How to Brew Tea in a Gaiwan | Our 5 Step Guide
A Gaiwan is essentially a three-part lidded vessel. The one which I am using today is a glazed (non-porous) porcelain Gaiwan with tasting cups. This is a brilliant option as you can make all different types of tea in it (the porcelain will not taint the taste of the tea).
We are also going to combine this brewing session with a ‘tea in mind’ tip. Today, it is all about breathing. Oolong teas relate to the metal element in ancient Chinese learning, which in turn, relates to your lung and large intestine. It is very important that we bring awareness to our breath and take full inhales and exhales through a method of ‘box breathing’. This allows us to rebalance and relax as we nourish our body with oxygen.
Our Five Step Guide to Brewing Tea in a Gaiwan
Step 1 : The Water
Today I am brewing ‘milky oolong’. For this tea, we need water at around 95 degrees. Remember to match the temperature of the water to the tea you are brewing with – for instance, 80 degrees, if you are brewing a green tea. It is very important to make sure that you have freshly drawn water and not water which has been previously boiled or sitting in the kettle too long. The reason for this, is that you want the full levels of fresh oxygen in the water – it makes a huge difference to the tea!
Take about 1 teaspoon of your tea and pop the tea leaves directly into the Gaiwan. This Gaiwan holds about 50mls of water so it is perfect for a single person.
Step 2 : ‘Wash the Leaves’
Our next step is to ‘wash the leaves’ as they say. Pour your water into the gaiwan from the sides so that you are not pouring the water directly on to the top of the tea. Fill the Gaiwan to cover the leaves then as soon as you have done this, pour this water away, into the tasting cups (to heat them up) and then immediately discard it. (Or you can drink it if you really want). You have now ‘washed the leaves’, so we are ready to create the first infusion.
Step 3 : The First Infusion & Tea in Mind Exercise
Pour your water into the Gaiwan around the sides, the same as before. Now your first infusion can be left to brew for 30 seconds – 1 minute, which is largely down to personal preference.
Whilst your tea is brewing, why not try a box breathing exercise? This is where you imagine four sides of a box, which allows you to form a visual element to your breathing. Take a deep breath in for 5 seconds and hold this for 5 seconds. Then exhale this breath for 5 seconds and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat this whilst imagining you are navigating around 4 sides of a box. This provides slightly more focus and direction to hold each section of the breathing equally. Take this moment to fully relax.
The beauty of the Gaiwan is the aroma which can be experienced when you lift the lid after the infusion is complete. Definitely do not miss experiencing the scent from your tea – it is a delicious start.
Step 4 : The Serving
With the lid of the Gaiwan tilted and acting as the tea leave filter, you can then either pour your tea directly into your tasting cups or you can pour this into a separate jug vessel. Pouring the full amount of tea from the Gaiwan into a separate vessel has the added benefit of keeping the entire infusion at the same strength.
This is your first infusion ready for you to enjoy!
Step 5 : Reinfuse Oolongs & Relax
Then when you are ready, you can brew another infusion. With oolong, every time you infuse it, you can experience different tastes coming through the tea. I usually infuse mine up to 4 times!
Brewing with a Gaiwan really creates an experience alongside the method of drinking tea. It allows you the time to be fully present in the moment and experience the tea with all of your senses. I hope that you have found this useful and are excited to brew tea in a Gaiwan! If so, please do share your tea moments with us on instagram @eteaket. They make our day.