season 2 | ep. 8
how to make
iced tea, lattes
with Freedom Taylor
steeping together podcast
- season 2 | Ep. 8
how to make iced tea, lattes & teapops
with Freedom Taylor
may 2022 Length: 24:20 see all
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 a tea enthusiast. I'm your tea-obsessed host Marika, and I'm thrilled to be here today. Tea is one of the most versatile drinks out there, seriously. As discussed many times before on this podcast depending on how you steep your tea, to how long you steep it, you can make a radically different cup each time. And if you're like me, you spend most of your time making hot tea regardless of temperature outside. But in order to broaden my horizons even further, I have invited Freedom Taylor, our resident rule-breaker to talk a little bit about tea concentrates. I want to spill the tea on all the permutations we have out there in regards to tea drinks, and can think of no one else better suited to help me break out of my own drinking limitations. Welcome Freedom!
Hello, I'm back!
Marika de Vienne 1:17
Yeah, I should have said welcome back, quite frankly.
Freedom Taylor 1:20
Thank you. Thanks for having me back again.
Marika de Vienne 1:21
It's always a thrill to speak to you, whether on a recording or in the office.
Do you want to just briefly introduce yourself to anyone who would have missed your first appearance on the first season?
Freedom Taylor 1:32
Totally. So if you don't know me, my name is Freedom. I've been a decoration here at DAVIDsTEA for many, many, many years. I'm most known for thinking outside of the tea box. In my world, there are no tea rules, and if there are some I'm here to break them and then fix them, and repair them and then love them and then maybe cherish them.
Marika de Vienne 1:54
A more accurate description was never given. To me. That's me in a nutshell.
That’s me. That’s me in a nutshell.
So Free, I want to talk about concentrates today. And when we're talking about concentrates, it's not just making a hot cup of tea and then adding milk or sugar. That's just tea and you can alter it and change it based on your own personal tastes with additions. Here we're talking about, how do I make different beverages, be it lattes, be it TeaPops, be it iced tea, all with the same leaves. I think a lot of people are afraid of making these drinks at home and prefer to get it like at Starbucks, or just buy an iced tea prepped. And I feel like every time we've expanded on how easy it truly is to make a concentrate, that sometimes it's as fast as making a hot tea. It broadens your flavour horizons and what you're capable of doing yourself.
Freedom Taylor 2:48
Yeah, no totally. I think it makes it a lot more accessible when you realise like how easy it is to make at home. Sometimes when you're at those other sort of shops those drinks look a little intimidating and scary and daunting. But honestly it's super easy, super fun and the flavours are insane. So that's why I'm such a big fan of concentrates is that honestly, it's just like such a stronger and more impactful flavour. Honestly, the stronger the brew the happier I am. So concentrates are my preferred cup of tea for sure.
Marika de Vienne 3:19
I love it and it's exactly why you're here. So let's break down the basic formula for a hot tea. Rule of thumb is you're going to want to go, depending on the density of your tea, so if you have a light tea like chamomile, you're going to use a little bit more by weight, but maybe the same volume. So you're gonna use a Perfect Spoon, or you know, a teaspoon that you have at home. So it's gonna vary between 2.5 grammes and 5 grammes for 16 ounces depending on the density of your tea, right? And that’s how you make a pretty darn perfect cup of hot tea. How do you make an iced tea?
Freedom Taylor 3:57
So iced tea, you're going to double that right because one thing that you really need to keep in mind when it comes to iced tea is dilution. So ice is one of those things that we know is going to dilute the taste and the flavour quite a bit. So when it comes to iced teas, I like to double up so I'm definitely using at least two Perfect Spoons. More on the heaping side. I like, I like them to be nice and full. Right and then if I'm in the mood for a latte, and that's, you know, diluting it with milk and sometimes making an iced latte so ice and milk. It's like even further diluted. So that's where you're going to really ramp up and this is where you're gonna want four Perfect Spoons.
Marika de Vienne 4:30
Right and in terms of quantity, two Perfect Spoons is about 10 grammes of teas. You need 10 grammes of tea for iced. And you refer to lattes, four Perfect Spoons. That's 20 grammes of tea! That’s…
Yeah! That’s a lot.
Talk about heaping!
Freedom Taylor 4:45
Yeah, and then if you're me, I kind of use almost like six minutes for like any drink! Like we'll get into that later. But the drinks that we had for us today definitely have like a heavy amount of tea, but I liked that because that's where like the true concentrate sort of idea comes to life, is that you're really drinking that like impactful tea flavour, and you're not missing it when you're diluting it later on in the process.
