“Gaiwan” refers to a popular type of covered teacup, which has been used in China since the Ming Dynasty, during the mid-1300s. Gaiwans are elegant and simple, often made from porcelain, and consist of a saucer, bowl and lid. Since gainwans are covered teacups, they can be used in place of a teapot and are excellent to use when brewing teas with delicate aromas and flavors like white, green or oolong teas.
The process to brew tea with a gaiwan is quite simple with a few easy steps to follow:
- Bring your water to a boil.
- Pour water into the gaiwan teacup.
- Measure your tea. The amount of tea that you will add will depend on the size of your gaiwan teacup and the type of tea that you are brewing.
- Close the gaiwan, place on the saucer and gently shake it; then allow the tea to steep. The amount of time that you allow your tea to brew will depend on the type of tea that you choose and most teas advise will advise you of the correct brewing time. For example, many green teas brew for 2-3 minutes. This is an important step as it allows the tea to release its lovely aroma.
- The next step is to drink your tea! You can either use the gaiwan as your teacup, using the lid to gently push aside floating tea leaves, or use another teacup. To use another teacup, hold the lid with your index finger and carefully pour the tea into your alternative cup. Now, time to enjoy!
As a hint, you may re-steep your tea leaves to continue to enjoy your flavorful, rich tea. During each re-steep you should add slightly more time to the process in order to yield the best flavor and aroma.
Gaiwans are also great for sampling small portions of tea and if you would like to experiment with different flavors! If you are interested in purchasing a gaiwan to try for yourself, EnjoyingTea has a wonderful selection of exquisite gaiwans.