3 perspectives on the amount of tea for a Gaiwan

Can you guess the tea?

I think it’s important to preface that this isn’t talking about 功夫茶/工夫茶 specifically since after all, there are many different ways of brewing tea with the gaiwan whether they’ve been documented in museums or elsewhere。Rather, this piece is focusing on three different viewpoints on the amount of tea per 100g of water you should use for this particular brewing vessel. These perspectives come from tea veterans/teaheads/tea-hobbyist (however you wanna call it) and one certified tea master by the Mainland that I’ve talked to during my time in Hong Kong between 2019-2020.

Naturally, I’m not going to say which came from which since I’d imagine that would invite more scrutiny for one perspective compared to the others. Plus, it’s not a critique of these perspectives, just an outline of the reasonings behind them since after all, the perception of taste will differ depending on oneself, one’s lived experience and one’s reference of knowledge. Also at the end of it all, this is not meant to be prescriptive. Instead, this is to help anyone who is trying to find the perfect amount for themselves. Not saying you’ll find it here, but hopefully the insights below will be helpful for you.

“8g of tea is the best amount.”

I asked why they thought this and they said that it was a well-established fact that had been agreed upon by many, including themselves. They said if you used too little, you would have a weak tea thus, wasting the tea you had.

“If someone’s telling you to use 8 grams, then they probably have bad tea.”

I asked why they thought this and they said that even if you used a little bit of tea, it should still impart taste if it’s a good quality tea to begin with. For them, even 5g was too much at times.

“3g is enough but only for a small gaiwan of up to 80ml.”

I asked why they thought this and they said that packing a lot in a gaiwan would certainly give you a strong taste but the tea would lose nuance. They also said that even if you tried to scale the measurements up for a larger gaiwan, you couldn’t replicate the taste and effect.

And that’s it!

A slightly different style from my previous articles admittedly hence the different tag. That also means that I won’t be using with my usual sign-off at the end since it technically isn’t ‘my two pence’.

Anyway, I think it’s really cool to see that even in just one city, there is still quite a lot of variation on how much tea to use in a gaiwan depending on who you are talking to. Of course, these aren’t the only perspectives on how many grams within Hong Kong and beyond for the gaiwan.

What are your pence, cents, yuan, yen, etc.?

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