Updated: Sep 7, 2019
THE HISTORY OF GAIWAN
The gaiwan, in its most basic form is a Chinese cup with a lid and a saucer, used for brewing and drinking tea. Of late, universally, the Gaiwan has been more popular for only brewing tea and not as much as the tea drinking cup, though it’s quite a fun to drink directly from the gaiwan.
During the Tang dynasty, a special bowl called chawan, by scholar Lu Yu, was created in a way large enough to accommodate the tools and implements needed when brewing tea, yet small and compact enough to be held comfortably while drinking. This special bowl was the precursor to the gaiwan we know of today.
Later, during the Ming dynasty, also the peak time of pottery creation and research in China, it is that this chawan transformed into a gaiwan. A handle less cup, one with a lid and a saucer to go with the set. The lid would allow the tea to be brewed right in the cup and held back the tea leaves while drinking. The saucer was used to bring the cup close to one’s lips without having to handle the hot cup directly. The gaiwans then used were much larger than used today in order to brew tea and serve large groups of people.
The traditional way of brewing tea in a gaiwan has almost not changed at all since a very long time. Rinse the gaiwan, rinse the tea leaves(optional), infuse, serve & re-steep. This is how it has always been. After each subsequent infusion, different flavor profiles are experienced paving way for a much more detailed and meaningful tea drinking experience.
OUR JOURNEY WITH THE FASCINATING CHINESE CUP, THE GAIWAN
As for most tea companies, teaware was always on our to-do list. As and when we started exploring the wonderful world of teas, exploring never before explored arenas of Ancient/Gushu Teas from old tea forests in Manipur mountains, it became essential for us to have the right tools to experience the full flavor profile of these teas.
We procured our very first gaiwan from a Chinese producer and were delighted to feel the enhancement it brought to our tea experience. We decided to have our own gaiwans made, right here in our home, India. Before this initiative of ours, to the best of our knowledge, no one had done this earlier. We would be the first ones to get our gaiwans made in India. Having spoken to many pottery studios, we finally stumbled upon Claystation Sadashivnagar.
Claystation Sadashivnagar is a pottery arts studio based in Bangalore, India. Potters at Claystation Sadashivnagar were not only positive but also excited about making the gaiwan for us. A new project, never attempted before opened doors to creativity, expression and art.
As the potters began this adventure with us, our gaiwans were born out of stoneware clay, thrown and trimmed, dipped and colored in beautiful white, cream rust, burnt caramel and black glazes. The result was more than satisfactory.
Sharing photos of our beautiful teaware, because pictures are worth a thousand words.