This week, I’m having a fukamushicha from Zandaka. (I’ve mentioned Zandaka in weekly tea before: they’re a small Etsy seller who is local-ish to me, and every tea I’ve had from them has been beyond excellent.)
A brief explanation about what fukamushicha is: If you want to make a green tea, there is a stage called the “kill green” stage where you heat the tea leaves to stop them from oxidizing. In China, this step is often (but not always) conducted by pan-firing the leaves over a hot wok, leading to caramelization of the leaves and a nuttier taste to the tea. In Japan, this step is often (but not always) conducted by flash-steaming the leaves, usually for thirty to forty seconds, resulting in a grassier taste.
Fukamushicha is a deep-steamed tea: steamed long enough that the tea leaves begin to break down, resulting in a tea that’s milky sweet without a touch of bitterness. (It also means that you get little bits of leaf suspended in your tea: it’s a feature, not a bug.)
In general, flash-steamed teas are not to my taste, and I tried this one only because I’ve had great experiences with the other teas from this seller. But this is not a flash-steamed tea, and my trepidation fell away with the first sip. It’s sweet and warm like a sunny spring morning. This hits all my happy centers, and now it’s going in my morning green tea rotation.
A fun note on teaware
As I was writing this up, I realized that I brewed the fukamushicha using both my oldest and my newest pieces of teaware.
Upper left: the oldest piece of teaware, a teapot
Lower right: the newest teaware, a fancy teacup
I didn’t actually drink tea (by which I mean, tea made with tea leaves, not herbal teas) until I was in my twenties for reasons we will not get into at this point. I was a college student on an extremely tight budget when I first started drinking tea, so at first I just used whatever mug was available, and honestly didn’t get the big deal.
My first purchase of dedicated teaware was in Chinatown in San Francisco when I was a graduate student at Berkeley. I spent hours with friends going through shop after shop looking for a teapot inside my (slightly less tight) budget. This one was $15, and seeing as how I’m still using it 23 years later, that’s a pretty good purchase.
My newest purchase happened last week in a moment of weakness, mostly because the cup appeared so beautiful in marketing emails. I do not need more tea cups, I have twenty-seven bazillion teacups, my teacup storage runneth over but also… Rainbow! Gold! Peacock!
My entire brain turned into a pile of goo whispering “shiny shiny shiny” and somehow a purchase happened in this melted state (please note the clever use of passive voice to obscure the person doing the purchasing, myself). And now I have a new teacup. It is in fact even more beautiful than the marketing pictures—my own certainly do not do it justice.
I thought long and hard about this next section because I’m actually trying not to make this newsletter into a den of affiliate marketing iniquity, but here’s the link to the teacup, and if you want to get 10% of your purchase, you can use this code at check out: LXZ-Z05YJBV.
Using this code also gives me $5 in store credit which is deeply problematic because I have zero room to store more teacups, but also, my deeply frugal soul rebels at the idea of letting store credit go to waste. I thought about not giving you all the code or the link just so I wouldn’t have to handle this difficult problem of feeling compelled to get a beautiful teacup for which I have no room, and decided that if I somehow get enough in store credit to get another teacup, I will get it and give it away to you all in some random fashion.
a book by me (add alt text)
I am in the middle of a deep dive into pottery for the next Wedgeford book (code name: fake fake marriage) and that means thinking about tea ware and pottery a lot.
Among other things, I’m thinking about the fact that there is a fine china set in After the Wedding featuring tigers. One of my editors suggestions for The Duke who Didn’t was “what if you put the china set from After the Wedding as an easter egg in The Duke who Didn’t?”
Having written as much as I have of Title-to-be-Revealed/Wedgeford II, I’m really glad I didn’t, because it turns out that…
Well, that’s going to be a spoiler, so I will edit it out.
I don’t feel confident enough to give a release date for the next book, although I have one in my head, so let me just say this: I am working hard to have a new release (fake fake marriage and pottery scams) in summer of 2023.
Until then, if you want to read the bone china that is kind of an opposing book end for the angry pottery rant…
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