The other week I started telling you about gong fu cha; what the term means and some of the skills involved. Today I thought I'd tell you about the different parts of the tea set.
First you start out with your tea tray. Notice the slats. This is important! The tea you spill runs off into the slats and is collected below! I love how they know I'm going to spill and be messy!
The top comes off and you can easily pour out the spilled tea and clean the tray.
This next piece is the gaiwan. The gaiwan is used to steep your tea. You would use it instead of a teapot.
You put your tea leaves in the bottom of the gaiwan, pour in your hot water, cover and let steep.
When the tea is ready, you move the lid of the gaiwan to the side and pour. This step requires skill and lots of practice.
When you pour your tea, you don't pour directly into individual cups. Instead, pour into a justice cup. This ensures a uniformity to the tea, so that each person will enjoy the same tea.
From the justice cup you pour the tea into your aroma cup. You don't drink out of this cup either. The design focuses the scent. You simply smell and appreciate the aroma of the tea. You pour the tea from this cup into your drinking cup.
Here's your drinking cup. Notice how small it is. You are meant to savor each sip.
Finally, we have a tea pet. Tea pets are made from the little bits of clay left over from making traditional tea pots. They are happy little creatures. You share your tea with them by pouring it over the pet.