Shape and size are critical
Make sure the gaiwan you choose fits in your hand and feels good. Hold it as if you are brewing and imagine making tea with it. A gaiwan that is too big or too small will be tricky to hold.
For maximum versatility get a glazed gaiwan
The glazed finish will allow you to simply rinse the gaiwan and brew all tea types. The none-porous structure allows the gaiwan to present true aroma and taste of a tea.
Choose thin porcelain
There’s a tendency to choose a thick gaiwan among first-timers to put some distance between the boiling water and the fingertips. But this is actually going to work against you. Once porcelain heats up, it stays hot, so by your 2nd or 3rd infusion, a thick-walled gaiwan is untouchable! Thin porcelain not only looks better, but it cools a lot faster and will carry you comfortably into those late infusions.
Finally, liquor colour is always your guide when brewing tea, so choose a gaiwan that’s white inside.