Sunday, November 9, 2014

Jing De Gongfu Porcelain Plum Blossom Bamboo Gaiwan Tea Set: A Tea Gear Showcase

You are probably at this point (or even earlier) wondering what happened to Tea Book Sunday, well it has not died, it has evolved to Tea Stuff Sunday to encompass all those things that are related to tea but not exactly tea. I figure I will run out of tea books eventually, and there are some weeks when I am too swamped reading books for review purposes on Netgalley or Goodreads that I just don't have time to read a tea book (tragic, I know.) So have no fear, there will be more books, but there will also be other cool tea themed things.

Like today! I am looking at the newest addition to my tea gear collection, Jing De Gongfu Porcelain Plum Blossom Bamboo Gaiwan Tea Set from ebay, it was a birthday present (by way of a monetary gift) from my grandparents (fun fact, while visiting them I taught my grandmother how to use a gaiwan, she loves it!) I added this unusual collection to my wishlist months ago, but ended up buying the bat gaiwan instead because it would be more versatile.

This set is very much so not perfect for all teas, well that is not true, the cha hai and cups work for anything, but the gaiwan is more specialized. I bought it specifically for 'needle' teas, long curly leafed teas, and basically ones that do not need room to unfurl. Not a gaiwan suited for my much loved balled up oolongs, that is for sure. While some people might consider this limitation a negative, I love it because it means I have a gaiwan with a really unique shape. Also, the width of the gaiwan's lip means I have not once burned myself with it.

The cha hai might be my favorite part of this set (even if it oddly lacks the red coloring on the plum blossoms) because it reminds me of a calla lily, each time I pour with it I feel like I am pouring nectar from a flower. It adds a bit of whimsy into my tea brewing, which I love. It also has a mostly clean pour, the only time it drips is if I goof and hold it at a weird angle while pouring

The cups are lovely, they are a tiny bit translucent in their thinness, and this is beautiful. It does also mean that the heat transference is pretty intense and they get scalding hot quickly, so I really have to be quick if I am handing the cup off to someone (so far that someone has been my dear mother) and even then there is usually a chorus of the both of us going 'ow ow ow' the whole time.

As a fun finish, I am including a video I recorded, fair warning it is not professional quality! I filmed it with my camera which makes mediocre movies, and I have no idea how to edit things so you get to hear instead of just read my rambling. This video shows my gaiwan technique (a facebook friend asked how I do it) and some practice methods I recommend if you are just starting out.


  1. Very pretty! If you haven't yet, when you get back to town you should go by Shang. He has some totally gorgeous cups. Translucent jade porcelain (I think that's what the kid told me) ones (a steal at only $50!) and a way cool cup with a silverfish in the bottom modeled after cups used by emperors. The fish turned black in the presence of poison. There is some kind of specialized glaze on the cup that gradually changes the color of the interior depending on what kind of tea you steep in it most often. That one is even more of a bargain pricewise so they are just for looking and lusting after, but worth a trip to see. :)

    1. I really just need to swing by Shang's again when I get back, because I need more of their Tangerine Blossom tea, I love that stuff! Those cups sound awesome, though I wish I could find more info about the Jade Porcelain, last time I was there one of the people was touting its awesomeness but the internet is not at all interested in giving me any info on it, sad.

      Last time I was there I fell in love with a crane shaped teaset, I was too intimidated by the $3,000 tea table it was on to ask if the set was part of the price :P