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China Tea ep. 10 – Gaiwan and Fair Cup – Sunday Tea Book – Sip-a-long – Huang Da Cha


The gaiwan is also known as a sancai bei (cup). Sancai means the heavens, the earth, and people. The lid on top represents the heavens, the saucer underneath represents the earth, and the cup in the middle represents people. A simple set of tea vessels does well representing the core of ancient Chinese philosophy, the indivisible connection between the heavens, the earth, and humankind.


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Huang Da Cha


Dry Leaf: Chocolatey, Field berries
Liquor Colour: Light amber
Liquor Aroma: Hints of chocolate, some fruitiness
Flavor: Seaside meadow, chocolatey, aftersweet
Mouthfeel: Clean, refreshing

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The gaiwan is used for brewing tea. It can be used as a brewing vessel, where the brewed tea is divided into different cups for sipping. Or it can be used to brew and sip the tea directly from the gaiwan.


There are many types of gaiwan, such as porcelain, zisha clay, glass. Porcelain gaiwans are the most common.


When selecting a gaiwan, consider the curve of the top edge of the gaiwan, the more curved the easier to hold and less chance to get burned when brewing.

A porcelain gaiwan is a good, versatile choice.


  1. Warmup the gaiwan: the left-hand holds the lower part of the filled gaiwan, right hand hold the gaiwan lid, rotate the gaiwan counterclockwise to circulate the hot water. Then lift the lid, and pour the water over the inside of the lid, while rotating it.
  2. Drinking from the gaiwan: using the gaiwan lid to clear the floating tea leaves, then drink from it.


The tea filter is also called a strainer. Though a small part of the tea brewing experience, it’s actually very useful.


It is placed on top of the serving pot when pouring in the brewed tea. It helps filter out tea leaves.


Filters are made of different materials, such as stainless steel, porcelain, pottery, bamboo, wood, gourd, etc. The filter mesh can be made with stainless, cotton, or polyester mesh.


After the tea session, be sure to clean the filter in a timely fashion.

Tea Towel

Also known as a tea cloth.


It’s used to wipe the water or tea, especially the sides and bottom of the teapot, sharing pot and tasting cups.


Mainly cotton, linen, etc.


The primary rule the tea towel should have good absorption.


  1. How to fold. There are two ways to fold a tea towel:
    1. divide the towel into 3 parts, fold inward respectively. Then divided into 4 parts, and repeat the fold; or
    2. divide the towel into 3 parts, fold inward respectively, then divide into 3 parts, and repeat the fold.
  2. The tea towel is only used to wipe tea vessels, and only the outside of tea brewing and drinking vessels. It cannot be used to clean water or dirt from the tea table, or surrounding areas.

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