My First Gaiwan


Discussion on virtually any teaware related item.

My First Gaiwan

Postby JD » Jul 25th, '13, 19:09

Got a cheap tempered glass gaiwan from Pu-erh Shop today. At first it felt like plastic but plastic doesn't make a clinking or clang noise when you tap the lid to it.

All I can say is..

Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, hot, hot, HOT, HOT, HOLY CRAP HOT!

I'm guessing it's normal to burn the hell out of your fingers when using one? The top of the lid can become exceptionally hot.

Looks great when making tea, though.
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Re: My First Gaiwan

Postby Joel Byron » Jul 25th, '13, 19:40

My first gaiwan was a glass one too. It got so hot I didn't use it very much. Luckily, I dropped it in the sink one day and broke it; which forced me to get a 100ml porcelain gaiwan. Now I use a gaiwan all the time. I would imagine that you might be able to use a glass one for low temp infusions for green teas, but a glass one gets way too hot for oolongs and puerhs.
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Re: My First Gaiwan

Postby kikula » Jul 25th, '13, 20:08

I think it's a bit owie at first even with porcelain. After a while the heat teaches your fingers where to go. At least with porcelain there are right places! :)
Gaiwans also taught me how difficult it is to get tea stains out of clothing.

I sing of lovely little teapots...
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Re: My First Gaiwan

Postby debunix » Jul 25th, '13, 20:11

Finger-scorch happens when:

-gaiwan is overfilled and tea is pooled around the edges of the lid and contacts your fingers
-the rim of the gaiwan bowl doesn't extend far enough outside the diameter of the lid, so the outer edge that you hold onto can't cool enough
-the knob of the gaiwan is too shallow or otherwise holds too much heat
-there is no base plate to grab, and the bottom rim is shallow & gets too hot

I've had to retire a few pretty nice gaiwans because they scorched fingers, but for reasons above, and not because they were glass vs porcelain vs heavier clay or stoneware.

BTW, this hold has saved my fingers when I do a lot of infusions close together and even my old-reliables threaten to scorch me:

Image
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Re: My First Gaiwan

Postby Joel Byron » Jul 25th, '13, 20:37

The main problem with most of the glass gaiwans that I've seen is that the knob on the lid is not really a knob. It's just a raised area of the lid. It does nothing to dissipate heat.

I use sort of the same grip sometimes, Debunix. except my thumb is on top of the lid and fingers are underneath. Usually on later infusions where the gaiwan can get hot just from sitting there with hot water in it for a while.
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Re: My First Gaiwan

Postby JD » Jul 26th, '13, 00:18

Seems I've figured out pretty quickly the right places to put my fingers. The only place that still gets hot is the knob because it's hollow and all the heat/steam goes right to it.

As long as I don't handle the gaiwan right after cleaning/washing with boiled water it's usually not very hot in most places. I use one of the techniques I saw in a gongfu vid on youtube. The chinese woman doing it described the three-fingered technique for holding the gaiwan when pouring but I forget the name. I should look for that vid again.
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Re: My First Gaiwan

Postby debunix » Jul 26th, '13, 00:34

There are many different possible grips--I only show the all-3-pieces-in-one-hand grip because it is especially useful when the gaiwan is getting hot and scorching fingers.
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Re: My First Gaiwan

Postby Tead Off » Jul 26th, '13, 09:29

debunix wrote:There are many different possible grips--I only show the all-3-pieces-in-one-hand grip because it is especially useful when the gaiwan is getting hot and scorching fingers.

This might raise the eyebrows of traditional users of gaiwan. I don't think this is considered 'respectable'. But, I understand where you are coming from. I wonder if anyone has escaped burning their fingers over time with regular use of gaiwan.
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Re: My First Gaiwan

Postby Poseidon » Jul 26th, '13, 09:42

I can say from working at Starbuck for 3 years in my past that you get used to holding very hot cups/pitchers all day. While working there, I lost some sensitivity in my fingers due to constantly "baring" and having to wash pitchers that were at temps around 170-180. Im hoping ill be able to use my new glass gaiwan without any problems. :wink:
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Re: My First Gaiwan

Postby oolong » Jul 26th, '13, 13:33

I have a glass gaiwan too. It really does look very nice because you can see the tea leaves unfold.

I actually have two different ones and one of them has a smaller lid which is actually much better for pouring the tea. Somehow I very rarely burn my fingers... don't know why. I'm using both hands though.
I learned it from this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ETU6jq-i66Y
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Re: My First Gaiwan

Postby JD » Jul 26th, '13, 15:47

debunix wrote:There are many different possible grips--I only show the all-3-pieces-in-one-hand grip because it is especially useful when the gaiwan is getting hot and scorching fingers.


I don't think there's any rule to not doing so, but you're not supposed to pickup the bottom saucer when using a gaiwan. I don't think anyone will tell you not to do that, but in the many videos I've watched on youtube only 1 of them shows a guy (after the chinese shop owner/proprietor made them tea for them) picking the whole gaiwan up and pouring it out and I could tell that the way he was holding it that that guy had never used a gaiwan before.

And the video I mentioned in a previous post. It wasn't a woman, it was a guy. This is the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhglLFM10EE

I don't know how accurate the english translation is.
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Re: My First Gaiwan

Postby debunix » Jul 26th, '13, 16:04

Tead Off wrote:
debunix wrote:There are many different possible grips--I only show the all-3-pieces-in-one-hand grip because it is especially useful when the gaiwan is getting hot and scorching fingers.

This might raise the eyebrows of traditional users of gaiwan. I don't think this is considered 'respectable'.


I care for more about not burning my fingers than I do about 'respectable' or 'traditional'. I like my fingers.
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Re: My First Gaiwan

Postby Tead Off » Jul 26th, '13, 22:23

debunix wrote:
Tead Off wrote:
debunix wrote:There are many different possible grips--I only show the all-3-pieces-in-one-hand grip because it is especially useful when the gaiwan is getting hot and scorching fingers.

This might raise the eyebrows of traditional users of gaiwan. I don't think this is considered 'respectable'.


I care for more about not burning my fingers than I do about 'respectable' or 'traditional'. I like my fingers.

:D Just watch out for the gaiwan police!
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Re: My First Gaiwan

Postby yalokinh » Jul 27th, '13, 00:22

there are a couple of ways to hold gaiwans without burning your fingers. I find it that people have to experiment with how to hold it, and even pouring, the steam can get you so you always have to keep it moving.
gaiwans normally are made very thin so they heat up very quickly.
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Re: My First Gaiwan

Postby oolong » Jul 28th, '13, 04:12

JD wrote:I don't think there's any rule to not doing so, but you're not supposed to pickup the bottom saucer when using a gaiwan. I


Are you sure about this because the guy in this video picks up the bottom saucer and he seems to exactly know what he is doing. He was the owner of his own Chinese tea store in Canada as far as I know.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ETU6jq-i66Y
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