Floating Leaves Tea Home ---Shiuwen's Blog!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Brewing Tea in a Gaiwan VS Yixing Pot

A customer came in and asked me if I had any Lishan Tea this season. I told him yes, and he said he would like to try some. I took out a gaiwan and started to make tea. I usually brew my oolongs in a porcelain gaiwan. He asked me why I didn't brew tea in a yixing pot (he saw there were at least five of them on the tea table).

I told him I love yixing pots, but when I let people taste a tea for the first time, I prefer to use a gaiwan. I believe a gaiwan will give a tea a more "orginal" taste than a yixing pot. After he sampled the Lishan, he was quite satisfied with the quality.

After I receive a new season's Oolong, I am normally busy comparing them and then offering tea tastings to customers. After I have finished my initial round of tasting and sampling, I can spend time to try out some teas in various yixing pots.

I was about to test out Lishan tea in a gaiwan and a yixing pot today when my tea friend, Doug, came to help me take some tea photos. I invited him to taste the teas with me.
After I rinsed the tea, we both agreed that the smells from the lids were different. The one from the yixing lid was more creamy, and the one from the gaiwan lid was bolder. We did three rounds of tastings to compare the difference. The Lishan brewed in the yixing pot was full bodied and well balanced, but I thought it lost a lot of high notes. The Lishan brewed in the gaiwan had more flavors and was smoother. I liked the tea that was brewed using both methods, and had a hard time deciding which one I preferred. Doug liked it from both methods, too, and he preferred it from the gaiwan.

Everyone should be free to experiment with their teas and their brewing methods until they find something they like. When you do, please let me know!


Will said...

Well regardless of your brewing preferences at home, I think it's pretty standard (and expected) to use porcelain to brew for a customer who is trying tea in your shop. I would just explain to a customer like this that porcelain will color the tea the least.

Eric G. said...

Like you, Shiuwen, I always try my tea out with a gaiwan first, especially to see how many infusions I can get out of it. Then I try it in several pots. Over time I've found that my light roasted oolongs work best in my Mumyoi Yaki teapot while heavier oolongs work better in a more traditional YiXing clay like Zisha, but I've only been able to get my hands on one Zisha teapot. I use Japanese mumyoi yaki in place of Zhuni because it's just too hard to find good Zhuni clay, or so I've been told by several reliable sources. Strange though, I use the gong-fu method with my YiXing pot and more of a Japanese method with my mumyoi teapot. My Zisha teapot has now been dedicated to RouGui since it's my favorite heavier roasted oolong, while I keep my mumyoi "clean" because I don't really have a favorite light roasted oolong. Maybe in the future when I can afford more teapots I will start dedicating more. I do need another Zisha teapot though. Anyone know where I could find a good one? Oh yes, I find the Da Hong Pao I have works really well in a Chaozhou Zhuni teapot I have. No, it's not traditional or great Zhuni clay, but it works really well. Better, in my opinion, than my Zisha pot.
-Eric Glass

Shiuwen said...

Hey Will,

Thank you for the note.
When am I going to see you again for tea?

Shiuwen said...

Hi Eric,

Thank you for sharing your experiences of matching your tea and tea pots!