season 2 | ep. 18

cooking with
tea

with Nadia De La Vega

Nadia De La Vega

steeping together podcast
- season 2 | Ep. 18

cooking with tea

with Nadia De La Vega

Date:
july 2022
Length: 32:22 see all
episodes
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episode transcript

Marika de Vienne 0:18

Welcome, everyone to a special mini episode of Steeping Together where we explore a specific topic within the vast world of tea with tea enthusiasts. I'm your tea-obsessed host Marika and as usual, so excited to talk about today's topic. So, tea is for drinking. Honestly, I feel like this comes as no surprise to anyone. Drunk hot or iced, as a latte or not, with carbonated water or cold brewed, tea is one of the most versatile beverages on the planet. But we seldom discuss the fact that tea is an herb, this plant can be used much in the same way one would use other herbs such as oregano, thyme, and sage. Tea is also an incredibly versatile ingredient that can be used when cooking and quite frankly, I feel we just don't discuss this enough. So much so that even after all these years working in the tea industry, I can count on one hand how many times I have used tea in my cooking. I guess, I don't know, I'm scared and don't even really know where to begin. And I have a sneaky suspicion that I am not alone in this. So today, I have invited Nadia De La Vega, a frequent guest on this podcast, because out of everyone I know she does the most baking, cooking and recipe development with tea. Welcome, Nadia, and please be gentle, guide me into this world!

Nadia De La Vega 1:41

I will. Don't worry, I think it's easier than what we think it is. I'll be very gentle.

Marika de Vienne 1:48

Okay, thank you. Because I don't spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I spend a lot of time watching other people in the kitchen. But yeah, I'm a little hesitant about this topic. So let's get to it. But first for anyone who would have missed your previous times on the podcast. Who are you?

Nadia De La Vega 2:08

Okay, let's keep it brief this time. So I'm Nadia De La Vega. I'm the Director of Tea Sustainability and Content here at DAVIDsTEA. I've been working here for almost 10 years. And throughout the time that I've been here I've been working in anything from content to recipe development.

Marika de Vienne 2:27

There are so many recipes on our website that you iterated, created, it's always a really exciting day when we have to do photoshoots in office because you bring in like cakes and cookies and ice cream.

Nadia

Yes!

Marika

And they're always so good. So okay, my understanding of tea is that as I said at the top of the episode, it's an herb, right? It's a plant, it is a plant that is dried, oxidized, processed, but when you're using it in cooking, you should really think of it like you think of thyme or oregano or chive or any other dried herbs that you would use in cooking. Am I correct in this assumption?

Nadia De La Vega 3:08

I think so. Especially if you're thinking more for savoury. I think of it like an accent or a flavouring. Like when I'm baking cookies. And you know, I always add some vanilla or some vanilla extract. So then you can maybe substitute one of your favourite teas to impart that flavour.

Marika de Vienne 3:24

That makes a lot of sense. You've already–you've already edified me enough that I feel comfortable in saying what I'm about to say. Because you'll add vanilla extract or vanilla bean to a dish, but that does not necessarily make it a vanilla cookie, or a vanilla pudding.

Nadia

Exactly!

Marika

It's an accent that you use combined with other ingredients to make your blend or your dish more harmonious, more balanced.

Nadia De La Vega 3:51

Exactly, I think it really depends on kind of what your goal is. So again, for a chocolate chip cookie, you always add vanilla extract, so that, if that's your way to make a balance, that's the way that you can think of tea, but sometimes when I'm doing like very specifically matcha recipes, I really want to taste the matcha in there. So it depends on what you're going for, that you can use it as an accent or as the main character.

Marika de Vienne 4:20

Okay, because this is my problem with most cookies, and I don't I can only think of cookies because I think it happens a lot. It happens in beauty products as well. Like you'll have a body lotion that's tea flavoured and it always smells like lemon verbena, like it never–like I'm always like this doesn't smell like tea. And then you'll have like a cream of Earl Grey macaron, and it just kind of tastes like bergamot. It doesn't taste like the tea. And so I have had a tendency to dismiss it. But what you're saying is actually maybe if they just hadn't called it that and just said hey, one of the ingredients in there is tea I probably wouldn't have been so irritated, shall we say.

