Gai means “cover” and wan means “bowl,” so the gaiwan is, unimaginatively, a covered bowl. Though originally intended for green and white teas, this versatile item is actually suitable for other tea types as well.
To the bowl, 1 add 3-5 grams of tea and 2 gently pour 150 milliliters (or the capacity of your bowl) of 170°F water down one side, which will cause the leaves to swirl. Cover with the lid and let steep for a minute. To decant, tilt the lid to create a fissure wide enough for the tea, but not the leaves, to slip through. For subsequent brews, pour the water directly over the leaves to flip and 3 disperse them, maximizing the surface area exposed to water.
If you’re brewing oolongs, black teas, or pu-erhs, give the leaves a quick rinse with boiling water. Enjoy the aroma and proceed to pour over boiling water.