Marika de Vienne 5:08
Right, and not to be like a company shill, but our teas are very flavorful. That’s one of the things that we're known for. And using two Perfect Spoons or 10 grammes for an iced tea may seem like a lot, but when you consider that the flavour comes out a lot more, and unlike pre-made iced teas and a bottle, there's no added sugar, there’s no filler. You're getting like a full-contact flavour iced tea.
Mmhmm and fresh!
And fresh! So again, just so everyone understands how easy it is to make iced tea, because I feel like every time I ask people if they make iced tea, they're like, no, I buy it, it's too hard. Please explain to us the steps.
Freedom Taylor 5:48
Okay. So I think one thing when it comes to wanting iced tea is that you need to be proactive about it, You need to like know that you want to have it, because the thing that you need the most is ice. I think that's my biggest problem at home is that like I just don't have enough ice for the amount of iced tea that I consume on a daily basis. So make sure that you have enough ice, that's like first step. We have a handy dandy tool here called The Steeper that is kind of like a teapot that has a dispensary little section at the bottom. So you add your tea into the top with the hot water, let it infuse, and the moment you dispense this over a cup, all the brewed tea gets filtered out and drops down into your into your cup below that's filled with ice or milk. And so it's as simple as that. I honestly just like fill up my Steeper, leave it on the counter or walk away and then come back to it later. And I make the best cups of tea when I forget about them honestly.
Marika de Vienne 6:41
I think that's certainly true because and I don't want to, you know, paint you into a corner here or anything, but you are a fan of the fruity herbal category.
I have been known to. Yeah.
Exactly. And those teas can take quite a heavy steep, they actually perform a lot better when we're talking about infusing them over five minutes. And it gives you that nice punch and rich flavour. But essentially, you're putting twice as much tea, you're filling your Steeper–and it's basically a gravity teapot, like the tea is going to flow out from the bottom–you're going to fill it with the same amount of water that you would for a hot tea. You're going to let it steep, like you said maybe a little bit longer if you want that intensity because of the dilution effect. And then I always fill my cup completely with ice.
Freedom Taylor 7:24
Oh yeah, you have to have a full full full cup of ice like literally to the brim. I love to give the cup just like a shake, just to make sure that the ice settles and then even top it up with a bit more. Because the worst thing that you could ask for its like a lukewarm iced tea. Ughh, no!
Marika de Vienne 7:36
That’s what I was gonna say, as soon as your tea–if I want iced tea, I need it to be cold.
And so what's amazing about that is whenever I've explained it to people in the past, I'm like we're talking about like four to eight minutes of your life to make a fresh easy cup of iced tea.
Yeah, max max max.
Beautiful. Well, let's discuss lattes.
Oooh, this is where things get fun.
So previous to working at DAVIDsTEA, I'd had maybe one or two tea lattes in my life. I was, as I said at the top of the episode, a hot tea drinker. And the only time, ironically, I had a hot latte with a tea concentrate was in Japan where I had a Hojicha latte?
That is wild. I love this.
This is not a culture that traditionally consumes milk. But it was wintertime, it was February it was very cold, Hojicha is the winter drink of Japan. And in that latte, my mind got blown because I'm a huge fan of this tea but the added milk gave it a nuttiness and a different flavour profile that I had never experienced before that. So I think, you know, people see a latte as, Oh, you're diluting the true nature of the tea, or you're being, you're not giving it the proper platform. But the addition of milk truly gives you a different flavour experience that is as valid as the flavour experience that you'll get in the hot tea.
Freedom Taylor 8:56
Oh truly, I would almost even say that it elevates it to some degree. Like I think some teas are so creamy on their own when you have them just as a plain tea, but then when you add a little splash of milk, it almost like transforms it into its elevated itself. And to me there's a few tea types that like lend so well with milk, definitely like our black teas and our pu’erhs. I love our chocolate teas for that too, because they have so much body when you brew them. And then one thing that's really beautiful too is like this like idea of a layered latte. So one thing that I always do when I make my lattes, especially iced lattes, is I put the milk first in the cup. The milk has like a much thicker consistency so that when you add the tea on top, it separates and in a sense visually and it doesn't mix in, and it makes for like these beautiful, beautiful beverages that are just like so appetising. And yeah, just like elevates it to the next level. So for today, I made us little Vanilla Cappuccino iced lattes.
Marika de Vienne 9:51
It is so good. It's so good, and I'm not somebody who drinks the Vanilla Cappuccino tea a lot. It's a black tea. It's got coffee in it, it's gotten vanilla. I'm not a coffee drinker and so every time I see a coffee tea, I'm extremely extremely sceptical.
