Gaiwans! Tea Basics [Episode 41]

A special TeaDB episode on Tea Basics! Episode 41 covering all about gaiwans. Denny and James cover how-to-use, different materials as well as some more advanced concepts on gaiwan use.

9 responses to “Gaiwans! Tea Basics [Episode 41]”

  1. Great episode, gents! I look forward to the next one on greens. (What about puers, though?)

    I only use a glass gaiwan, as I love to see the leaves expand and the water change colour. My fingers rarely get burned, though, as I use four fingers under the saucer and my thumb on the top of the lid. Unorthodox, I know, but it works well for me.

    How important is the seal between the lid and the bowl when brewing? Should the lid and bowl fit perfectly, or can I achieve the same result with a water seal around the lid?

    Lastly, what do you think about Teavivre and their teas?


    • Hey Peter,

      Thanks for the feedback, always appreciated. Once we’re through with our series on Yancha, a whole ton of pu’erh related content will be coming!! This means both article and video form. Two Dog of White 2 Tea recently contacted me and there should be some exciting pu’erh-related content coming in the spring time (late April-May).

      I suppose a perfect lid and bowl fit would be ideal, but for me I’ve thus far preferred cheap/generally function but not perfect gaiwans over more expensive, but perhaps better gaiwans.

      Teavivre is decent quality tea (sometimes suprisingly so!). They seem to do a great deal of volume, which allows them to offer good rates (better wholesale deals) and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by most of their tea. I purchase Oriental Beauty from them because they offer a very low price for it and it’s a tea that I’m not as interested in buying super-premium stuff.


  2. I just started getting in to using a gaiwan and I have to say that your videos have helped me so much! I’ve been using an yixing for about 2 months for my Big Red Robe Oolong, and I wanted to try some new teas. My problem there is that I only had one my yixing that I had committed to oolong. I was having tea with a friend and he brought his gaiwan and the experience was wonderful. I recently discovered your channel on YouTube through that friend who watches your videos. Since then, I’ve watched probably 20 videos in the last 24 hours. All of your videos are so informative and helpful, even if you’re simply reviewing a new tea. Keep up the videos and keep spreading the message of tea.

    Again, thank you for your videos; they’re wonderful!

    – Charlie

    • Hi Charlie,

      Thanks very much for the comment and kind words! Glad you’re finding our videos to be helpful :).


  3. Hi James and Denny
    Just wanted to capture your thoughts on Gaiwan maintenance as I tend to only rinse and wipe out between brewing sessions. I have had some comment that as most Gaiwans are ceramic,unless they are antique, washing them with detergents isn’t a problem as they don’t obviously absorb solutes in the same ways as clay or other vessels. Interestingly though in many of the sessions I have with northern chinese folk I’ve seen Gaiwans just be drained and air dried upside down between sessions. I ponder whether there is some subtle cultural differences around Gaiwan maintainence or whether its entirely a personal development. I have a few glass teaware vessels and similiarly do the same.

    • Hi Jonny,

      I do something similar and will most typically just rinse them out and air-dry them. I do have a small dish rack for cups and gaiwans that I use.

      To get out the inevitable tea stains, I’ll just use something stronger like vinegar maybe once a year. I’m not exactly known for pristine teaware, but I’m pretty OK with how it works for me.


  4. Hey guys!
    Awesome channel/site! I just recently started being drawn towards drinking/tasting good teas and I have a question:
    When you test/taste teas how big of a gaiwan/tea cups (in ml) should be for 2 persons?

    Thank you!

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