The Gaiwan is a traditional teacup from China, with a lid and saucer. By placing the lid at an angle, the lid functions as a strainer and makes drinking pure leaf teas easy. The saucer helps in lifting the cup, especially when the tea is at a high temperature. Originally the Gaiwans were made of clay. Over time many designs have evolved. These days porcelain, stoneware and glass Gaiwans are used to enjoy pure leaf teas.
If you prefer, you may also use the gaiwan method, the oldest method for brewing tea, instead of the gongfu method of making tea. You may click at the link below to refresh your memory of the latter method.
In this article, I am very proud to share with you of the latter method. This method involves tea cup, cup lid and saucer. Please allow me to give you a short history of this method.
A porcelain cup with a lid that fits inside the lips was created during the Ming dynasty. You may drink from it directly or serve the tea in individual testing cups. Later, a third element was introduced, the saucer, also called in China "Tea boat". This piece was added to insulate the bottom and enable people to hold the cup more safely. By placing the lid at an angle, the lid functions as a strainer to keep the leaves away from the drinking or pouring edge. As such, it makes drinking pure leaf teas easy. This method is suitable for drinking tea alone as well as sharing with a group of people using a pitcher and small cups.
Due to its functionality and practicability, the Gaiwan has long been recognized as one of the most common tool in China to prepare tea. It is the favorite way of preparing and drinking tea in the Sichuan province. Teahouses there mostly serve tea in gaiwan cups. The gaiwan is used more appropriatly especially when brewing tender tea such as green tea, white tea, and tisanes. Otherwise, it would be easily over brewed when clay teapot is being used. Another great advantage of using this cup is that you could drink it directly. Thus, you are just enjoying tea exactly the way they used to during the Ming dynasty. It evolved over time. These days porcelain, stoneware and glass Gaiwans are used to enjoy pure leaf teas.
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