The gaiwan is one of the most adored teapot accessories by infusion lovers because it turns the moment of drinking tea into a true sensory experience.
According to existing historical data, the gaiwan began to be used during the Ming Dynasty, around the year 1368 AD in China. With the expansion of tea consumption, its use began to be adopted, also, in Western countries. Now, what exactly is a gaiwan and what is it for?
What is a gaiwan?
The gaiwan, also called zhong, is a combination of a bowl, plate, and lid designed for tasting tea. Although there are many different types, the most used, at least by beginners, is white porcelain.
The use of a white porcelain gaiwan allows a better appreciation of the leaves, the color of the liquor and the aromas than others made of different materials or colors. For this reason, if you still don’t have one and are thinking about including it in the list of kettle gadgets you want to buy, we advise you to invest in a white porcelain one.
Why buy a gaiwan
The truth is that drinking the tea of your choice in a gaiwan is not the same as drinking it in a conventional cup. The experience itself changes.
Beyond the aesthetic beauty of these bowls, the tea can be shown as it is: especially the case of the use of a white gaiwan, you will be able to appreciate the color of the infusion in all its splendor. In this way, you will have the opportunity to appreciate the character of the tea before you even taste it.
Advantages of a gaiwan
The advantages are several but, of course, you will be the one who gives greater or lesser importance to each one of them.
First of all, it is worth noting that porcelain is a non-porous surface and therefore the best option for preparing teas and various infusions, since it does not absorb flavours. In this way, you will always be able to drink a real tea, without memories of the previously infused ones.
Although the gaiwan is traditionally used for the Chinese tea ceremony, the truth is that this combination can be used to prepare all kinds of teas, although it stands out for its preparation of white, green and oolongs.
Another advantage is the simplicity of its use: you just have to place the leaves in the preheated gaiwan and add water to infuse. However, its preparation in it requires practice, because it has its tricks.
To conclude this section, we have to talk about what, from Infusionism, we consider the main and greatest advantage of the gaiwan: it allows tea leaves to be infused for short periods and successively, thus obtaining a tea with different aromatic and flavor nuances. after each infusion.
How to make tea in a gaiwan
When preparing tea in a gaiwan, you can do it in the two ways that we will see below.
In the event that you are going to drink by yourself, you can choose to prepare the tea directly in the gaiwan. Thus, you will not only make it but also drink it from the bowl. The other option, more used when you have guests, is to also use a cha hai to reserve the infusion and then pour it into the gaiwan, from where the tea will be drunk.
In both cases, the preparation begins with the purification of the gaiwan. This is achieved by heating it with hot water for 10 seconds. This water must be discarded after use.
Then, the tea leaves are added to the bowl following the instructions according to the variety of tea chosen. Keep in mind that the greater the amount of tea added, the shorter the steeping time should be.
Subsequently, the water heated to the temperature recommended for the chosen tea is added. After the appropriate infusion for the class of tea, the differences come.
If you are going to drink directly from the gaiwan, you must take the plate so that you can lift the three pieces together with one hand. With the other hand, you will hold the lid and you can drink the tea.
In the case of serving several guests, you lift the gaiwan and holding the lid, pour into the cha hai to reserve the liquor. From there, you will serve guests in glasses, for example.
Other accessories to use together with the gaiwan
The truth is that there are many accessories that every tea lover can fall in love with. Let’s look at some options to buy together with a gaiwan:
- Cha he to file the sheets
- Cha hai for liquor storage and serving
- gongfu cups for drinking tea
- Chakin (cloth) to clean the area
Go ahead and prepare tea in a gaiwan. You will see how you enjoy the experience by seeing how the leaves open and how the environment begins to aromatize. Without a doubt, it is an interesting addition to any bottle.