May 23rd 16 12:02 am
Vendor Member
Posts: 1310
Joined: May 27th 12 4:47 pm
Location: Boston, MA

using a gaiwan

by ethan » May 23rd 16 12:02 am

I have a very small porcelain gaiwan (a gift from John B.) that does not have an underlying saucer. I hold it "properly" sometimes, that is, thumb & middlefinger on sides & an index finger on the top. Sometimes I have a thumb on the top & index finger on the bottom.

For 3-piece gaiwan sets, I usually have my thumb on top & index finger on the bottom of the underliner.

I use a 3-piece glass gaiwan whose underliner is as wide as the widest part of the bowl. It is about 3 inches wide & 2 inches high. I hold the lid w/ an index finger on top & the sides of the underliner w/ a thumb & middlefinger. This is the gaiwan that I use most comfortably. I did not need to master technique for this one. (I have 3 of these for sale & am hoping someone buys one so I can see if others love the size as I do.)

I often use water that is 96C - 100C. Except for the smallest gaiwan that I own, standard way of holding a gaiwan, led to pain. The sides get too hot & then it is easy to spill..........I burned myself several times.

Most days I use at least 2 of my gaiwans & sometimes 4 as well as 2 small teapots. They spend most of the day w/ wet leaves in them that had given all of the good infusions I could get from them. They are in order of use. I can look at the leaves & get my nose real close when I want to remember what I drank & when. Before I go to sleep the leaves are dumped in the toilet (one flush for all to conserve water) & teaware rinsed.

I return the tray of teaware to their table to dry overnight. The next day I often find some dry leaves in the teapots but rarely in the gaiwans which are so easy to use & rinse.

May 23rd 16 1:44 am
Posts: 319
Joined: Jun 30th 14 1:26 am

Re: using a gaiwan

by daidokorocha » May 23rd 16 1:44 am

Ethan, this is why I like brewing with shiboridashi. Easy to clean, easy to use, easy to manipulate the brewing, and, best of all, no burning myself! Many shiboridashi do not have handles, but my favorite one does. It is also made for more precision pouring with less leaf escapage. Thus, it is my ultimate piece of brewing gear. It is a bit on the bigger side, measuring out to be, I believe, potentially near 6 oz but this drastically shrinks depending on the leaf inside and there is no reason to pour so full until the water is spilling out. So, I believe it closer to 5 oz. But I think this is a good size, as you can brew so many styles in it. For instance, your HOR is easily brewed at 5 oz max capacity, but it is just as easy to pack the pot. To me, there is almost no need for another brewing vessel except when brewing something like fukamushi. Of course, aesthetics and wanting to use clay, glass, etc end up with me switching it up. Also if I want to make a pot of a cheaper tea that almost requires bulk brewing like bancha or genmaicha then that requires a switch up too. But 90% of the time I feel my favorite shiboridashi will do the job best.

I try to clean my out earlier rather than later, but I also tend to leave leaves in mine from time to time. Right now, my shiboridashi has some leave sitting in it for the past 2 hours. I will get around to cleaning it out by the end of the night and then letting it dry. Meanwhile, I enjoy a large glass pot of bancha before bed.

User avatar
May 23rd 16 9:59 am
Posts: 541
Joined: Aug 19th 15 11:03 am
Location: on the road

Re: using a gaiwan

by kuánglóng » May 23rd 16 9:59 am

Ethan, I use gaiwans up to 150ml on a daily basis for all sorts of tea, including Himalayan leaves without any probs but from what I've heard I'm not the only one who doesn't like standard glass gaiwans :)
Here are some links to affordable gaiwan-like vessels that could be a bit easier on your fingers:

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Clear-Gl ... .88.cXWHI0
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Double-W ... .52.fyjehG
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Handmade ... 4f504c5f3e
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Ru-Kiln- ... 53297f581e

I've ordered some teaware from aliexpress in the past, mostly for friends. It certainly isn't the most fancy stuff out there but usually pretty affordable and does the job just fine.

May 23rd 16 2:28 pm
Posts: 319
Joined: Jun 30th 14 1:26 am

Re: using a gaiwan

by daidokorocha » May 23rd 16 2:28 pm

Mind you, if you are ordering from dragon tea house you can do it on their ebay as well. The link is below and I believe the epacket delivery is built into the price versus the price on aliexpress, so it is more or less the same.

If I saw these in person without context, I definitely would think "shiboridashi" rather than "gaiwan". I do like the black ceramic one. I wish it was a tad bit smaller though.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Handmade-Black- ... 3f470d8d5a

May 23rd 16 2:36 pm
Vendor Member
Posts: 1310
Joined: May 27th 12 4:47 pm
Location: Boston, MA

Re: using a gaiwan

by ethan » May 23rd 16 2:36 pm

As usual I wrote too much which made my point unclear.

I do like gaiwans including the glass gaiwan; I do not like holding gaiwans in the most traditional manner: thumb on edge of one side, index finger on top of lid, middle finger on edge of the other side. I usually have my thumb on top of the lid & index finger all the way under on the center of the bottom of the underliner of 3-piece gaiwan sets.

I prefer the glass one because the combination of its short height w/ the equal width of its underliner & bowl are perfect for the size of my hand. For an average-sized hand this size & style of gaiwan seems the easiest to use. This one I can hold by the sides of the underliner (thumb & middle finger) w/ index finger on top. The edge of the underliner is the coolest area of the gaiwan.

What I like to share is that we may shy away from some teaware that we may like a lot after we have found ways to use such teaware that suit our individual hands & quirks.

Thanks for the links. Sooner or later some of my teaware will be broken or lost somehow & will buy some. Teaware looks fun &/or functional.

May 23rd 16 8:44 pm
Posts: 157
Joined: Jan 13th 13 4:46 pm

Re: using a gaiwan

by thirst » May 23rd 16 8:44 pm

Yep, two thumbs on the gaiwan knob and two or more fingers on the bottom of the saucer and you’ll never burn your fingers again.

Still the easiest to clean “pot” design, and, holding gaiwans by the saucer, you can use them as cups just as they were originally intended to to be used. Minimalist, timeless.

User avatar
May 27th 16 2:54 am
Vendor Member
Posts: 3139
Joined: Aug 28th 12 12:12 pm
Location: Hong Kong

Re: using a gaiwan

by jayinhk » May 27th 16 2:54 am

Pretty much the only gaiwans I use nowadays are 1. Chaozhou easy gaiwan with a built-in strainer, handle and spout and 2. A thick-walled Ru Kiln celadon easy gaiwan, with a built-in strainer, and a short, flat teacup for a lid.

My Ru Kiln gaiwan comes in a padded case for travel and is what i use on the road. Otherwise I use teapots--I have a lot less incentive to use a gaiwan when I wake up to a shelf full of eager, thirsty Yixings every morning!

I recently used a very thin $5 gaiwan I bought in Hainan with dancong, and burnt my fingers every time. There was no saucer, so I had to use the traditional hold, and the thin porcelain left me with blisters when brewing dancong at full boil. I had to put it down at times because the heat was unbearable. The easy gaiwans are just that--easy.