Recently, I received a great tea steeping vessel: a glass gaiwan! It’s a little steeping bowl with a saucer and lid. They can range in size from 100-230 ml or 150-250cc, and not all of them have saucers. In fact, quite a variety are now on the market. This one, though, was classic in design.
Using it proved to be a bit problematic, but hubby and I just followed a few tricks for this successful tea adventure:
2011 Spring Jinggu Purple Bud Raw Pu-erh from JAS-eTea.com
Not all teas are suitable for steeping in a glass gaiwan. For one thing, they are small, so unless you want a very small amount of tea, you will want to do multiple infusions from the same batch of leaves. That means just about any non-black tea. But not so fast! That little gaiwan will get pretty hot, so you might want to choose a tea that steeps at a lower temperature and for at least a minute. That will give the liquid and gaiwan a chance to cool a bit.
Check out this video of tea drinker Lance Coulter using a gaiwan. Note his pouring method. I tried it but found that gloves worked better.
This can be a nice type of teaware to add to your arsenal since it does not require the special care and seasoning of teapots made of Yixing clay.
© 2012 A.C. Cargill photos and text