Nadia De La Vega 5:03

I get what you're saying. Because you're like, if you're saying, oh, Earl Grey, I want to taste the tea, like, where's the tea? Whereas it may be featuring Earl Grey, it could have been like, okay, so it's not gonna be–you're not giving me the tea, you're just giving me a hint of it.

Marika de Vienne 5:19

Yeah, all I'm asking for is for them to start calling–

Nadia

Be clear!

Marika

Yeah be clear! Call it an Earl Grey lemon cookie, and I am on board. But if you just keep calling it Earl Grey cookie, I'm not tasting the tea. Okay, so there's that aspect where like that dried leaf be it black, oolong, green, whatever is more of an accent to your dish. But matcha itself being a ground powder kind of becomes the star of the show, right?

Nadia De La Vega 5:45

Yes, that way, at least in the recipes that I've developed. Normally, tea is more like a supporting or an accent or like you said, you know, like an herb to balance it out. But with matcha, I think that you really want to highlight the matcha.

Marika de Vienne 6:02

Also just feels, and again, don't know what I'm talking about here–it just feels that anytime I've had something with matcha, because of the nature of that tea itself, I do taste the matcha, I do taste the leaf a little bit more. Like a matcha cookie or a matcha oce cream, for example, tastes like matcha there's no doubt about it. And that's because the leaf itself is integrated into the recipe as opposed to with any other tea, you would only be able to include the infusion and not the leaf itself right?

Nadia De La Vega 6:37

Yes, you’re correct.

Marika

Alright!

Nadia

And when we're doing recipes, or at least the ones that I've done, we're infusing the tea first and making a very concentrated version of the tea. So think of it as like your vanilla extract. Instead of using vanilla extract, I'm using a very concentrated version of the tea so that it imparts some of its flavour. So if I have a cherry tea, I want to make a very concentrated version. So that that imparts the flavour into the baking that I'm doing.

Marika de Vienne 7:04

Yeah no, that makes sense. Vanilla extract is a concentrate of vanilla. If you're going to use tea, you've got to make a concentrate of tea so that it can hold its own against all the flour and sugar, and you know, if we're talking about a soup or a stew, the meat or the broth, you need to make something very, very, very, very concentrated, which means putting a lot of leaves and very little water in order to get all of that flavour out.

Nadia De La Vega 7:31

Yeah. Especially when you're thinking if you're baking, and you're just using the infusion, you have to think that throughout the baking process, a lot of the aromatics are going to kind of evaporate so you really want that to be very concentrated so that at the end, when it's done baking, you have at least a hint of the tea that you use.

Marika de Vienne 7:51

It's so funny. I just realised just right now, I think because in my mind when you're making a concentrate, you're using a high temperature hot water. So I'm like it'll be fine if it bakes because it's already been in really hot water but no–Marika, baking is longer than infusing a tea, duh! I feel kind of silly just like realising it now.

Nadia De La Vega 8:15

But you have a point. So the first–you're doing your infusion in the water that is required. I like to use the water temperature that is required for this specific tea so that I get the flavour compounds that I want. So that for example, if I'm using green tea, I don't burn the leaves, so that my result is not bitter. But yeah, throughout the cooking process, a lot of those oils evaporate. That's why it's very important to do concentrates, I think.

Marika

That makes sense.

Nadia

Concentrates is like my step one.

Marika de Vienne 8:44

Concentrates seems to be key. Whether it's matcha or an infusion, you really want a concentrated version of that tea.

Nadia De La Vega 8:52

There's only very few recipes that I think we've done, that it's more for the loose leaf. That you include, that you would use the loose leaf as opposed to a concentrate.

Marika de Vienne 9:03

Okay, feeling safe, feeling secure, feeling ready to start cooking with tea. I know that my rule of thumb is concentrates. Step two, where do I start? Because I feel like in the West tea is incorporated predominantly when we talk about food in baking. And when you're in the East, it's included predominantly in soups. And I understand the soup aspect right Nadia, because a soup is kind of like an infusion. I mean, at least the water, the amount of water means that you'll be allowing your tea to steep for a long time. So when I was in China, jasmine-infused soups or soups with smoked teas like Lapsang Souchong. I've done that at home. I've taken some tea, put it in a little like cheese cloth, put it in my soup and then taken it out with my bay leaves, at the same time that I take out my bay leaves, and I've got a beautiful broth that has a tea flavour to it. That feels easy. Should I–do we recommend that our listeners start with soups or start with baking? Because I think everyone immediately wants to like launch into these really complicated like cakes with like four teas in them and then they get disappointed. So, baby steps!

