What is a gaiwan teapot? Why do you need one? Does it help to prepare almost all types of tea? So, you have heard about the gaiwan teapot. You want to try this since it prepares different types of tea without compromising the original flavor. But, you want to gather more information before giving it a try. We understand your concerns and will answer all your queries. Go through the following to know both positive and negative aspects. Also, you will know about the new version, easy gaiwan.
Gaiwan is a popular steeping tool. It enables users to steep their favorite tea within a couple of seconds even without using a tea table. You just need a pitcher and a cup to enjoy your tea. In fact, you can simply drink from the gaiwan. As this teapot is normally made of porcelain, the flavor will remain intact. You do not need to dedicate one teapot for a specific type of tea. Instead, you can use this teapot to prepare all types including yellow, white, and green tea.
Gaiwan teapot can be the best option for an efficient steeper. However, if you are inexperienced and you do not know how to use this teapot, you can easily burn your hands. Therefore, it is important to take utmost care while using a gaiwan teapot, especially when you are using it for the first time. With practice, you can master this art and can prepare your tea without any fear.
What Is a Gaiwan Teapot and What Is It Used For?
Gaiwan teapot is a Chinese lidded bowl that comes without a handle and used for infusing tea leaves. This teapot was invented during the Ming Dynasty. Gaiwans look like a small vessel used to brew tea. It is also known as the covered cup. It has been used in China since the Ming Dynasty. This teapot comes with three small parts. These are a bowl, a saucer, and a lid. All these three parts are small enough to be carried in one hand.
A gaiwan teapot is designed to re-infuse leaves multiple times. As stated earlier, you can use it for different tea types. It offers great control in steep.
Among all the available Chinese teapots, gaiwans get more appreciation due to their color detailing, rustic unglazed textures, and rich colors. All these features make gaiwan teapots irresistible for many. Here are some benefits of gaiwans that might inspire any to use this teapot to prepare different types of tea.
Benefits of Gaiwan Teapots
Versatility is one of the key benefits of gaiwan teapots. The porcelain material makes the surface glass-like. Also, it does not absorb the flavor of the tea while brewing. If you love to experiment with different types of flavors, then it can be your best companion. You can enjoy your green tea today and white tea tomorrow. The advantage of this teaware is that it enables users to taste a variety of flavors and types without investing in extensive teaware collection. One teapot will serve your purpose.
2. Clear Visibility
These teapots come with a wide opening on its top. That means you can observe your tea while brewing. It can be very helpful for all those who are preparing for the first time. They can observe the tea during preparation. It will also help them to adjust the steeping time. They can get the best flavor from their tea by observing over the wide and dark opening. Some teapots glaze white inside. That means you can see the color of your tea, in addition to the leaves.
3. Enhanced Control
Experts like Gaiwans since this teapot is known for offering tons of control. You will get increased visibility. Also, you can cover the lid to retain the heat or use the wide opening to dissipate heat. You can pour the tea within five seconds, unlike other teapots that take much more time to pour due to their narrow opening.
4. Elegant Design
In addition to the above, you will love the stylish design of the gaiwan teapots. These are available in many different forms with an elegant and simple design. There are a bowl to hold the leaves, a cover, and tea saucer. The practical and easy-to-use design enables users to get a drip-free and smooth pour. Though these pots do not feature a spout or handle, still, these are super balanced. But yes, you will need a little practice to ensure an easy and natural pour.
5. Easy Usage
Gaiwans come with a simple but impressive design to offer easy usage. The wide opening of this teapot makes it easy to load large leaves and clear them out easily after brewing. You can also use a strainer to stain small leaves. In fact, some gaiwan come with a small strainer. So, make a smart decision and shop around to buy the one that is well-equipped.
History & Origin
Before the Ming Dynasty, tea was normally consumed in the preparing pot. They were preparing and consuming the tea from the same pot. As stated by Lu Yu, a popular tea master, this special teapot believed to be big enough to accommodate the leaves and brewing. At the same time, the design was compact to be held in hand to consume comfortably. The term of this tea equipment was chawan that means tea bowl. In was only during the Ming Dynasty, gaiwan took a form and soon after, it became a popular choice due to its versatility and easy usage.
In the original design, the teapot had three parts mostly similar to the recent version. It had a bowl, a lid, and a saucer. When it comes to the material, they were using different types of materials. Two most popular types of material were glass and porcelain. Gaiwans are also made from jade and Yixing. These were very small with a volume of 100-150ml. These small gaiwans were very popular among tea paraphernalia collectors.
