I realized today I haven’t touched any of my gaiwans since I returned from Taiwan.
I remember I used to use the gaiwan for everything…. from greens to blacks. Gaiwan was my weapon of choice. Gaiwan was the only thing I’d use, pretty much.
Then slowly, I started using more yixing pots. I gradually bought a few more, and found them, somehow, easier to use. Maybe it’s because I will no longer burn my fingers, as I do once in a while with a gaiwan. Maybe they provide more aesthetic variety. Maybe they do make better tea?
On the better tea question, I am now quite certain that some yixing pots will make softer tea (whether that’s better or not is up to individual taste). I’m still not sure exactly what goes on in a yixing pot that actually changes the tea. There are many theories out there, from temperature retention (sort of true…) to pores in the clay (really depends) to seasoning (maybe true, maybe magic…. and also depends, greatly). Gaiwans, though, still give you an “honest” tea, without really messing with the tea in any particular way.
I’ve also basically ditched the fairness cup these days, especially after I acquired those Hong Kong cups that will hold a pot of tea, regardless of which pot I used. I find myself enjoying my tea more without needing to re-pour from the fairness cup into my drinking cup. That, I think, is entirely personal — somehow, the fairness cup feels artificial, almost lazy.
Maybe I should pull out my gaiwan one of these days and revisit one of the teas I’ve been drinking a lot recently, such as the tieguanyin I drank today. I wonder if I can tell the difference.