Nadia De La Vega 10:17

Baby steps. I think my recommendation, I think with anything in the kitchen, is start where you're comfortable. If someone is more comfortable with baking, than you should start there. If you're more comfortable with savoury, then start with savoury. And as we both know, in the history of tea, it was initially used in soups. And in the West side, let's say in North America, we're more used to baking or sharing recipes that are baked. Sweet recipes, as opposed to those soups and stews. So yeah, you need to find your comfort zone. And then I think explore from there. Because you're entering another–another realm! It sounds so–

Marika de Vienne 11:05

Baking, baking is another realm. You know, baking and desserts, and cooking other you know, savoury dishes or cooking a regular meal, I've always equated kind of cooking as an art. But baking and desserts, that's a science. You don't mess around too too much with baking, you can just like add an extra egg, you know what I mean? And when I make, when I make a salad or a soup, I'm like, I'm gonna put a little bit more vinegar, I'm gonna add one more bay leaf. Like I'm freer to play. But with baking, it's like, hey this amount of sugar, and only this amount of sugar!

Nadia De La Vega 11:43

It's funny. It's funny, because as we've spoken about in other podcasts, I'm like a trained scientist. So yes, when I'm baking, that's when I bring out my, you know, my balance so I can weigh my ingredients. But it's funny, because once I get really used to a recipe, I do it by hand, you know? So I feel like there's always–that's always when you delve into cooking. There's always that mixture of art and science and then you just kind of let your instincts tell you, once you get really used to it, like does the dough need a little bit more water? But–baby steps!

Marika

Yeah, exactly!

Nadia

So start where you're comfortable with and start with something that you like, because you want to enjoy the process. The whole point of cooking with tea is not to stress whether it's gonna come out perfect or not. It's about, I want to enjoy–let me explore and try something new.

Marika de Vienne 12:42

I think you're always going to enjoy a lot more what you're eating when you've actually had kind of fun doing it. If it's been a huge stressor–I always feel, I watch my husband cook, if a meal is a huge stressor for him he rarely enjoys the meal, regardless of how good it is, you know? Sometimes I'll be like, Oh, this is so delicious. He's like, took me three hours to do this thing! And he's just happy that the experience is over. But I like that idea of comfort zone. One of the things that I can cook, not well, but I can do it, is oatmeal. And that's one of the things that I, when I worked in the spice industry I used to recommend people who were using spices for the first time, I would say just add some cinnamon, add some nutmeg.

Nadia

Go wild!

Marika

Go wild, exactly! You want to be really out there, try cardamom on your oatmeal! You know, because that's something that's relatively easy to make. So that's my go-to for trying new things. Can we do the same thing with tea?

Nadia De La Vega 13:41

For sure. One of my all time favourite recipes that we've done here is just very simple, infusing tea into oatmeal. So basically you cook your oatmeal as you would, so we're doing it old-school. We have a pot.

Marika de Vienne 13:56

Okay okay, do we have a wood fire oven? Is that what you are impying?? Have we–we’ve woken up, we've chopped the wood…okay!

Nadia De La Vega 14:05

No, you know we're starting in a pot, you mix, you normally put, I don't know some people use all milk. I normally do half water, half milk, and then put my oatmeal. What do you do?

Marika de Vienne 14:19

I do the thing that my husband showed me which is I just cook my oatmeal in water and then when half of the water is kind of evaporated then I add just a hint of milk and vanilla extract. So it's still a large quantity, but we use a lot less milk than the average recipe.

Nadia De La Vega 14:35

So there's two ways that you can go about it. And I think that the fun thing to do is to try both ways and see which one you like better. So you can either start with your tea concentrate, let's pick Forever Nuts because Forever Nuts has cinnamon, has apple. So it's a very comforting tea, especially for oatmeal. So you do your tea concentrate. You put that on the stove, you add your oatmeal, then you top it with your milk, and if you want at the end you add vanilla extract. Or the way that you add your vanilla extract at the end, you can cook your oatmeal, your regular way, water, add the milk and then add the tea. I personally like cooking the oatmeal in the tea so that the flavours blend together and then it gets this beautiful, kind of pinkish colour, thanks to the beets in Forever Nuts.

