Chinese still have to learn how to drink tea with Gaiwan

Review: with the spreading of the tea culture, more and more foreigners start to drink Chinese tea. But when the foreigners drink with Gaiwan, something always feels off: why it feels like they are drinking coffee? This makes a group tea fans anxious. They start to offer lessons online, teaching foreigners how to drink with Gaiwan.

Drinking tea with Gaiwan, you should not take the lid off.

According to the bible of the Chinese Tea “The Classic of Tea”, the so-called “Gaiwan Tea” includes bowl, lid and a tea boat. Therefore, it is called Gaiwan or three cannons. The tea boat means the saucer that bears the weight of the bowl. It is said that Gaiwan is invited by the daughter of the Xichuan military governors in Chengdu. Then, it spread to the whole south part of China and popular in the whole Beijing area until Qing Dynasty. The royal palace, noble families, and elegant tea house are all emphasize the use of Gaiwan.

Because of the long history of Gaiwan, it forms a certain level of ritual. First, when you drink tea with Gaiwan, you should not take the lid off. Secondly, you should not blow off the tea leaves floating on the top with you mouth. You have to hold the saucer with your left hand. Then grab the lid with you right hand, gently “scrape” the surface of the tea several time. The aim of this action is to put the floating tea leaves aside.

The right posture to drink tea with Gaiwan

Additionally, you cannot hold the bowl drink continuously or blow air to the bowl. These is not correct.

Then, how should you drink with Gaiwan. According to the expert, Gaiwan is very special, which you can drink with it, or brew tea with the Gaiwan. “Lid as sky, bowl as people, saucer as the land. When you drink tea with Gaiwan, it is better to sit straight. You don’t put your head and mouth forward. Don’t lower your head. You hold the saucer and the bowl with one hand, leaning the bowl toward your mouth. Then, use your other hand to open the lid a little bit, and take a small sip. Note to drink slowly, don’t make any sound. And do not take the lid off, like you are drinking water with the cup.

When you drinking the tea, you have to use the lid to push the floating leaves to the other side. By doing so, you can avoid drinking the tea leaves. Secondly, watching the tea leaves dancing up and down, while smell the flavor of the tea, it is definitely an enjoyment.

According to the introduction of the expert Ms. Wei, there is a continuous action called “three blows and three waves” when you drinking with Gaiwan. You hold the saucer with your left hand, the middle finger and your thumb of your right hand grab the lid. Slightly scrape the edge of the bowl and the surface of the bowl. Next, you will soak half of lid into the water, pushing the tea in the bowl inside out for three times. You will see the green waves, and the tea leaves floating up and down. When you drink the tea, take a sip of tea from the gap of the lid and the edge of the bowl. And you swallow the tea slowly for three times. This is why it called “three blows and three waves”.

Lu Xun says in his article “Tea drinkin”, “when you drink a good tea, you have to use Gaiwan. When you use Gaiwan, indeed, after you brew the tea, the color of the tea is clean, the taste is sweet, slight bitter. They are indeed good tea.”