Pros: Beautiful, helps you brew your tea precisely, durable.
Cons: Takes practice to get it down pat.
The first thing that you notice about Bodum's Assam Tea Pot is the fact that it's beautiful. Simple lines, and a clear body to let you watch your leaves dance were the features that initially attracted me to this tea pot. I was able to purchase one in a 50% off sale (the price listed with this review reflects the regular price), and I'm glad that I did, because this is quite simply the best practical tea pot I've ever had the pleasure to use.
The tea basket and plunger are two nice features which enable you to brew your tea precisely. I like to time all of my brews, and once the time is up, I simply depress the plunger and the tea leaves are forced below the line of the strainer holes. At this point, they are no longer in contact with the tea that you're drinking, and the brewing process is halted completely. This is probably the best practical aspect of the tea pot.
It does, however, have its drawbacks. Namely, you have to have patience with the tea pot until you get the knack of it. Other reviewers have complained about certain aspects, and I'll now address how I've adjusted to those aspects.
First, people have written that the strainer holes in the brew basket are very small, and that they cause the water to flow through too slowly. This is, in a way, true. The strainer holes are very small, and this aspect makes sure that a minimum of sediment makes its way into your tea. To compensate for the small holes, you must pour the water into the tea pot at a very steady pace. If you pour steadily, you can match your pace to the tea pot's pace, and you will neither overflow the pot or have to wait for the water to slip through.
Secondly, the plunger on the tea pot must be depressed gently and slowly. If you try to force it downward, you will meet a lot of resistance with the leaves and the water. I came close to breaking mine once because I didn't realize that depressing it slowly would work better.
Lastly, because the body and brew basket are clear -- and especially if yours is made of plastic (I've seen glass ones out there as well) -- you will begin to notice tea stains after a certain amount of usage. This does not reflect on the quality of the tea pot; rather, all teas stain pretty much all porous materials. The tannins in the teas (the same particles and chemicals which cause coffee satins) will leave a residue behind. If you scrub the pieces well after each use, you will cut down on the staining. However, if it gets to be unsightly, simply soak the parts in a very mild bleach solution. This will return your tea pot to a like-new glory.
Overall, I've been very happy with my Bodum Assam Tea Pot. After an initial adjustment period, I've found it easy to use, and lovely to look at. I would highly recommend this pot to anyone who enjoys loose teas, and I would encourage patience in those who do purchase it. After all, enjoying tea is about enjoying the simple pleasures, about relaxing. Savor your tea making experience as you would savor your tea. Enjoy.