It is a traditional Chinese tea brewing vessel, that consists of a bowl, a lid, and a saucer.
Translating as ‘lidded bowl’, gaiwan was invented in the 13th Century, known as the first teapot.
They are made from a variety of materials, e.g. porcelain, glass and Yixing clay. Amongst tea enthusiasts and sommeliers, it is the preferred vessel for brewing loose leave teas and appreciating the fragrant aromas.
Other traditional teaware like Yixing clay teapots are unglazed so they take on tea flavours that are brewed in it i.e. seasoning the pot slowly over time. Therefore, we recommend that clay teapots are dedicated for one tea type, so that seasoning enhances flavours, rather than muddling it.
Porcelain gaiwan also absorbs the heat and does not over-brew the tea and making it astringent or bitter.
The wide opening at the top of the gaiwan allows you to watch the tea leaves open and unfurl as they brew. This is a good way to gauge the strength of the brew, especially when tasting new teas. This allows you to adjust steeping times and get the best flavour out of your tea.
Think about how you can observe tea leaves when brewing tea in the narrow, dark opening of most teapots?
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