How to use a Gaiwan

Did you know the Gaiwan is the most practical brewing tool for tea? Follow our simple instructions to brew a full-flavored cup of tea with an ancient elegance.

The Gaiwan beholds a simple design that makes brewing good tea not only easy but an elegant presentation. It was invented around the same time as the first teapots during the Ming Dynasty in China and to this date, offers a highly practical brewing tool for tea. As told by our own tea expert, the Gaiwan allows us to drive the experience with more accuracy and control over the trusty teapot. 

Given its exotic reputation as a brewing vessel for complex Chinese teas, the Gaiwan can be intimidating to new brewers. The unfamiliar shape, in fact, makes brewing tea a lot easier in many ways. It consists of three parts: Lid, bowl, and saucer, which usually fits into one hand. The wide opening of the body allows the tea leaves room to open and unfurl while giving us the advantage of observing the color of the liquor. By doing so, it helps us to adjust steeping times according to our personal taste and preference.

The lid is the control feature of the Gaiwan and can sit on top of the body to retain heat for brewing darker type teas or left open to allow heat to dissipate when brewing lighter style teas. Because a Gaiwan infusion usually contains a bigger leaf to water ratio, it is important to have control over the speed of the pour. By cracking the lid with a big opening will allow the tea to decant fast enough to ensure no over-steeping. Being cautious to catch back the leaves from escaping. 

Time to try it for yourself.

Follow these steps:

 

Measure out the recommended serving of tea into the Gaiwan.

 

Pour heated water (at the appropriate temperature) and watch the tea leaves swirl and unfurl. You can use the lid of the Gaiwan to stir the leaves.

 

Observe the tea leaves and the color of the liquor. It is our favorite way to gauge the strength of the brew.

 

When the brew is ready, crack the lid to expose an opening. Hold the Gaiwan by securing the lid and lifting the body.

 

Pour the tea by tilting the wrist and letting the liquor fall into a serving pot or teacup.

 

Follow these steps for a second, third, even fourth infusion!

Its design is simply elegant and the motion of brewing tea with a Gaiwan has been a desirable presentation in tea demonstrations– guests love to watch its fluid dance of gestures. Perceived as an extension of the hand, the Gaiwan can be grasped neatly in one and tilted with the wrist. Simply adjust the lid to the desired opening, secure it with the index finger, grabbing and lifting the body with the thumb and middle finger, pour. Since there are several ways to hold a Gaiwan, experiment and find the method most natural for you. With a little practice, a skillful and natural pour is easy to achieve.

 

P & T sommelier Eduardo at MADE event “now & zen”

Sancai Gaiwan

A tea brewing essential composed of glazed ceramic that can be used to brew all types of tea.

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