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Tea For Any Time

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CBS/The Early Show
Tea is hot right now. We all know there are major health benefits associated with drinking tea, but now there are tons of flavors and new products that make drinking tea more pleasurable. The folks at Bon Appetit magazine have rounded up their favorite teas, utensils, and tea sets and contributing editor Dede Wilson will drop by The Saturday Early Show to show what you need to throw a great tea party.

Tea is just like wine. You wouldn't go into a wine store and just say, "I want red wine." There are so many available and each has its own flavor profile. It's the same with tea. So you need to do a lot of tasting to see what you like. Once you have found a tea you enjoy, there are a variety of ways to serve it.

It all starts with the tea plant, the Camellia sinensis plant. All teas come from this plant, even though some are black tea, some are green, and some are what are called white tea.

Most people think of black tea. This means the tea leaves have been oxidized and fermented. Then, we have green tea coming from the same plant. The green leaves have not been fermented. And white tea is the same thing. It comes from a tea plant but is minimally treated. It has a very subtle flavor.

In addition, there are tea blossoms. This is tea made from the flower, the dried flower bud of the tea plants. You pour hot water over it and make it like you would a tea leaf. For instance, an unusual tisane is made from Camellia sinensis flowers, which are carefully plucked from heirloom tea bushes in full bloom, and then sun dried. The flavor is surprisingly full, with notes of honey, caramel and citrus. A very unique offering.
Price: $6.80 for 40 gram tin
Availability: www.uptontea.com or (800) 234-8327

It is important to have a good teapot

A glass teapot allows you to enjoy the color of the tea because it lets you see the tea brew. Glass will also not retain odor or flavors.
Price: $55
Availability: www.CooksShopHere.com

TEA THERMOMETER:
This item features a custom three-colored temperature dial, indicating the suggested temperature for steeping tea. The dial is divided into three ranges:
Green Tea: 140-180 degrees
Oolong Tea: 180-200 degrees
Black Tea: up to 212 degrees.
It is a user-friendly item. People think you boil water and pour it over tea leaves and you are done. But for some tea leaves, using the water that's too hot or too cool will ruin the beverage's flavor.
Price: $6
Availability: www.uptontea.com or (800)234-8327

TEA TIMER:
This timer is multifunctional whether you want to brew for 1 or 3 minutes. It has different time increments for different types of tea. Each tea has instructions on how long to brew and it can range from 30 sec to 6 minutes. That is a dramatic difference and you do not want to under or over brew or else it will affect the taste of the tea.
Price: $25
Availability: Ito En

TEA SCOOP:
This helps you get a sense of what a scoop of tea is and again influences how the tea will taste depending on the amount you use. This one is fun because it is shaped like a ginko leaf. This one is pricey, but you can get them at all price points ranging from a few dollars to $80.
Price: $58
Availability: Ito En

ORIOLE POT AND CUPS:
This tea set has an Asian-inspired design. (It also might appeal to men who drink tea.)
TEA POT PRICE: $94
TEA CUP PRICE: $18
Availability: Ito En

TEA WARMER:
Making a pot of tea is a nice way to entertain. While you sit around with your friends over tea, a warmer is gentle enough to keep it warm without boiling it and ruining it.
Price: $68
Availability: Ito En

INFUSER:
When you brew loose tea, you need something to put the tea in. Many teapots come with an infuser.

JONATHAN ADLER TEA SET:
This is a white ceramic contemporary-looking tea set. It does not come with an infuser, but you can buy it separately or it is the perfect opportunity to use the sachets described below.
Tea pot Price: $98
Sugar & creamer Price: $88
Dots mug: $35
Radial mug: $35
Availability: Jonathan Adler

WHOLE LEAF TEAS IN SILK SACHETS
These are nice tea bags made of silk. They are perfect if you do not have an infuser.
Price: $8
Availability: Harney & Sons

Suggestions for iced tea:

WIDE CYLINDER PITCHER:
This pitcher is perfect for water, lemonade, iced tea, fruit drinks or margaritas, with scissor-cut rim and handblown.
Price: $26.95
Availability: crateandbarrel.com

SCOUT HIGHBALL GLASS:
Made of clear glass, these are dishwasher-safe.
Price: $1.95 each
Availability: crateandbarrel.com

ICED TEA SPOONS
They're 18/8 stainless steel and dishwasher-safe.
Price: $2.95-3.50
Availability: crateandbarrel.com

Finally, for a midday pick-me-up, Dede Wilson recommends cutting green tea half and half with orange juice!