I have a couple of different gaiwans around now. The one I use most often actually has fairly thick clay walls and a glazed interior. I love it because it holds heat in relatively well, and that heat is pretty important to bringing out some of the flavors in many of the teas I drink. But I also have a couple of very thin-walled porcelain gaiwans, elaborately decorated with pretty images. But I rarely use them, because they let heat escape so quickly that they’re better suited to the more delicate teas with low brew temperatures.
Usually I pick the tea out first, then select the appropriate brewing vessel, but today I just really wanted to use my little bird-and-flower printed gaiwan covered in mysterious Chinese characters that I imagine translate to, “Aiko, you drink too much tea.” So that narrowed my selection a lot, and I eventually settled on this Chinese green with cute mythology. I love teas with stories behind them.
I have a weird love/hate relationship with Chinese greens. I love their range of flavors, but on occasion, certain kinds make me sick to my stomach, for no known reason. It doesn’t seem to be a pesticide or quality thing, because I’ve had the same reaction to organic and high-quality tea in the past. Perhaps it is a matter of processing or something. But the strange reaction seems to be exclusive to Chinese greens— I’ve never had it happen with other teas.
Luckily, this tea does not make me sick. It has a very light, crisp flavor, of snow peas, I think. It’s a little one-note, but it’s a pleasant note. The leaves are of widely varying quality— some are tiny buds, some are broken pieces of older leaves. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be much longevity in this tea; only five or so gongfu steepings in, it is little more than slightly astringent water. Oh well. It was very nice while it lasted.
(What is with my tea reviews lately; they’re like three paragraphs of backstory and then one regarding the actual tea)