grip the teacup which can be slippery as many of them use porcelain ones. It
is also an ergonomic position which prevents the fingers from awkward