Marika de Vienne 15:28

It makes a lot more sense even though–thank you so much for letting me add the tea in the way that would make me more comfortable. but just as you were describing it, like cooking the oatmeal in the infused tea. I feel like that's just going to create a much richer profile and it's not that much out of my habits that I would feel uncomfortable.

Nadia De La Vega 15:50

Yeah, you basically boil your kettle, make a tea, more concentrated, use that water to cook your oatmeal in and then at the end your top it with your milk.

Marika de Vienne 16:00

That sounds delicious.

Nadia

And it's easy.

Marika

Yeah, I know that sounds really easy! I feel like I've been looking at a lot of recipes where they're asking me to like buy new pots and pans to make these things happen, but…

Nadia De La Vega 16:12

Yeah, or like have a sous vide.

Marika de Vienne 16:14

Yeah. Oh, the sous vide, I'm not buying a sous vide. Hey! World–I'm not buying a sous vide, stop showing me recipes with it! I think like you said it's about the fun and it's about incorporating it already into the cooking that you do. You don't have to start making–if you've never made macarons at home, why would you start now! That just seems really daunting and un-fun.

Nadia De La Vega 16:39

I think you have to start where you're like–an oatmeal, it's a perfect way to start. If you're a cookie lover, or you're like making cookies, a chocolate chip cookie recipe with matcha, it's a great way to start.

Marika de Vienne 16:52

Okay, how do I do that I want to okay, I want to make chocolate chip cookies with matcha. What am I doing? Tell me what I'm doing.

Nadia De La Vega 16:57

I like to add the matcha to my dry ingredients.

Marika de Vienne 17:01

Oh, like just the matcha powder itself?

Nadia De La Vega 17:03

Yeah. So again, and here is where you can play, so you can add the match to your dry ingredients. Or you can just do like a, I want to call it a slurry of matcha, because you would add the matcha and add just very little water and add it to your wet ingredients.

Marika de Vienne 17:19

Okay. So if I had to come away with some rules of thumb, I feel like making a concentrate is super important. Water temperature, you're still, if you're making that concentrate, you're still adhering to a certain amount of degrees, depending on the tea base. You know, if it's green tea, don't burn your leaves. And you're steeping it for a longer time to make that concentrate. But here you're talking about adding the matcha to your dry ingredients. And you said it in a way that makes me think other people are not necessarily doing that.

Nadia

Why do you think that?

Marika

I don't know. It was just inflection in your voice, you're like, I put it in my dry ingredients, like you've been on some kind of internet matcha forum, fighting with people.

Nadia De La Vega 18:04

I'm just saying that's my preferred way because in this case, I'm thinking about it, like I'm gonna sift it with my flour. And for those of you that don't know, we have great chocolate chip matcha cookie recipe in our blog. So I really encourage you to try it out because it's one of my go-to and one of the office favourites here.

Marika de Vienne 18:28

Yeah, no green chocolate chip cookies that tastes like matcha. What's not to love?

Nadia De La Vega 18:32

And then that's where you have fun. If you don't like dark chocolate cause that’s what we used in the recipe, substitute it for white chocolate. I dunno, go crazy. Put some nuts!

Marika de Vienne 18:43

Okay, so the matcha you can use it with your dry ingredients. There's another recipe that I love on the website that I know you developed. I do not remember the exact name of it now because my brain doesn't work that way. It's the cream of Earl Grey beer cake?

Nadia

Yes!

Marika

Okay. I remember the day you brought that into office and I remember thinking this woman is magic. Explain to me how I would–because I'm not adding my cream of Earl Grey leaves to my dry ingredients?

Nadia De La Vega 19:13

No. Here when I was developing this recipe we were working on a beer collab. So the way I started developing it was let's pretend that my cream of Earl Grey is my vanilla. Earl Grey has already those creamy tones. It's giving me the scents that I want. So beer really helps in a cake to make it really nice and moist. I know that word can be triggering for some people, but I use it. I use it a lot to describe baking, I'm sorry.

Marika de Vienne 19:47

I like a moist cake. I don't, I don't feel triggered by it.

Nadia De La Vega 19:51

But okay, that's good, but I feel a lot of people do, but anyways.

