A Gaiwan is a very traditional Chinese teaware used for steeping Chinese tea. The ‘San Cai’ Gaiwan consists of three parts: a bowl, a lid, and a saucer, while the ‘Er Cai’ features two components, which are the bowl and the lid. The bowl, typically crafted from porcelain or ceramic, can vary in size and shape according to the user’s preference. The lid, also made of porcelain or ceramic, rests atop the bowl. This allows the tea to steep while retaining its warmth. The saucer serves to hold the Gaiwan and to catch any spills or drips that might occur during pouring.
Gaiwans hold a significant place in Chinese tea ceremonies, standing as one of the most versatile and practical tea vessels. They are notably inclusive, accommodating a wide variety of teas, including green tea, black tea, oolong tea, and Pu-erh tea. Moreover, they are particularly adept at steeping high-quality, loose-leaf teas.