Monday, June 23, 2008

Gotta getta guywan


With the Summer Olympics set to begin in China in just a few more weeks, I have my hopes up that some, if not all, of the tea in China will be featured in the TV coverage. You know how the Today Show and others tend to provide lots of "cultural coverage" during the Olympics? Well, I'm counting on them having some segments on China's tea tradition, and looking toward that I have pulled out my trusty guywan.

I first discovered the guywan (sometimes spelled "gaiwan") at The Tea Room in Savannah years ago. A guywan is simply a Chinese covered cup with a saucer. The set is designed to be held together while you use it, which let me tell you, takes some doin'! Basically, you sort of pinch the lid and saucer in your hand (thumb on top) and - with the lid tilted ever so slightly - use it as a strainer to hold back the tea leaves as you sip. Helpful hint: You might try wearing old clothes (and letting your tea cool a bit) when you first experiment with a guywan!

These come in all kinds of designs, but I wanted something that looked Chinese. I've since discovered there are also clear glass guywans, and I think it would be helpful to have one of these because then you could *see* the tea as you are about to spill, I mean "sip," it. Google "guywan" or "gaiwan" and you'll find lots of information about these classic teawares.

3 comments:

parTea lady said...

That is very interesting. I have seen the guywans, but I didn't know the technique for using them. I like the pattern you chose.

I recently received my new Stash Tea catalogue. They have some lovely gai-wan sets, with cups and matching teapots. They also have a very nice authentic Chinese gift boxed set for $12. You can see these at www.stashtea.com.

Steph said...

Oh, fun! What a great tea education opportunity! I have a green celadon guywan, which I love!

Frivolitea said...

Hi angela. That is an interesting little vessel. I just discovered a book, _Design for Tea: Tea Wares from the Dragon Court to Afternoon Tea_ by Jane Pettigrew. Looks like it would talk a bit about your guywan. The book is on my wishlist, so I have not yet had a chance to look through it.