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January is National Hot Tea Month, perfect time to warm up

The chilly weather and overcast skies we’ve been encountering lately make a cup of tea seem like a fine idea; no wonder January is National Hot Tea Month. No less an authority than the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the United States is the only Western country to consistently grow in tea imports and consumption. And sure, you can grab a generic tea bag and dunk it into a cup of boiling water, but here are some things that could elevate your tea time.

Degree of perfection

If you want to ensure your water is just the right temperature, consider the Russell Hobbs Retro Style 1.7 L Electric Kettle. It has an exterior gauge that shows the temperature, a washable filter to reduce lime-scale accumulation, a quick-boil indicator and a drip-proof spout. And the stainless steel exterior is available in blue, black, red, cream or white. $79, russellhobbs.com

A little tea pot

Brewing for just one or two? Ditch that full-size pot and go with a more modest choice, such as the Adagio Teas Ingenuitea 16-ounce teapot. It has a built-in infuser that contains the loose tea leaves and a valve at the bottom allows the tea to flow into your cup. It’s suitable for iced tea, too, and it’s dishwasher-safe. $19.99, bedbathandbeyond.com

Don’t fear the name

Don’t settle for just any tea; branch out and try pearl tea, also known as gunpowder. The leaves have been rolled into small round pebbles, which helps protect the tea if your water temperature isn’t quite on point. It’s from mainland China’s Zhejian Province. 1 ounce $6.99, Artisanal Foods, 2053 Pama Lane, or artisanalfoods.com

Amusing infuser

You may as well have some fun with your tea, and the the Fred Float Tea Swan Tea Infuser will help you do it. Looking like nothing so much as a big pool inflatable, it comes in flamingo and unicorn versions, too. You just put your loose tea in the stainless-steel base and float it on a cup of hot water. $15 in Sur La Table stores, surlatable.com

Pie with that?

You will, of course, want to eat something with that cup of tea. If a slice of pie sounds right, consider the Split Decision 9-Inch Pie Pan from Chicago Metallic. The insert enables you to make half of a pie if you have a small household, two different types if you can’t decide on one, or a regular-sized whole pie. The insert also makes it easier to get the pie out of the pan, and it’s non-stick and dishwasher-safe. $15.99, amazon.com

Spot of … toddy

Not a big fan of tea? You can warm up instead with Nevada-made Aunt Lucy’s Hot Toddy Mix, all natural and made with honey, lemon, cinnamon and clove. Just tear open a packet, pour it into a cup and add hot water and whiskey, if desired. $9.95 for 12 packets, auntlucystoddy.com

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella@reviewjournal.com or

702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

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