Image item
the weekly tea
miao jian king
miao jian king
from white2tea
weekly tea: miao jian king v. miao jian king
Last year, for the first time in my life, I ordered fresh green teas—teas that had been picked from the first tiny leaves of tea to poke out after winter in high altitudes, prepared with care, and then immediately sent to be consumed. Apparently, fresh green teas are the best.
It was probably my first time having young green teas of reasonable quality, so of course they were amazing.
This year, I almost ran out of my formerly fresh, now a year old, green tea before it became new green tea season again. I say “almost” because I had gone through everything except about two servings of miao jian king which I was holding on to as, I don’t know? Emergency green tea? In case there was a green tea emergency and I ran out? That sounds like a real thing that could definitely happen somewhere outside my brain. (Thank you, brain, amazing work.)
As it happened, I bought more fresh miao jian king this year, and it arrived while I still had a tiny amount of the old miao jian king left. So I decided to have a head-to-head taste test to see what a year of aging did to fresh green tea. 
Why, when the benefits of fresh green tea are widely discussed? I guess, stubbornness. Just because everyone says it’s better doesn’t mean it’s actually something I think is better, right? Shouldn’t I decide for myself?
(There are other confounding factors in the experiment: tea tastes different from year to year, due to changing weather conditions. Nonetheless!)
I prepared both teas the same way, using identical tea to water ratios, the same temperature of water, the same brewing time, and so forth. Then I drank them: a sip from one, then a sip from another.
I was kind of worried when I started this: what if the difference was too subtle? What if I couldn’t tell? What if I liked the old green tea better? Would that mean that I had bad taste in tea? Would it make me a tea fraud? Would I have to confess to tea fraudulence in my very own tea newsletter?
It turns out that it was extremely goofy to be worried. The difference is not subtle at all. It’s almost like the difference between fresh and dried basil, although maybe not that pronounced. (Perhaps freshly dried basil versus basil that has sat in a bottle, unused, for a year, might be a better comparison). Neither is necessarily bad, but there are ephemeral compounds in the fresh(er) basil that mean it smells better and tastes different. You can tell that they are the same thing, but one just feels faded in comparison to the other. The fresh green tea had a much fuller taste to it; the older green tea was maybe just a little more bitter in the aftertaste.
I have now convinced myself that fresh, newly picked green tea is in fact far superior, which is a thing that everyone already knew. Huzzah for confirming experiments, I guess?
In reading this over, it seems that this taste test says more about me than the actual tea. I get to jump from shortage anxiety (hello, my old friend) to arrogance (perhaps I am in fact actually the only one, stubborn edition) to anxiety that I am doing everything wrong, including drinking tea (aka, perhaps I am in fact the only one, anxiety edition).

The great brain adventure!
One of the things I have spent the last…uh…forty-something years untangling is how to live with the brain that I have, which is at this point is what it is through a combination of nature and nurture (or anti-nurture, depending on the circumstance).
Standard advice sometimes works but often does not. “Just do this thing every day for 21 days and you have a habit!” Apparently, that’s not always a thing that works for people with ADHD? Great.
There’s a big gap between want and will, and the older I get, the more I learn that despite having some pretty decent analytical features, I am very much an animal at base, and the bridge between what I want and what I have the executive function to easily accomplish cannot be built entirely of rationality. Instead, I have to use my rational functions to figure out how to thread step by irrational step together into something that begins to make sense.
Other people have blueprints for this; they may work for other people. But the specific territory of my brain is half-swamp, half-desert, half-mountain, half-sea, and so I’m doing everything by myself.
All of that sounds terrifying, I guess, except for one particular facet of my brain that has always been my saving grace: I enjoy a challenge.
This is a very general discussion about how I’m feeling regarding some very specific things in my life; I don’t want to get into the weeds because things are kind of murky right now and I’m not sure I’m headed in the right direction. I am, however, convinced that I finally know where to head.
I spent twenty-nine years of my life agonizing over the fact that my brain is different,, another thirteen years trying to figure out how my brain differs. It’s only in this last stretch that I’ve accepted that it’s different and realized that my life is in fact, a great brain adventure.
I don’t know where it will take me, but isn’t that the nature of an adventure?

Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure
Image item
One of the things about getting older is that the older I get, the more I understand what I can change and what I can’t—also, the more time I’ve spent ignoring the people who insist that I can change things that I actually can’t.
It was kind of a joy for me to write someone like Bertrice, who was so firmly set in the ways of who she was, who knew who she was, and wasn’t going to change in fundamentals, and didn’t even want to try.
Buy Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure on:

Until next week!
Image item

This has been Courtney's Weekly Tea, a weekly newsletter about tea, books, and everything else. If you don't want to receive this email, or do want to receive additional emails about Courtney's books/book events/etc, please use the links below to unsubscribe from this list or to manage your mailing list preferences.