I could see that.
And the first time I tried it hot I thought, this is too sweet to my taste. I barely consume any sugar outside of tea or with tea. And then there was coffee, oyy. And that's just like, look, I'm not trying to alienate anyone who drinks coffee, but I just, I'm 40 years old, I cannot get on board. I'm not getting on board anytime soon! And when I had this as a hot cup, I just thought I'm really happy for the people who liked this tea.
I'm that person.
When I had it as a latte, that is when the–I understood the flavour. There's a fun aspect to it. There's that combination of the hint of coffee, the hint of vanilla, the beautiful black base that comes in, the milk mitigates the sweetness to a level that I can appreciate it.
I think so, yup.
And now I love this tea, but only under this particular form of an iced latte.
Freedom Taylor 11:06
Yeah, I think honestly this is like the best way to enjoy this tea. Ironically, I don't think I've ever had it as like a hot tea on its own, so I don’t even know! But to me like when I saw this tea like come out I was like, this is to me, instant iced latte I knew from the get-go that I wanted to sort of recreate that like, you know, quote unquote vanilla cap sort of, you know flavours. I love that, maybe I'm a little basic when it comes to the coffee addiction life.
Nobody is basic.
I'm here for it. I love them. I drink them constantly. Our coffee teas that is. Mocha Chai, also one of my faves. I love that this one is like spicy but yet comforting like a dirty chai but like better? I don't know, maybe I'm just saying, but yeah, coffee teas to me just are like so perfect with milk. So when it came to choosing like my favourite iced latte, I gotta go for one that like is screaming nostalgia. Vanilla Cap is that.
Marika de Vienne 12:02
Yeah, it’s a very comforting drink. And I'm not somebody who grew up with this flavour. So I don't have that nostalgia factor, but I can immediately understand how somebody can be drawn to it for that reason. You said something earlier, you said that like the tea bases that work really well with latte are like black and then you said pu’erh, and like the straight tea drinker in me, like I didn't recoil physically.
But you were like whaaat?
I was like why would you do this to…
Freedom Taylor 12:27
Oh I love it!
Marika de Vienne 12:30
But you're right, based on the parameters you just explained. And I've had the experience either through like the Hazelnut Chocolate tea or, I think we had one, toffee? English toffee.
Yeah, English Toffee is a good one.
It was a good one on a pu’erh base. The earthiness of the pu’erh the combination of the milk, yes untraditional and unlike anything seen in China or other parts of Southeast Asia where they would produce this tea base.
Oh yeah, for sure!
Really brings out that kind of earthiness, richness, depth of the tea in a really beautiful way. And the combination with chocolate–I mean milk and chocolate. Do I really have to expound on why milk and chocolate go perfectly together? We’re North Americans.
Freedom Taylor 13:11
Yeah, no. They’re perfect. It’s literally everything we've ever wanted!
Marika de Vienne 13:15
Oh my god, I love that. I'd never thought of that, I'm stealing it, I'm taking it. I will give you credit, but I love that. Okay. I want to talk one more, because I am that mom that tries not to give her kids sodas. To me a soda is an occasional treat.
Yeah like a treat.
A very rare thing. And I have relied on TeaPops, a huge amount in the past two years, especially like with confinement and having the kids at homes oh so very much to create a fun and different experience either at dinnertime or in the afternoon. What is a TeaPop?
Freedom Taylor 13:54
Okay so a TeaPop is when you're adding sparkling water, so maybe a little San Pellegrino or something of that nature. But basically, you just want to add fizz, you want to make your tea pop. There's so many amazing teas that I can think of that are amazing like this. But there's one that we went a little viral with on TikToK that I'm a bit proud of. So this one is actually really fun. It's like a sunset TeaPop. So what you're going to want to do is make a concentrate of Hibiscus Splash. So this tea is basically hibiscus dreams, it's so dark in its brew, it's super tart, super sour, love it. So I brew this one as a concentrate, pour it into my cup with ice, maybe about just to the halfway mark and then the rest of the cup I'm going to fill up with another tea. This is where you add in a tea that brews in lighter colours so you're getting really that sunset gradient. We're going to top it with Mango Fruit Punch. And so Mango Fruit Punch is like a delicious fruity blend that is honestly just so delicious. And it's gonna lend itself really well to Hibiscus Splash. And then just top it up with some sparkling water. So yeah, it's just like a delicious easy drink. Kids love it, it's super colourful. It adds that little sparkling little bubbliness that reminds them of soda pop, but without all the extra sugar and all the extra things that you don't know that's in there.
