My first gaiwan


Discussion on virtually any teaware related item.

Postby wyardley » Jul 10th, '09, 21:45

Ditch the saucer when you're making tea. Then you can easily tip it to the side to push off a little extra water. Then use the 3 finger method. With a nice thin gaiwan like that, you shouldn't burn your fingers more than once or twice before you get the hang of it.
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Postby Sam. » Jul 10th, '09, 23:24

But without the saucer, in my experience, the heat is too much on the bottom to touch the porcelain. The saucer makes the bottom cool enough to touch.
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Postby pb2q » Jul 11th, '09, 00:36

wyardley wrote:Ditch the saucer when you're making tea. [...] Then use the 3 finger method


Sam. wrote:But without the saucer, in my experience, the heat is too much on the bottom to touch the porcelain. The saucer makes the bottom cool enough to touch.


By using the 3 fingers you avoid touching the bottom. Thumb and middle finger at opposite sides of the rim, and the index finger managing the lid.
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Postby xuancheng » Jul 11th, '09, 01:39

wyardley wrote: Then you can easily tip it to the side to push off a little extra water.


This is the important thing to remember. You always fill up a gaiwan to get the water seal around the top that everyone is talking about. Then, when you are about to pour, you put your finger on the knob on the top of the lid and tip it over. The lid will keep your tea from pouring out, just the water around the top will pour off.
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Postby Salsero » Jul 11th, '09, 02:47

xuancheng wrote:
wyardley wrote: Then you can easily tip it to the side to push off a little extra water.

This is the important thing to remember. You always fill up a gaiwan to get the water seal around the top that everyone is talking about. Then, when you are about to pour, you put your finger on the knob on the top of the lid and tip it over. The lid will keep your tea from pouring out, just the water around the top will pour off.
Oh, I never knew this trick. Cool. Thanks for the very clear explanation.
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Postby thirtysixbelow » Jul 12th, '09, 12:38

I got a shipment from tea from taiwan this morning. Tried out the four seasons oolong which was an Alishan. I compared it with my adagio sample of alishan. It had some similar characteristics but it was noticeably more complex. I was surprised at how different they were even though they were similar oolongs. The first time I compared some japanese green teas they tasted almost identical to me.

I think I got the gaiwan down (for a beginner) after a handfull of tries. If I swirl the lid around it picks up some water on the lid and I can feel it seal shut. When I go to pour I let that small layer of water I created between the bowl and lid do the filtering for me. The gaiwan has really opened my eyes as to why there are tea masters. It's the simplest of devices... a cup and a lid, yet there is still room for specialized techniques in using it.

Also, it's fun to pour tea all over the place :D
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Postby TIM » Jul 12th, '09, 12:53

Image

Some tricks to share from where to pour water and hitting the gaiwan. And tipping as wyardley mentioned:

Image
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Postby Janine » Jul 12th, '09, 13:12

Cool, ThirtySix - it's great that you are enjoying it and already learning so much about it and understanding very subtle things about tea!

Yesterday I went to a wonderful tea tasting of Red Circle Tea. I discussed this dialogue in this topic about 3-fingered (held at top) vs. whole hand using saucer.

I was told that the three-finger method was developed originally with the idea that it was for women to use: a small hand has great difficulty holding the gaiwan cupped with the saucer included and thumb over top. Also, the arch formed by the three-finger method when you pour (in other words, your hand is arched when you pour) is a very graceful shape (like a crane, I think - the index finger on the knob forms an "eye" & the other two like a beak of a bird) as befits a woman.

Personally (although I'm a woman) I will stick with the pour using the saucer (as do my friends at Red Circle) because it gives better control, but the same principles apply in terms of the water, ways to use the lid, etc. I think even splashing the water gives you a sense and feel of water as you say. You sound like you are really getting the hang of it already, so enjoy!
Last edited by Janine on Jul 12th, '09, 14:17, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Salsero » Jul 12th, '09, 13:59

This thread is really encouraging me to play around and have fun with my gaiwan instead of just doing things the way I always have. Who knows, maybe someday I will get almost as good as Michael at Tea Gallery whose skillful hands are featured in Tim's photo montage above.
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Postby xuancheng » Jul 12th, '09, 22:30

I am currently mastering a new technique for gaiwan.

You put your thumb on the lid and slip your fingers as near the bottom of the bowl as you can. then you tip it over a bit, get your index and middle fingers under the bottom and lift and pour. The saucer should not be used.
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Postby Salsero » Jul 12th, '09, 22:39

Sounds hot ... ouch!
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Postby xuancheng » Jul 12th, '09, 22:45

Salsero wrote:Sounds hot ... ouch!


Sometimes you have to dance your fingers around a bit. But I have come to accept hot water as part of my life now. I only have one rule about my tea things. Others can't use them if they flinch when boiling water is flung on them.
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