Marika de Vienne 19:55

What forums have you been on that I’m just not a part of? We don't mean to trigger anybody. I'm not, I'm genuinely not making fun of anybody who's uncomfortable with that word. But I just feel like your internet and my internet are different.

Nadia De La Vega 20:11

I'm in the cooking.

Marika de Vienne 20:13

You’re on the cooking side of the internet, right.

Nadia De La Vega 20:15

This was a recipe where I wanted to taste Cream of Earl Grey. I wanted the essence of Cream of Earl Grey, I wanted to taste the vanilla, I wanted to taste the tea, I wanted to taste the bergamot. So that's how I how we use it. We use it as a very, very intense concentrate. And together with a beer, it just makes a beautiful cake. And if I remember correctly, oh my god, it's been more than three years. We also used it, I also used it in the frosting. So then you can feel it! I wanted to–this was one of the recipes where the Cream of Earl Grey was the star.

Marika de Vienne 20:54

Yeah! That's what I remember. I remember you offering it to me and I was like, Oh great. Another thing where theres supposed to be tea in it, and I'm not going to taste it at all. But I work here now and I just met this woman a few months ago so I have to politely eat her cake. And it was so good! It was so, it was so Cream of Earl Grey-forward and I think I forgot that you put it in the frosting too. That's the thing. I think a lot of recipes are like, add some tea and then call it a tea recipe. You layered it into the cake itself and then into the frosting, making it the star of the show.

Nadia De La Vega 21:28

Like you said in the beginning, I feel it like that, it can be really upsetting when they name something with the word tea and you're like, Oh, I'm gonna feel it. And then you get it and you're like, Oh, weh weh.

Marika de Vienne 21:41

It's mostly upsetting because I feel like they're marketing a product directly to me and I've spent literally thousands of dollars on things that have the word tea in it. And don't taste the tea.

Nadia De La Vega 21:50

I've had that kind of disappointment as well. That's why, I sometimes when it's bottled I don't buy it because I'm like, is it gonna taste like it?

Marika de Vienne 22:01

Are they lying to me again? Is this just gonna be a lemon verbena and not Camellia sinensis? Yeah, so I feel safer. I feel ready to get into the kitchen, which I think is a sentence I haven't said in many many years. If I'm going into my kitchen Nadia, what are like the top three teas that I should start with? Because we have over 100 teas here at DAVIDsTEA. There's thousands of teas on the market. What are the three teas that I need to have in order to have the best possible experience in the kitchen?

Nadia De La Vega 22:32

Okay, question. Are we talking savoury or sweet or both?

Marika de Vienne 22:36

I'd say both just because now that you've equipped me with this knowledge, I don't want to limit myself.

Nadia De La Vega 22:43

Okay. So for sure something like Matcha Matsu. Matcha Matsu is one of my go-tos, it also has that very grassy flavour. So in baking, you'll feel it. Because I've used something more creamy like a Grand Cru or a Ceremonial Matcha. And then because there's so creamy I only get the creaminess, I don't get the real like fresh grassy flavour umami that I want. So Matcha Matsu.

Marika de Vienne 23:12

That makes sense to me. It's just a really good matcha that is not ceremonial matcha, I'm not breaking the bank. You want a tea that's going to be cooked inherently right?

Nadia De La Vega 23:23

Yeah. And what I like about matcha is because it has those grassy tones, you can also use it in savoury cooking. I really like pairing matcha with fish or shellfish.

Marika de Vienne 23:37

Oooh! Tell–okay I'm sorry. Tell me about this fish matcha situation?

Nadia De La Vega 23:42

And it's, I don't even think we have it on the blog. So, we're getting–

Marika de Vienne 23:48

A podcast, a Steeping Together exclusive!

Nadia De La Vega 23:51

Yeah I like to put some matcha into salt, into like a fleur de sel or something. So then for example, if I'm sauteing some shrimp, I'll just sprinkle it at the end. And you just get a little bit of the heat... Sorry, I'm gesturing like I’m sauteing a pan but you guys can't see that!

Marika de Vienne 24:13

The visual is great, you’re like then I do this and I'm like this is an auditory medium, they don't know what you're doing! No but it makes sense, yeah oh, in the salt? Do you do have matcha half salt?

