Gaiwans are the superheros of teaware, a perfect meeting of form and function. The Ming Dynasty gave us some really amazing inventions like paper, wood block printing and toothbrushes. I still think that this handy little device is one of their best contributions.
1. It’s a teapot and teacup all in one.
Most of us don’t use them this way anymore but in China it is still quite common to drink directly from the gaiwan. I don’t think tea drinking can get any more simple than that.
2. You can use them to make any type of tea.
I love my yixing teapots and various other brewing devices but the wonderful thing about gaiwans is that you can use them to brew absolutely any type of tea. There is even someone I follow on Tumblr who is experimenting with gongfu’ing herbal tisans.
3. They’re easy to clean.
There is nothing worse than tiny bits of leaves getting stuck in strainer mesh. Just a quick rinse of water is all you need to get gaiwans squeaky clean. I don’t even use soap on mine. If they do get stained, all it takes is a bit of elbow grease and a microfibre cloth.
4. They help you appreciate tea more.
Not only do gaiwans concentrate the flavors and aromas of tea, they get you up close and personal with the leaves. It’s a much more personal experience that I find to be more enjoyable than western style brewing.
5. They’ll impress your friends.
This one is a bit silly but gaiwans are simply impressive to watch someone use, especially for non-tea drinking friends. Why pass up the change to look like a magical tea wizard? Gaiwans are a great conversation starter that are guaranteed to get everyone asking questions.