Marika de Vienne 15:14
Yeah. And if you have, like me, a cupboard of tea, you are never making the same TeaPop twice. I mean, maybe you are because you love that TeaPop specifically, but I love the combination of Hibiscus Splash, which as you said is you know very red. I mean, we're both of Caribbean descent so we will ultimately have a nostalgia factor associated with that tea because of the use of hibiscus and sugar and sorrel drinks.
And then Mango Fruit Punch to your point is also, is a very thin tea, but it is Mango Fruit Punch. I mean, I don't feel like I have to expound on the flavour of this tea. It is pretty much what it says it is. And that combination makes it light and fruity and accessible and not too tart. And then the fizziness adds to it. The concentraate to make a TeaPop, however, and this was my mistake when I first started working here, I was making TeaPops with the concentrate of an iced tea.
Freedom Taylor 16:06
No, yeah. Concentrate of a latte.
Marika de Vienne 16:10
Exactly, so you need the four Perfect Spoons, you need the 20 grams because you're adding more water, you have the ice dilution, and then you have the carbonated water dilution on top of it. So you just have to think of it as a latte, same steeping principles.
It's really, really simple. And I really feel like with those three recipes, making an iced tea and iced latte or a hot latte, and a TeaPop. You can have a variety of drinks within reach every single day.
Freedom Taylor 16:40
So many creative options. Like honestly, there's so much freedom to choose from in the sense of mixing them and trying to break up those rules too. Like if there's a tea that you think would lend itself really well with milk, try it out, you know?
Marika de Vienne 16:53
Yeah, you should try it out. The caveat I will mention though, is that there are some rules as to which teas can be lattes. I have iced everything under the sun. There's kind of no rule with icing. I'm not a huge fan of iced green teas. Because I feel that if you put–we know that if you put a really hot temperature on the green tea, it's going to burn and that kind of bitterness is going to transfer into the iced tea. I feel like I always have to add a little bit of sugar or agave or honey to balance that out. But yeah, name it, I have iced it.
I’m with you on that one!
One of the questions we get a lot is, how do I know when I can latte a tea? So obviously if you're buying from DAVIDsTEA, we go above and beyond to really say this isn't, this is something you can latte this is something you can't latte. But for someone who's just looking at a tea from a different company where there are no indications of that, you know, a lot of the times you'll see a tea that has like, a tea that we've had in the past like Strawberries and Cream and you think oh my god, Strawberries and Cream as a latte, won't that be amazing? That's your natural predisposition. But it has strawberries in it.
I know, and it has hibiscus too.
You can't latte those teas! So what are the rules of thumb for latte-ing? To me it's really, look hibiscus is an enemy, the milk will curdle.
Freedom Taylor 18:20
Basically like anything that's too acidic in nature. So like hibiscus is definitely going to be too acidic. Certain citrus so like orange, lime, lemon, grapefruit, anything that basically like the moment it reacts to the milk will make it a little yucky yucky.
Marika de Vienne 18:37
You're making cheese. It’s going to curdle.
Freedom Taylor 18:40
Exactly. So you want to stay wary of those ones. But like you were saying like Strawberries and Cream, delicious blend, creamy on its own.
Such a great tea.
But yeah, you got to be a little bit careful sometimes when you're brewing and adding milk so that you don't end up with a little science experiment.
Marika de Vienne 18:55
And I'm gonna say something slightly controversial, and please listeners don't do this. Just for legal health reasons, don’t do this. I enjoy the taste of curdled and not the taste the texture for sure of curdled milk, not you know, clumps, but when it's slightly curdled. I find it to be interesting, but as a legal disclaimer, please don’t do this. Don't do this to yourself. You've used 20 grams of tea, you’ve used a lot of tea to get a curdled drink, like not everyone's, not everyone's experimenting on their digestive system like I am!
Freedom Taylor 19:34
I'm with you. Sometimes I’ve bit the bullet and have just done it. Like example, the last of the milk that you have in your fridge and you didn't pour some in the sink to test it. Yeah, and when you put it into your tea you’re like…
You weren't the greatest, you just, you know what, like we're building immunity today. We're we're gonna go for it.
Marika de Vienne 19:52
Again, again, medical disclaimer! Please do not build your immunity, with old milk. No, but you know, I can't to control what people do in their kitchen, I'm just putting it out there as information. That's all we're doing.
Yeah exactly, just here to enlighten.