Nadia De La Vega 24:25

Yes. That’s kind of what I do. And then, but right at the end so that you serve it, so that you do one twist or one kind of shake from the pan and then you serve it. So that you don't burn your matcha but you feel it at the end. So I really like it like that. And the same with fish.

Marika de Vienne 24:45

Okay. Oh that sounds delightful and I like the versatility of it that if I want to you know bake or if I want to do something savoury matcha comes into play really easily. Really flavour forward. Tastes like tea without overwhelming the dish that you've made. Okay, number two…

Nadia De La Vega 25:01

Cream of Earl Grey. Because it's a very flavour packed tea. It's on a black tea base. So, to me I feel like black tea can easily translate whereas there's other teas that I find harder, like a white tea base. It's very hard for me to use in cooking because the flavour is so delicate that by the time it's done baking, I really don't feel the tea. So a black tea like Cream of Earl Grey.

Marika de Vienne 25:29

And why Cream of Earl Grey and not Earl Grey?

Nadia De La Vega 25:32

Great question. I think because our Organic Cream of Earl Grey has that hint of cream in it, creaminess and vanilla that really will help support the rest of your baking. If you're not a Cream of Earl Grey fan and you're more into savoury cooking, then my recommendation would be something of black tea but more, with more character like a Lapsang Souchong.

Marika de Vienne 26:02

Interesting because as you were talking about the creaminess of the Cream of Earl Grey, and again, I do not cook. I almost feel like what if I added Cream of Earl Grey to like a beef stew? Would that make sense?

Nadia De La Vega 26:17

I'll let you in. I don't know if it makes sense. Why not try it out. Maybe it does.

Marika de Vienne 26:20

Yeah, why not. It’s my kitchen. My fantasy kitchen.

Nadia De La Vega 26:25

Because I've tried something like a Silk Dragon Jasmine, again with shellfish. And it works really nicely. Because you know, you know the typical like, let's go to the 90s!

Marika de Vienne 26:39

Okay. I love being in the 90s let's just stay there.

Nadia De La Vega 26:43

When chefs were like, Oh I add a little bit of vanilla to my lobster.

Marika de Vienne 26:47

Oh, yes, I remember that. Yes, for those of you that don't remember, it was a serious four year period of our lives where there was vanilla in every lobster roll.

Nadia De La Vega 26:54

So I'm like, well if they can put vanilla, why can't I put something like jasmine. To bring a heat, like a sense of a floral or something more–Let's say sweeter, it's not sweet. But yeah, something yeah. So why not? Why not put it in a stew. Okay, but here now you're making me think. Now I'm gonna have to come back with a response because how would I–because you would need to balance the rest of the flavours. I think here you would need way more aromatic spices. Cardamom.

Marika de Vienne 27:29

Yeah I’m thinking of cardamom specific. I love cardamom so yeah.

Nadia De La Vega 27:31

I'm going to like the spice route, you know?

Marika de Vienne 27:34

Yeah, I could see that because I have a tendency, on the few times I've cooked, to add like nutmeg to beef stew and other spices that are very round like sapote and things like that. And so that made me think about the Cream of Earl Grey but I think if we're starting out, let's not overcomplicate it. Cream of Earl Grey, really really good for desserts and also free your mind! Play around, if you want to add it to your beef stew. We're not here to stop you.

Nadia De La Vega 28:02

And if you're more into savoury and you don't want the Cream of Earl Grey I would do something like Lapsang.

Marika de Vienne 28:07

But we're sticking to like a flavoured black tea is your second recommendation? All right. So for your last pick, what do you, what are you recommending?

Nadia De La Vega 28:17

Here I’m going in the herbal and rooibos category. Whether it is Forever Nuts or Just Peachy, Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait. Like you pick your fruit, I would say do you want something more apples, cinnamony? Forever Nuts. Do you want like a juicy peach? Just Peachy. Or do you want something more on the berries side? Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait. And there you–Let's go back to the oatmeal. Do you want an apple and cinnamon oatmeal? Or do you want peaches and cream?

Marika de Vienne 28:50

I have never thought of that. I want the peaches and cream oatmeal right now! I'm dead serious. I'm so serious. That's awesome.

Nadia De La Vega 28:59

Or, strawberries, you know? You pick it and that's where you go.

