Use A Gaiwan Instead Of A Teapot To Brew Tea

Last Updated on 11/13/2019 by Desmond

Gaiwan is one of the important teaware
Gaiwan is one of the important teaware

Gaiwan is a kind of traditional Chinese teaware, which consists of a lid, a bowl, and a saucer, respectively corresponding to the “sky”, ”earth”, and the “human”, reflecting the traditional Chinese philosophy.

In some ancient Chinese films, it is often seen that the characters use the Gaiwan to have tea. The Gaiwan can be used either as a teaware for individual drinking or as a substitute for a teapot when having tea with friends.

The Advantage Of Gaiwan

What are the advantages of a Gaiwan over a teapot?


Gaiwan is usually made of porcelain, and some are made of glass. The characteristic of this material is within a smooth surface, do not be full of fine pores like the ceramic(Purple clay) one. This feature allows the Gaiwan to better keep the aroma and taste of the tea and is easy to clean without leaving tea stains.

Of course, the lack of fine pores also makes the Gaiwan has a high thermal conductivity. In the process of use, if the method is not appropriate, easy to scald your hands; Moreover, the Gaiwan is not conducive to the heat preservation of tea. High thermal conductivity will make the tea cool down quickly, so it is necessary to have it as soon as possible.

Bigger Opening

Gaiwan got a bigger opening than the teapot, it will be easier no matter on the tea leaves adding and pour, or the cleaning after having tea. The bigger opening also makes it easier when adding tea and water. Especially when adding water, the design of the opening of the Gaiwan can make the tea leaves rotate better and release the tea juice more evenly.

Just like the glass teaware, Gaiwan makes it easier to observe the shape and color of the tea, thus judge the quality of the tea leaves. The bigger openings also allow the aroma to permeate the air to a greater extent when brewing the tea which has a strong aroma.

Great Design

The design of the Gaiwan may seem ordinary, but in fact, it has clever uses. When you use a Gaiwan to have tea alone, you can use the lid as a filter to push aside the tea leaves. The high thermal conductivity of Gaiwan makes the tea cool down quickly, and the tea saucer helps you to hold the Gaiwan easily. Control the closure of the lid so that the tea leaves are filtered out and let the tea slowly flows into the mouth.

When you going to have tea with your friends, you can also use the lid’s filter function to pour the tea directly into the justice cup. But this requires practice or you could risk scalding your hands.

One different from the teapot, after covering, a completely enclosed space forms inside the Gaiwan(the teapot still has an outlet to allow air to flow, can’t be regarded as a completely enclosed space). The completely enclosed space can make tea heating faster and more fully. And the aroma of tea will not be lost unless you take away the lid.

The shape of the Gaiwan is a great design
The shape of the Gaiwan is a great design

How To Use A Gaiwan To Brew Tea


First, add boiling water into the Gaiwan, and then gently shake it for 3 times to let the boiling water wash the inside. While cleaning and disinfecting the Gaiwan, it can also pre-heat it, so that it will not reduce the temperature of the water when brewing tea.

Put The Tea In

Put the appropriate amount of tea into the Gaiwan according to different tea types and personal taste. The volume of the Gaiwan is usually smaller than the teapot, so the tea should not add too much, or the concentration of tea will become very high. The most ideal is, the amount of tea just covers the bottom of the Gaiwan.

Add Water

Many people will add water to the center of the Gaiwan when brewing tea. That cannot be said to be wrong, but there is a better way.

Due to the “Y” shape design of the Gaiwan, we can slowly pour water into it from the edge of the bowl when adding. In this way, the water will form a vortex inside the bowl, causing the tea leaves to rotate and be heated more evenly, releasing the ingredient of the tea.

Pay attention to the amount of water, the water level should be kept below the edge of the lid position.

Slowly add water from the edge of the Gaiwan
Slowly add water from the edge of the Gaiwan


Cover it at once after adding water. Make sure the lid is covered close without any gap, it can help the tea will get the best steeping.

Enjoy Alone

After steeping the tea for a time, you can pick up the Gaiwan by holding the saucer, push the tea leaves floating on the surface of the water with the lid, and then put your mouth against the edge of the Gaiwan, gently tilt it and let the tea slowly flow into your mouth.

When drinking tea, hold the saucer with one hand and press the lid with the other hand to form an angle with the edge of the bowl to filter the tea leaves.

Enjoy Along

Pinch the tip of your thumb and middle finger on the edge of the Gaiwan, and the tip of your index finger on the top of the lid. Sliding the lid with your index finger make a little gap, gently tilt it let the tea pours out slowly from the gap to the justice cup or the teacups.

This action needs practice, as an incorrect method can lead to scalding or breaking the Gaiwan. Note that the place thumb and middle finger pinch is not the body of Gaiwan but the edge, because the temperature is rather lower; The tilt angle is gradually increased when pouring out the tea. If making a big angle at first, the hot tea will surges out instant and burn the fingers.

The proper way to use a Gaiwan
The proper way to use a Gaiwan

Gaiwan Buying Guide

When you going to get a Gaiwan, pay attention to 3 points below.


There is no uniform standard for the size of a Gaiwan. The smaller the Gaiwan, the few tea it brews and increases the brewing times; The bigger the Gaiwan, the harder to hold, increase the risk of breakage.

Opening Diameter

The opening diameter of the Gaiwan also needs to note. Try to use your thumb and middle finger to touch the edge of the Gaiwan and pick it up, look if the size of diameter whether make you hard to pick.

The bigger the opening diameter, the harder to hold; and if the opening diameter is too small, it will affect the Gaiwan’s barycenter, hard to pour the tea out.


The lid of the Gaiwan
The lid of the Gaiwan

Look at the top of the lid, we’ll see that it has a little widget. In addition to making it easy to pick up the lid, this widget is also the place you need to press over with your index finger while pouring the tea. Try pressing it with your index finger and sliding the lid to make sure it slides smoothly.

The observe the degree of closure between the lid and the Gaiwan is also important. If there’s a gap between the lid and the Gaiwan after cover, it means that’s an inferior-quality product.


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