I’ve been in Seattle for 3 weeks, time is certainly flying by. I’ve been spending most of my time walking around town carrying groceries and running errands, I get 17k steps a day without even trying. On weekends we’ve been touring houses, put a few bids on things, lost some, but finally won something last week! Hopefully the process goes smoothly and we’ll move in a few weeks. That said, it looks like I’ll be bumming around corporate housing and then Airbnb until we can get in the house. Unfortunately, my stuff will stay in storage until we can move in the house, so I won’t see the rest of my tea and teaware until then.
Right now I’ve been rocking this for my tea making:
and I’m hella sick of this gaiwan. HOW DO YOU ONE GAIWAN PEOPLE FUNCTION?!?!? I hate it! I mean, I love this gaiwan, the size is a cute 75ml and the narrow design pours great. However, I have noticed this gaiwan is starting to have some bad limitations I didn’t think I’d encounter.
It steeps shou pu’er and black (or any teas that need boiling water) badly. Out of habit, I tend to use one of my ruyao tea ware for dark teas so I can work on the staining. Ruyao is also pretty thick, so the heat retention is good. This tiny, thin, and tall gaiwan has so much heat loss that I need to leaf more or I get pretty watery tea on ratios that worked in other gaiwans. This cons is pretty bad as I’m dying for some good shou, but now I’m stuck steeping sheng and green oolong, which this gaiwan does a pretty good job at.
That said, it is very much so min/maxing of your teaware. I know many do theory crafting on yixing tea pots (clay, shape), and I have been tinkering with that. I was told gaiwans have it to some degree, but didn’t notice it until being forced to use the same freaking gaiwan for 3 weeks. I know tea cups play a role too in taste.
The gaiwan is too small for an all day gongfu session. For the longest time, I love small. Smaller the better for gaiwans and yixing for me. It is really hard to find pretty gaiwans smaller than 90ml, so 90-120ml are the most common sizes I have. A 65ml gaiwan is great for tasting sessions when I need to go through all the infusions in say 1-2 hours. However, if I wanted to park my owl butt on the computer, it’s not a good vessel to work all day at a shou pu’er. Sigh.
The pro is I can chug through 3 shengs, 15 infusions deep, in one day. What I would like to do is buy another 3 more of the same gaiwan, then I can side by side 4 teas at once – that would be a lot of fun and a size around 50-65ml would be perfect for that. The last time I side by side shengs, I used a 120ml gaiwan and the tea nearly killed me in tea drunk overload.
Thankfully, I just gotta last up to 5 weeks with this gaiwan. I got travel tea tumblers still and two new kyusus (kyusui?) arrived for me to play with. I do now have an excuse to get another gaiwan to tide me over, but that’s more things I have to haul around temporary housing. First world tea problems, yo.
The take away? Try out various gaiwans – wide vs tall, thin vs thick walled and taste the difference. I’ve been chipping away at a gaiwan guide, but once I get all my teaware back, I can go full experimental mode.