A gaiwan is the ultimate way to enjoy your oolong tea. Used in China since the Ming dynasty (over 900 years ago), gaiwans are unassuming but beautifully functional teapots that can be used to explore tea to its fullest – the following method can be used to make up to six infusions.
Start with 4-6g of oolong tea and pop it in the gaiwan teapot. Boil a kettle to 100°C/212°F, then pour an inch of the water on the leaf for a few seconds, then discard this liquid. This "wash" softens the rolled leaf and allows the water to penetrate.
Next, fill the gaiwan with hot water to just below the rim, infuse for 5-10 seconds and strain completely into your cup or a jug. There's no need to reheat the water as you go, because the softened leaves will require lower temperatures to release their flavours - but you will need to extend the time to 10-20 seconds for later steeps. We recommend at least six infusions to allow the leaf to completely open out and reveal all its beauty.
For a more comprehensive guide to using a gaiwan see our full guide here.
Here is a short video demonstrating how to get the most out of your precious oolong leaves with a gaiwan: