Gaiwan, is a traditional Tea Cup from China that brews Tea in a simple, quick and elegant way. This was invented during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). The Gaiwan is composed by a bowl, a lid and the base. Gaiwans can be made from porcelain, glass, clay or jade.
All Teas can be brewed with a Gaiwan but it’s considered to be better suited to white and green Tea, which brew in lower temperatures and have a more delicate flavour and aroma. It is also good to brew Oolong as it’s easy to brew multiple infusions.
How to use a Gaiwan? Put the leaves directly into the cup and add hot water. You can then drink it directly from the cup without taking the leaves so that it continues to brew or alternatively you can use it as a vessel and use the lid as a strainer to pour the Tea into smaller cups. In China it’s important to rinse the gaiwan and the leaves with hot water first. The first step warms the cup and removes any impurities. The second one opens the leaves and releases its aroma and flavour.
Here is a quick video on how to pour Tea from a Gaiwan:
The Gaiwan can also be associated with the Chinese Gongfu Tea Ceremony which we will explain in detail on the next post. Stay tuned!