My first gift was a handy little bamboo scoop with a flat bottom so that it sits nicely on the tea tray. Yunnan red teas (usually called black teas by anyone outside of China) are some of my favorite teas so I was really excited to dig into this one. They recommended bowl brewing since it has large leaves that will settle to the bottom easily. I've heard of brewing tea this way before but had never actually tried it myself.
I was a bit more liberal with the leaves than their recommendation but I like my teas on the strong side. Time slowed down as I sipped and admired the leaves. They were really beautiful as they unfurled. The taste was malty, earthy and sweet with hardly any astringency. It was such a simple and pure way to experience the tea. As much as I love using a gaiwan, I think this might be my new favorite way to make tea. It can't be used for all teas but I think I'll definitely be using this rice bowl a lot more often.
The magazine is packed with some really informative articles. It is full color and very well done. Past issues are available for viewing online on their website at this link: http://www.globalteahut.org/pastissues.html