Nov 18th, '10, 18:56
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Gaiwan as teapot vs. gaiwan as teacup & gendered gaiwan use?

by mbanu » Nov 18th, '10, 18:56

I've seen tea served in a gaiwan where a guest drinks directly from it, and I've also seen it treated as a teapot, with the tea poured from it into smaller cups after steeping.

Is this a case where these are regional variations of gaiwan use? (If so, which regions prefer each practice?) Is one the traditional use and the other a more recent innovation?

I've also seen it suggested that men should drink tea out of gaiwans with the lid left on, removing the lidded cup from the saucer to drink, while women should drink tea out of gaiwans with the lid off, lifting the cup and saucer together to drink. Is this an out-dated practice? Any idea how it started?

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Nov 18th, '10, 19:14
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Re: Gaiwan as teapot vs. gaiwan as teacup & gendered gaiwan use?

by rabbit » Nov 18th, '10, 19:14

I might be mistaken, but I was under the impression that older folk tend to drink direct from the gaiwan ("grandpa style", if you will).

I only drink like this if it's a high quality green made with a lower temp water... if the water is too hot I can't drink it before it gets bitter, also I like to have a smaller gaiwan when I drink directly from it (for the same reason).

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Nov 19th, '10, 00:42
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Re: Gaiwan as teapot vs. gaiwan as teacup & gendered gaiwan use?

by gingkoseto » Nov 19th, '10, 00:42

That's a very interesting notion. :D

What you said about the difference between male style and female style of using gaiwan is very accurate, as styles used in the old days, in north China.

Using gaiwan as a "teapot" is commonly seen in gong fu tea of southeastern China. With the great popularity of oolong all over China nowadays, many Chinese use this style now, mostly for oolong and puerh, but sometimes for green too. In the old days, most northerners drank green tea, and drank directly from the gaiwan. The northern style gaiwan is usually larger than southern style gong fu gaiwan and therefore a woman's hands could be too small to hold all three pieces together while drinking, and hence the difference in male and female styles.

Nov 20th, '10, 00:03
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Re: Gaiwan as teapot vs. gaiwan as teacup & gendered gaiwan use?

by mbanu » Nov 20th, '10, 00:03

Wonderful information! Thank you very much.

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Nov 23rd, '10, 00:33
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Re: Gaiwan as teapot vs. gaiwan as teacup & gendered gaiwan use?

by IPT » Nov 23rd, '10, 00:33

I heard from an old Beijing woman that the women lifted the lid to hide their mouth because it was considered undignified for a woman to allow others to see her mouth as she drank.

Traditionally though people did not use the gaiwan as a teapot. That is a newer use. Now, everybody, especially around here in the South of China tend use gaiwans as teapots and sadly don't use teapots too much. In the north, it's different though, a lot of people still drink from the gaiwan.

There's an art to drinking out of a gaiwan and it can be a very beautiful to see. It's too bad it seems to be disappearing.

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Re: Gaiwan as teapot vs. gaiwan as teacup & gendered gaiwan use?

by fracol » Mar 31st, '11, 20:09

I actually perfer to drink out of a gaiwan. That way if i'm doing homework or whatever else, I don't really have to worry about small cups and constantly pouring out the tea into pitchers etc.

Its just kind of nice to be able to pour water in, drink, and pour in more water.

The only thing I struggle with is using water that is too hot. If you use water thats too hot, you can't drink it in time before it becomes bitter. I have found that with some high grade tea's they won't ever get bitter, so that is sometimes the way I go if I can get them at a good price. I usually use oolong, because I can use a lower temp water and they usually don't grow bitter as fast as a light green tea.

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