So when teas have like an herbal base or a fruit base, you know candied fruit, because of the stabilisers used in candied fruit, you can't really latte it. But look, if it’s vanilla, if it's chocolate, if it's any of those things, have at it. Have fun, live your best life. So I'm drinking this Vanilla Cap iced latte. I'm loving it. Your sunset TeaPop, amazing.
It's a good one. If you had to make one iced tea, like if people are like, Okay, I'm going to buy a tea to make an iced tea. Because maybe I don't have that at home. Like what's your number one recommendation?
Freedom Taylor 20:45
Is that a question? I feel like I’m being set up. Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait all day long!
Marika de Vienne 20:54
For anyone who didn't hear our previous episode with Freedom. Freedom is the one-man-band supporter.
Freedom Taylor 21:01
Honestly, I could sing until the cows come home, I love this tea so flippin’ much. I think that's like what I would give to anybody, everybody that walked into like my place in the summertime, looking for something to drink. You're gonna drink Freedom’s Strawberry Rhubarb. I've actually renamed it to include my name into it, cause it’s my favourite.
Marika de Vienne 21:23
I mean, you made it for me last time and I think I said this last time. This was a tea that I essentially ignored because it doesn't fall within the traditional wheelhouse of things that I like in an iced tea. I'm a big Hibiscus Splash iced tea maker. I love that tea. Anything mango, anything papaya. Like that's where I gravitate when I make my iced teas, and you made it and it made me appreciate that tea for the first time and I have made it several times since. You need to know this.
Freedom Taylor 21:49
Yayy! I love that. That’s exciting. Honestly, the more people I can convert into Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait drinkers? Best news!
Marika de Vienne 21:55
So all of the information on how to make these concentrates–and we have information also, we didn't even touch on like matcha lattes…
Freedom Taylor 22:04
Oh my god imagine cooking with matcha, or cooking with tea.
Marika de Vienne 22:07
We didn’t even get into all of those concentrates because essentially this information is on our website and we have an Explore section on our website with like, really step by step indications on how to make these concentrates easily and quickly at home. I think anybody has the ability to make a barista-level drink on a moment's notice. I've done it. If you can teach me the hot straight tea drinking lady, to get more creative, anybody can do it!
Freedom Taylor 22:36
Literally, world's your oyster. I'm excited to see how people do it and what sort of creations they make. Honestly, sky's the limit.
Marika de Vienne 22:42
I really want to hear what kind of drinks people come up with, because I think I stay in such a specific category a lot. Even though I have access to so many teas, I have a tendency to make the same things over and over again. And I always go to you for when I'm like okay, I need something creative and weird and outside the box today. But yeah, listeners if you have any fun tea combinations, TeaPop, latte recipes, we want to hear it!
We genuinely do, this isn't like a pitch, this is like we're like..!
Freedom Taylor 23:11
No no I'm genuinely curious. I really want to know. Like I love mixing two teas together too, like that could be like a whole other convo. But like, you guys are so creative and inspiring when it comes to mixing teas together or coming up with fun recipes, cocktails, baked goods, etc. Like I’m just here to hear all about it.
Marika de Vienne 23:29
Yeah, and the best way to do that, I mean, you can always email us but you know, just throw it up on Instagram.
Freedom Taylor 23:34
Yeah, comment on some of our posts, send us a DM, reach out to us on Facebook or on Twitter as well, too. I'm just here to talk tea.
Marika de Vienne 23:41
It’s what we do. So Freedom, thank you so much for liberating us from the notion that tea is just hot cup. I hope you'll come back again.
Freedom Taylor 23:49
Yes, cast me for season three please! This is so exciting.
Marika de Vienne 23:55
Absolutely. And thank you for listening to today's mini episode. If you would like to reach us with comments, questions or topics for another mini episode. You can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through our website davidstea.com. Have a great week and happy steeping everyone.
about the guest
Meet Freedom! He first joined the DAVIDsTEA team back in 2011 with our Spring Collection starring a ton of seriously stellar hits like Goji Pop, Movie Night and Lime Gelato. If you happened to shop in our retail stores between 2011 and 2018, chances are you browsed displays designed by yours truly. This delightful human bleeds teal and can often be found drinking a huge mason jar of iced tea while writing jokes for DAVIDsTEA’s social media accounts (that’s his new gig and he like totally digs it). Obsessed with mixing teas together, nostalgic flavours, colourful iced TeaPops and experimenting with layered lattes, Free (FYI we call him Free because well, he embodies it oh so well) proves that tea rules are meant to be… adapted? P.S. Freedom and the term “fun steeper” are pretty much synonymous because he’s actual living proof that it’s okay to think outside the cup. In fact, here at DAVIDsTEA, we encourage it.