Since the Ming dynasty the gaiwan is the most commonly used brewing vessel in China. At home and in the tea houses, the gaiwan is the most popular way to brew several quick infusions of loose leaf tea.
This gaiwan is 200ml which is pretty big but better for European style tea-drinking and more suitable for jasmine, white and green teas. Smaller gaiwan are usually used in China for oolong, black and puerh teas. Using a generous amount of leaf, this method of brewing will give multiple infusions from high grade teas. The three parts of the gaiwan are the lid for stirring the leaves and holding them back when pouring off the liquor int the tasting cups, the bowl for steeping the leaves in the hot water, and the saucer for holding the gaiwan when the bowl is too hot to handle.
With a little practice using a gaiwan is a great way to make tea - allowing you to see the leaves as they steep and enjoy the unique fragrance of every tea.