How to Brew Loose Leaf Tea in a Gaiwan

The Gaiwan is a traditional Chinese tea brewing vessel comprised of three parts including the lid, bowl, and saucer. Translating literally to “lid and bowl,” the Gaiwan is most often made from porcelain and flourished during the Ming dynasty when loose leaf teas came into fashion. Among tea enthusiasts, the Gaiwan is preferred vessel for appreciating the aromas of fragrant teas.


To prepare tea with a Gaiwan, you will need:
1. Gaiwan
2. Waste bowl
3. Tablespoon
4. Timer
5. Serving pitcher
6. Teacups


Add freshly boiled water to the gaiwan to pre-warm.


Add freshly boiled water to the teacups to pre-warm.


Discard water into waste bowl.


Fill gaiwan 20% full if using ball-rolled tea; 60% full if using twist-rolled tea.


For baked oolong and pu’er teas, add fresh hot water to just cover the leaves, then immediately discard. This rinse helps to “warm and smooth” the taste of the tea. After awakening, slowly pour water over rinsed leaves until covered with water, just below the rim of the gaiwan.


Add lid. The water level should rise slighty above the lid to create a seal for locking in aromas. Steep for the recommended infusion time.


Adjust the lid position slightly to create an open space for the infusion to decant. Hold gaiwan bowl using thumb and middle finger on the rim, while securing the lid with index finger. Using a swift motion, tilt gaiwan forward and slightly inward to decant into a serving pitcher.


Pour from serving pitcher into individual teacups.


AStack multiple infusions together in a serving pitcher by repeating the previous steps. You can keep the “root” of the infusion alive in the serving pitcher, and simply add subsequent infusions to that liquid.


Pour a small amount of your stacked infusions into each teacup, alternating from one cup to the next to ensure each cup has equal concentration of flavor.

Featured Teaware


Fellow Kettle

Measuring Spoon

Explore Other Ways to Brew Tea

How to Brew Cold Brew Tea

How to Brew Cold Brew Tea

How to Cold Brew Tea The process of cold-brewing steeps tea leaves slowly, using time rather than temperature to release flavors and catechins gently. This results in a smooth body with complex flavors and reduced bitterness. Not only is cold brew tea easy to prepare,...

How to Brew Tea with a Kyusu

How to Brew Tea with a Kyusu

How to Brew Loose Leaf Tea in a KyusuThe kyusu is a traditional teapot ideal for brewing pure Japanese green teas. Many kyusu teapots are fashioned in a side-handle style known as yokode, which was originally developed for preparing tea while seated on tatami mats. As...

How to Brew Tea with a Simple Brew Teapot

How to Brew Tea with a Simple Brew Teapot

How to Brew Loose Leaf Tea in a Simple BrewOur simple brew teapot is a great way to enjoy loose leaf tea at home or the office every day. The glass brew pot allows you to watch your favorite teas infuse and expand. It is made from sturdy borosiliate glass, making it...