In a recent excavation of Ming princely burial, a gaiwan set was found. The set had a gold cover and silver stand and was decorated nicely with dragons. This discovery made us believe that such sets existed during that period. However, now you will not find gaiwans in many different materials. Now, mostly porcelain is used to create gaiwans.
How to Brew Tea with a Gaiwan
The process is easy and fast. Even if you are doing it for the first time, you can do it easily without any help. All you need to prepare your favorite tea are a gaiwan, leaves, hot water, and a cup.
1. Put the Leaves
You will have to decide the amount depending on the type of tea and your taste preference. It is suggested to use more than the amount you use in other teapot and then steep it for less time. The experiment will help you to get a better outcome.
2. Steep Tea Leaves
Now add hot water in the bowl. The temperature will vary a little depending on the type of tea. Use your gaiwan lid to stir the tea leaves. Observe the brewing and color. You might enjoy it if you are brewing your tea for the very first time.
3. Cover with Lid
Wait for around ten seconds and when the steeping is completely done, cover the bowl with its lid. It will take about ten seconds for steeping. You can tilt the lid to make it slightly askew. A slight opening is required for water flow. But make sure that it is not big enough to allow the leaves to escape from the bowl.
4. Hold Your Gaiwan
There are many different ways to hold a gaiwan. You need to choose an easy and comfortable method. You can use your middle finger and thumb to hold the rim of the gaiwan. Make sure that you are holding the very top. After holding with your middle and thumb fingers, you should use your index finger to hold the lid firmly. It is always suggested to use both hands to lift the teapot using a saucer.
5. Pour into the Cup
Hold the teapot firmly and tilt it towards the drinking vessel. Hold it tightly to pour tea smoothly. You might need a little practice to ensure easy usage. You will have to give a few firm flicks to your gaiwan to ensure that all the liquid is out. If tea is left in your teapot, then it will continue to steep causing a bitter taste. Make sure that you have poured all the liquid.
Your tea is ready and it has all its natural flavors. Sip your tea. Yes, when you want, you can add more hot water in your teapot to re-steep your leaves. This is the key benefit of this teaware.
While brewing, make sure that you are using correct water temperature. The heating requirement will vary depending on the tea type. Green and white tea will demand less heat. You can leave a small opening in the lid to release steam. If you want to drink directly from the gaiwan, then hold your teapot by the saucer and use the lid to hold the leaves when your sip.
If you want multiple steeps, then gives an additional ten to thirty seconds for each steep. Yes, the taste might vary slightly.
Different type of Gaiwan (Gaiwan vs Easy Gaiwan)
There are two different types of gaiwans: gaiwans and easy gaiwans. Easy gaiwans are the developed versions of the gaiwans. These are introduced with some advanced features to offer even more easy options to users.
Regular gaiwans feature a simple design. They come with a straightforward bowl, saucer, and lid. Gaiwans look simple, impressive, and elegant. However, these are a bit scary for new users. They do not have a handle, unlike other teapots. That makes it difficult to hold this pot and pour liquid from it. If you are brewing your tea in a gaiwan for the first time, then there is a possibility that you will hurt yourself. You will not face this problem while using easy gaiwans.
Easy gaiwans come with a complex design to offer easy usage. An easy gaiwan features a taped spout, wings or handles, optional filter insert or filter holes, and a lid that doubles as your teacup. You can use the handles to pour the tea. You will not get this feature in gaiwans. It needs extra care to pour liquid in a teacup.
Also, it is equipped with a spout that will make the pour narrower and that will ensure easy pouring without hurting your fingers. You will have better controls. The handles are also not hot to touch and you can easily hold it to pour the tea from easy gaiwans to your pot.
Easy gaiwans are considered best for solo drinking. You will get a matching cup and you can easily pour your tea into the cup without using a tea filter. Another benefit of the easy gaiwans is that these are travel-friendly. You do not need other equipment to prepare your tea during traveling. As an easy gaiwan comes with a lid that doubles as a cup, you do not need a separate vessel to drink your tea as well. Also, they come with filter holes preventing the need for a tea strainer. All you need is hot water, easy gaiwan, and tea leaves to brew and drink your tea.
Easy gaiwans is appreciated due to its number of benefits. However, it has some downsides. You might find the pour time slower. Gaiwans takes only five seconds to pour the tea to a cup. All the credit goes to the wide opening. Even if easy gaiwans are well-equipped with handles, you can still burn your fingers. Some handles get hot easily that can burn your finger. You can avoid this possibility with proper research on material.
Gaiwans can prepare different types of tea and you can use it for re-steeping as well. But make sure that you know how to hold it. You will have to take extra caution to avoid burning your finger regardless of the type of gaiwan you are buying. Make it safe by using both hands while pouring tea.