Brewing Oolongs 101 & Sugar Caddy as Gaiwan?
SimpliciTea, I had a similar experience (minus the new teapot!) when I asked a co-worker whether he knew where I could buy a gaiwan. He’s about 60, originally from Shanghai and had no idea what I was talking about even when I described it in more detail. I thought I must have mispronounced it, but maybe not. He has an oversized mug, about the size of a soup bowl with a handle, and he apparently just dumps his leaves in that and lets then steep. He’s not big on formality.
Drinking green tea directly from the brewing mug is the most popular way of drinking in quite a few green tea provinces in China. The Italian mug in SimpliciTea’s other thread minus the basket is close to the formal mugs to treat guests in northern China in the old days. Big gaiwan was more in use in the older days. Nowadays people in northern China seem to be using all kinds of things and a lot of them started drinking oolong with smaller gaiwan.
I just happened to be in a kitchenware store the other day and saw a glass sugar caddy that looked exactly like a gaiwan (and I also need/want/covet one) at $1.30 and thought the same thing. :)
It’s amazing how looks can be deceiving.
I have come to the conclusion that three things commonly prevent a sugar caddy from being used (effectively) as a gaiwan: any lip along the inner top (causing lots of spillage while pouring), the weight (they’re usually a pretty thick ceramic, and so they can hold lots of heat) and a bulky lid (it’s hard to keep it in place with my middle fingers while holding/pouring). Otherwise, they’re great! : p