Oct 29th 18 4:33 am
Posts: 13
Joined: Jan 9th 18 9:33 pm

What I want in a gaiwan/brewer

by chapka » Oct 29th 18 4:33 am

I get the appeal of a traditional gaiwan. But after going through many modern and traditional brewing options, it seems like the everyday brewer I really want just doesn't exist.

What I really want in a tea brewer is something with:

1. A capacity of about 100-150 ml. Maybe smaller, definitely no larger.

2. An infusion insert (a) that fills all, or most, of the brewer, (b) that I can remove without burning my fingers, and (c) can be placed in the brewer's lid or similarly put out of the way until the next infusion.

3. A handle that lets me easily pour tea into a cup without burning my fingers or dropping the brewer.

4. A spout for pouring into a cup.

5. The brewer and, ideally, the insert should both be made out of borosilicate glass (Pyrex) or another clear, sturdy material, not extra-thin glass that is going to shatter the third or fourth time I wash it.

6. Dishwasher safe.

Is my perfect brewer out there? What would you add to the list?

User avatar
Nov 3rd 18 7:57 pm
Posts: 38
Joined: Jan 14th 17 8:22 am
Location: China

Re: What I want in a gaiwan/brewer

by Teasenz » Nov 3rd 18 7:57 pm

I don't see the challenge here..there are many glass teapots with an infuser part that is removable, some do have a spout for easy pouring. Which point is the most challenging according to you?

Nov 11th 18 4:56 pm
Posts: 13
Joined: Jan 9th 18 9:33 pm

Re: What I want in a gaiwan/brewer

by chapka » Nov 11th 18 4:56 pm

There are lots of pots that meet most of my wants, but none that meet all of them.

Most of the Western-style glass teapots with infusers are much too large for gongfu brewing--1,000 ml instead of 100 ml. Usually for Western-style pots, too, the infuser is just a little cylinder, it doesn't fill up the pot to allow room for the leaves to expand.

On the other hand, in the glass easy gaiwans I've seen/tried, the infuser isn't removable when the gaiwan is full--you have to pour out into a pitcher or a large cup instead. It's also hard to find a gaiwan made out of sturdy glass--they're usually very thin and fragile glass. I've already broken the infuser basket in one glass easy gaiwan trying to hand-clean it. And they usually don't have a pouring spout.

The closest thing I've found to what I'm looking for is this one:

https://amzn.to/2DfDtuc

I had high hopes, but it turns out the tiny pouring spout is completely useless, making it almost impossible to pour from without getting hot tea everywhere.

Right now my go-to brewer is this one, which I got from Verdant:

https://verdanttea.com/teas/xiangfu-lot ... e-steeper/

The only problems with this one are that: (1) the infuser is opaque ceramic and the bamboo wrap covers most of the brewer, making it hard to judge the color of the tea and the state of the leaves, (2) it's fiddly to hand-wash, and (3) this model seems to be permanently out of stock at Verdant and impossible to find elsewhere, even on Alibaba and other Chinese commerce sites.

Nov 17th 18 5:46 am
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 17th 18 10:11 pm
Location: Taiwan

Re: What I want in a gaiwan/brewer

by himitsu~ » Nov 17th 18 5:46 am

10 or so years ago, i started with devices like adagio's ingenuitea (i hate tea puns), finum brewing baskets, etc.

eventually, i realized that these things aren't necessary. if you want simplicity, you can just brew with a couple of coffee cups for example. use one as the teapot, and, using a spoon to hold the leaves back, decant the brew into the second cup and drink. it works great.

i think most teapots (and especially gaiwans) are much easier to clean out than filter baskets/infusers. i find infusers annoying to clean because the water flows right through the surfaces that leaves are stuck on. with a gaiwan (or teapot), you can just rinse it out. can't do that with a filter basket because it doesn't hold water.

there's also the aesthetic of using a quality, hand made objet d'art. some of them are super functional as well with great pours and dribble-free spouts.

Dec 4th 18 5:20 pm
Posts: 13
Joined: Jan 9th 18 9:33 pm

Re: What I want in a gaiwan/brewer

by chapka » Dec 4th 18 5:20 pm

himitsu~ wrote:i think most teapots (and especially gaiwans) are much easier to clean out than filter baskets/infusers. i find infusers annoying to clean because the water flows right through the surfaces that leaves are stuck on. with a gaiwan (or teapot), you can just rinse it out. can't do that with a filter basket because it doesn't hold water.
You're right that infusers can be a pain to clean. But they also have one big benefit, for me, which is that they let the leaves drain off a bit between infusions.

I usually fill up my brewer with tea first thing in the morning and drink 3-5 or more infusions during the day, depending on the tea. But I don't always drink them in one session; with one thing or another, sometimes the tea tray sits around for a while until I can get time for another pour.

With an infuser, the basket either lifts out and drains any extra water into the lid, or it drains right into the brewer. With a gaiwan, there's always a bit of extra water that I couldn't quite get out sitting in the leaves, and unless I rinse the leaves between each infusion (losing flavor every time) I'm brewing on top of a pool of very dark liquid. This seems to be more of a problem with pu than with other kinds of teas; the processing seems to leave it prone to sogginess.