Martha Stewart Has So Many Tea Rules (And Refuses To Drink PSLs)- Exclusive Interview

It is hard to imagine Martha Stewart buying any premade food at a store. She has built an empire by showing people how to cook and create quality food and crafts at home. However, even she knows that sometimes, you would rather spend your time doing something else, such as playing the harp or learning woodworking. That is why she has joined forces with Pure Leaf Tea in the "Don't Do It Yourself" promotion.

With this promotion, Stewart is encouraging people to take a break and let someone else do the work for once while you sip a delicious cup of tea. Additionally, starting today, fans can enter to win a custom "DDIY" Pure LeafxMartha Stewart Tea kit, complete with a glass pitcher, custom ice cube mold, wooden mixing spoon, and dried fruit, all of which are paired with Pure Leaf tea. The combination gives an elegant look to the drink, but it isn't just for show. We know Stewart would not promote a product that did not meet her rigorous standards for taste and quality. 

We sat down with Martha to talk to her about the "Don't Do It Yourself" promotion as well as what you should be spending your time on instead.

Pure Leaf is well brewed

Tell us a little more about this Don't Do It Yourself promotion with Pure Leaf.

It's a little bit tongue in cheek. It's not really difficult to make iced tea, but it does take a little bit of time, and we thought it would be cute to emphasize what you can do in the time it takes you to make iced tea. The little spots that we made are funny — ones of me learning how to play a harp, and ones of me woodcarving furniture, and it's fun.

What are the hallmarks of a truly well brewed iced tea?

First of all, good tea, and not necessarily as leaf tea. Pure Leaf, it's not in a tea bag. Nowadays, everybody's so conscious of this and that and what is the bag made out of? They're now putting tea in fabric bags. I won't buy stuff like that. I buy loose tea, and I use a nice stainless steel strainer or a little silver tea bowl to brew my tea, because I don't trust a lot of stuff. Where's the paper coming from? Not that you can't drink it, but it's a little bit scary to do stuff like that. 

I love the flavor of the Pure Leaf. We love the unsweetened Pure Leaf tea, especially, and I put a whole case of it in my refrigerator, where other people take drinks from, that disappeared. It was less than a day for it to disappear. Everybody liked it so much. It's refreshing and it's very tasty tea, grown in both South America and in Africa on big farms that are specifically for Pure Leaf.

Martha Stewart's favorite teas

Are you a green tea person or a black tea person?

I am more black tea, and Pure Leaf is more black tea, and a very flavorful tea. My mother used to tell me all the time, "I worked in a store that had all tins of those old English tins of tea with the covers, and it was real tin," and she said, "We sold the oolongs and we sold the blends and we sold the rose teas," and she told me all about it, all about all the different teas. We would taste all the different kinds of teas as I was growing up, and I found my favorite teas. This tea is very close to my favorite.

What variety is Pure Leaf using?

I do not know for sure. It's not a smoky tea. It's not an oolong, which is roasted over tar. When you start investigating where these flavors come from, it's odd. It's not a Fortmason tea, which has lemon in it. It's a pretty nice pure tea with a very nice flavor.

If consumers want to elevate their glass of tea, are there any things they can add in to give it a real wow factor?

I pour mine over ice, and in a glass, because I like to drink out of a glass, not a bottle necessarily. I like it with mint. I have mint plants growing all year round at my farm, and I also like to have a slice of lemon or orange in the tea. It's very nice.

Do you have any tea based cocktails you enjoy?

No, because the whole idea of drinking iced tea is that you don't drink cocktails. For me, it's a substitute for having a drink. [Recently,] I went to a dinner party and I had iced tea, and it was very nice, but it didn't taste as good as Pure Leaf iced tea, I'll tell you that.

What has a place in her kitchen

Aside from Pure Leaf, are there any other time-saving store-bought items you like to keep at the ready?

Butter and milk, I have to buy that. I don't have cows, so I have to buy good milk. Always organic. Good butter — usually, Vermont Creamery or some good high butter fat content. I have a very simple refrigerator, because I make everything from scratch, which is an odd thing for me to be talking about Pure Leaf because I don't have to make it, but it's delicious. If it's delicious, it can have a place in my refrigerator.

Was that the impetus for this partnership, that their product was just high quality, that it earned its position in your kitchen?

Yes, and they make an unsweetened one, which is very nice for me because I don't like a lot of sugar, except in sugary cakes.

With holidays just around the corner, what are some of your favorite dishes that you'll have on the table?

Turkey. I love a good roast turkey. I've been experimenting with, not a new method because I've done it before, but I've never really promoted it so much, and it's a parchment-wrapped roasted turkey. After you stuff your turkey and slather it with soft butter, you wrap it in an envelope of parchment paper. You need those great big sheets of baker's parchment. You wrap it this way and you staple it shut and you roast it. All the directions will be on our website, but it is so delicious, and then unwrap it about a half an hour before it's done. It then gets, it'd be almost like Peking duck skin. I cannot tell you, it is so utterly delicious. That's my new method, meaning the cheesecloth method with soaked-in butter and white wine is very good, but this I like better.

What dishes will we not find on your table this holiday season?

I like traditional Thanksgiving. I like homemade stuffings. I'm not going to have sausage stuffing, because I don't like sausage anymore. I used to like sausage, but I don't like it anymore. I make my own cranberry, I make my own pommes de terre puree, carrots. I have pretty much all the traditional things on the table.

Nothing says the holidays like pie

I've been using your pie crust recipe for probably 20 years now. I love that recipe.

It works perfectly.

Do you have any tips for people who are trying their hand for the first time making a homemade pie crust?

I find it very easy if you follow the directions and make it in a food processor. It takes about 13 seconds to make it, and don't make it into a ball when you chill it. Make it into a flat round. The easiest thing to do is put it on a piece of plastic wrap, cover it, and roll it a little bit flat into a round with a rolling pin. That brings it all together and it's so nice. You have that chilled round flat of patisserie and you can roll it into your pie dish. It's very easy and very tasty, as you said.

Do you have a favorite pie flavor or recipe?

For Thanksgiving, I really love pumpkin pie, and I really love apple pie, or apple tart. I used to love pecan and chocolate pecan, but I don't like it as much as I used to, so it's more pumpkinny. That does not mean pumpkin latte.

Are you not a big fan of the pumpkin spice latte, the super sugary?

No, forget it.

What are some of your favorite homemade food gifts for during the holiday season?

I make a pie for everybody on my property. I have to make about 25 pies the day before Thanksgiving. I bought myself a sheeter, where you roll the dough out. I make all my pate brisees ahead of time and then I roll them out the day before, and then I give a choice. They can have pumpkin, they can have apple, they can have mince, they can have pecan, or they can have lemon meringue if they want. That's harder, because you have to make the same day. Cranberry tart is really good too. That's what they get — a choice, and then they take them home.

How do you make that many pies?

I have big ovens and I can do it, it's not so hard, although I just remembered — last year, I said I was never going to do it again. I'll probably do it again.

What holiday events or traditions are you looking forward to this year?

Celebration. I love holidays, and it's really nice to celebrate with your family and your friends as often and as nicely as possible, with everything homemade, handmade, that kind of stuff.

For more information and to enter to win a custom Pure Leaf x Martha Stewart "Don't Do It Yourself" tea kit, visit

This interview has been edited for clarity.