How to use a Gaiwan

Hello hello!

Happy Sunday afternoon to you all! Today I have a blog post that I have been meaning to write for a few weeks now. I decided this would be 1 of 2 of my blog posts of the month. Stay tuned for a later post on all things mate. So today I would like to introduce you guys to a teaware that I became familiar with mid-January. It is called a Gaiwan (Mandarin), though it is also known as a Zhong (Cantonese) .

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So first things first,  What is a Gaiwan?

It is a chinese container in which tea leaves can be infused in a small amount of water in order to concentrate the flavours. A Gaiwan/ Zhong consists of a saucer, bowl and lid. This was introduced in China during the Ming Dynasty and is still used today. This is considered more of a traditional way of drinking tea. The Gaiwan also lets you resuse to leaves multiple times for a different taste every time. Truly, you can steep any tea with the zhong, though it is mostly used for the delicate teas: white and green, though wulong and pu er teas also do well in this.

Once you get the hang of it, it is pretty simple to use a Gaiwan. So I have instructions my from my tea book, but I also found two Youtube videos that helped me out as well. I am a visual person, I learn by doing. So watching the videos helped me out.

Another bit of advice? I reccommend using tap water till you feel comfortable holding the gaiwan with hot water.

  1. So first off, you want to pour hot water into the Gaiwan, without leaves. This prepares for better infusion. And it also purifies the gaiwan. 
  2. Next, you’ll want to put your tea leaves in, about 1 teaspoon should do it, though it varies from tea to tea. It also depends on how strong you want your tea to  be. So go anywhere from 1/2- 2 teaspoons and you should be fine!
  3. Next up, pour the hot water over the leaves. IMG_7892
  4. Infuse the tea. The first infusion should be 15-45 seconds. I know that is short,this is more the tasting round.
  5. Fun part! Now you want to pour the infused tea out of the gaiwan and into a separate cup. This is where I reccomend you to try this step with cool water first so you dont hurt yourself.
  6. Using the lid, take a good whiff of the leaves before you drink the tea. You can catch the soothing aromas of the tea. Not only do you taste with your mouth, but with your nose as well.
  7. Keep repeating the infusing/steeping till you the tea loses its flavour. Be sure to keep lengthening the infusion times each steep.

My thoughts on the gaiwan:

My first experience with a gaiwan was when I was returning with my family from Christmas break. We were having breakfast at this place that served teas with gaiwans. At the time, I didn’t know that I was using a gaiwan, but I found this strange object quite interesting. My second encounter was when I visited Ten Ren’s Tea and I was shown a demonstration of tea using a gaiwan. It was so instructive and informative. Then I proceded to pruchase one. Normally, a gaiwan is made of ceramic, but I decided to get a glass one so I could watch the leaves form.

Personally, I enjoy using my gaiwan from time to time, it is a sort of stress reliever to relax and make tea with.

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Calla

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3 thoughts on “How to use a Gaiwan

  1. I’ve been planning to order a gaiwan whenever I get around to a Teavivre order. I’m stuck between the glass or the bone china sets. Or a chance I’ll just buy both, lol!

    Thanx for the tips – I’ll make sure to try the tap water idea! I was kinda worried I was going to burn myself the first time I use it!

    • Yeah I just reccomend it becuase I was watching the video and trying to do what the guy was doing in it, but I was afraid to burn myself, so i tried pouring some cool-ish water first to get the hang of things, then I did it with hot water.. it’s always good to take the precaution. Honestly, depending on how much you can get them for, get one or both. I like the glass one becuase it is tradition meets modern, plus you get to see the leaves in action… if you know what I mean. If I were to get another one, I would get bone china, there are many pretty designs. I got mine for 16$… can’t complain.

  2. Pingback: Oolong Owl’s First Gaiwan | The Oolong Owl

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