I had the laocong rougui I bought recently again, this time using less leaves (about 50% of the pot was filled). Results were quite good, actually. The tea is a little lighter this way, and a little more aromatic, sacrificing a little bit of the “punch”, especially in the “yanyun” (what you might translate as “rock aftertaste”, rock referring to the fact that this is “yancha”, literally rock tea). It sort of depends on what you want from the tea and what you’re looking for. I have friends in Hong Kong who drink this stuff because of the yanyun, and sometimes I’ve seen teas made with about 95% of the gaiwan filled with leaves. It’s not a cup for everybody, but the results can actually be very pleasant. Most people who see me brew a yancha for the first time will often remark how much tea I am putting into the pot…. but later discover, when they drink it, that it’s not bitter nor nasty at all, but in fact, brings out nuances that are otherwise not obvious enough. I think generally speaking, a yancha (not the unroasted stuff you sometimes find these days…) should be brewed with at least a 50% fill in the pot. Anything less…. and you are sacrificing the uniqueness of yancha. Some, of course, will disagree. I am, however, quite happy drinking my yancha this way — in a small pot with lots of leaves.
I think I am starting to sound like those Chaozhou old men.