Marika de Vienne 29:04

Oh my gosh because yeah, oatmeal is such a cool example because a lot of the times I will add fresh fruit as a topping to my oatmeal to give it that kind of fruitiness, that astringency, the thing to balance out the other flavours. Nadia, I want Just Peachy oatmeal. Forever Nuts oatmeal sounded great. Also pink, sounds great. But I want a Just Peachy…oh!

Nadia De La Vega 29:31

I’m a peaches and cream girl! You can still top it up, you know? That’s giving you kind of the background flavour but you can still add on your add ons, top it up with whatever you want.

Marika de Vienne 29:43

Aww Nadia, this is so exciting. Because not only, I knew that you were going to clarify this for me. I knew that you were going to take my little baby hand and explain to me how to cook with tea. And I knew that I would come out informed, but now I'm like genuinely excited to start cooking with tea.

Nadia De La Vega 30:00

Yeah, it's like another flavour that you've unlocked? Unlocked a new flavour. I'm not a gamer.

Marika de Vienne 30:06

No, but that’s amazing! No, that's amazing because I think if you're a tea enthusiast, incorporating tea into every single aspect of your day to day.

Nadia De La Vega 30:17

Is kind of the next step.

Marika de Vienne 30:19

It’s kind of the next step! And then sometimes I think, you know, I've bought matchas in the past or flavoured teas in the past that I enjoyed, but weren't my cup of tea that I didn't want to just use infused. And instead of throwing it out, or you know, usually I gift it to someone I'm like, Hey, do you like this kind of tea? I think I can start cooking with it, which is really liberating because it's more sustainable. And as a Director of Tea content and Sustainability, wow Nadia, well done!

Nadia De La Vega 30:47

And like I said, like, you know, there's teas that you can re-steep, there's some teas that have so much flavour that you can re-steep it and still get a very flavourful cup. So, you know, don't throw it out. Re-steep it, do an oatmeal. Your kid’s breakfast–

Marika de Vienne 31:02

Everyone will be happy. That's an easy breakfast. Well, I cannot thank you enough. This has been amazing. Maybe you'll come back and give us more recipes because I feel like we only scratched the surface of what you've done in the kitchen.

Nadia De La Vega 31:18

Well, for those of you that are interested, like I said, we have tons of recipes in the blog, but I mean, have me here, I love talking to you and the recipes, especially cooking. You've been to my house so you know.

Marika de Vienne 31:30

I know exactly, yeah. So I knew you would be perfect to address this topic. Well, thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. I cannot wait to get back in the kitchen.

Nadia

Really?!

Marika

I want a Just Peachy oatmeal and that alone will get me back in the kitchen. So yeah no, I'm genuinely going to try that tomorrow morning. It's going to be a lot of fun. Oh wow. Well, thank you and thank you for listening to today's mini episode. If you'd like to reach us with comments, questions, or topics for another mini episode you can do so at steeping.together@davidstea.com or through our website davidstea.com. Have a great week and happy steeping everyone.

nadia de la vega

nadia de la vega

about the guest

Nadia De La Vega’s tea journey has been anything but linear. Growing up in Mexico, tea was not a common beverage... but luckily for Nadia, her mother would brew black loose leaf tea every morning. She completed her science degree in Montreal, where she developed an affinity for food pairing and recipe development. Joining the DAVIDsTEA family in 2012 (and we are SO glad she did!), she put her superpowers to use to help develop tea-based recipes. As the Director of Tea Sustainability and Content at DAVIDsTEA, Nadia and her team primarily oversee sustainability initiatives and tea knowledge across the brand while ensuring all tea information is authentic, fun and relatable. You can normally find her drinking a cup of Orange Pekoe or Organic Jasmine Black Pearls, while working on impact initiatives and indulging in some serious tea talk!

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about the host

Marika De Vienne studied and worked with tea growers and garden owners in China before becoming a spice and tea blending apprentice. Travelling to places like Thailand, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka turned her into a ravenous seeker and lover of all things tea.

Like many at DAVIDsTEA, Marika has a tea drinking problem. Trust us, we don’t think too much tea is a problem but she’s basically a human science experiment on tea consumption…

So, in an effort to channel this obsession into something a little more constructive, Marika now hosts Steeping Together, where she hopes to spark meaningful conversations over a fresh cup of tea with people from around the world.

Marika De Vienne
Project Lead