As many of you have probably noticed, I almost never use gaiwans anymore. In fact, last time I touched any of them was when I sold one of them in my teaware firesale. Before that…. I don’t remember when the last time I used a gaiwan was.
I’ve found that there’s really no good reason to use gaiwan when one can use a yixing. I used to think that it is better, for the purpose of testing a tea, to use a yixing rather than a gaiwan, because, so the thinking goes, the yixing might change the way the tea taste in a way that a gaiwan would not. So, gaiwan is thus more accurate as a way to assess a tea.
I think that is still true if and when I am trying to test out a larger number of teas all in one go using the same parameters, as in a multiple sample tasting using, say, 5 minutes brewing. However, I almost never do that. Instead, I brew them normally and form my opinions based on that. If that’s the case, why should I use a gaiwan? After all, if, say, I were making a purchase decision, ultimately after I do buy the tea, I’ll be using my yixing to make it anyway. It would be foolish to use a gaiwan to test it and then never use the gaiwan again to brew it for drinking. As anybody who has used multiple pots for the same tea would probably know, teas behave differently in different pots. Shouldn’t I be testing the tea based on how I would normally drink it, rather than how I never drink it?
Of course, the other thing is that one realizes that there are so many other variables involved, one thing (i.e. vessel) doesn’t really make that much of a difference. Once I saw past that…. I’ve never used a gaiwan since, basically.
Besides, using more teas in pots season them faster. That’s always a plus.