This attractive, glazed gaiwan is made of Zisha Clay. The interior is coated in a glossy white glaze and is perfect for appreciating the color of any tea liquor. The outside is a matte finish dark brown and has a slightly-textured finish, almost like an extra fine grit sandpaper. This bit of texture aids grip, making it easy to hold. Because it is glazed, it will not retain the taste or aroma of previously-steeped tea, nor will it affect the flavor of the currently being steeped tea – a quick rinse with hot water is all that is needed when steeping different types of teas in succession.
A traditional gaiwan is a small lidded tea-steeping vessel that sits on a small saucer. A gaiwan is the perfect vessel for steeping all oolongs, Spring Green tea, Pu-erh, & Hei Cha, as tea drinkers do in China, Taiwan, and throughout eastern Asia. These teas require a different ratio of tea to water than what is used in Western-style tea steeping. Asian-style steeping uses more tea leaf and less water for each steeping ‘session’, and re-steeps the same tea leaf multiple times, to reveal varied nuances of flavor. The serving size of tea liquor is small but the flavor will be rich in dimension and full in the mouth because more leaf and less water has been used. And as the same leaf continues to be steeped, it reveals a different facet of flavor with each re-steeping. Long tea-drinking sessions around the tea table with friends means that the gaiwan will be in constant use.
Gaiwans were first used in China sometime in the Ming dynasty. Despite their simplicity and accessible price, a gaiwan is a serious tea steeping vessel for all types of Chinese tea. Gaiwans come in several different sizes and slightly differing shapes. These vessels can be used to steep tea for one or several tea drinkers. In China, gaiwans are sold and used everywhere. In tea houses and tea shops, gaiwans sit side-by-side with more expensive Yixing teapots and can be used with any type of tea.
Learning to use a gaiwan is easy but it can take a little practice. Developing graceful hand movements and pouring techniques takes time, but once you master a gaiwan, it is a great feeling of accomplishment!
Slight variations in the painting, colors, tooling, patterning and kiln effects of Chinese and Japanese tea wares are to be expected. We have carefully photographed this item as best as possible – please be aware that different device screens can render colors and subtle tones slightly differently.
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