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the weekly tea
sencha (again)
from SONO Organic
weekly tea: hand-rolled sencha
You are not misreading. This is the literal, exact same tea that I talked about two months ago. You know, the one I tried to like but did not?
It has been a long-ish journey. To summarize: It started with me trying a kabusecha and finding it to be okay, in the good-ish region if you do everything right. I then tried this sencha, another sencha, spent about three weeks immersing myself in a truly excellent gyokuro that I came to really like, and finally discovered, via this matcha, that apparently I now like matcha? And do not taste the thing that I always taste in matcha?
Did I do it? Did I actually change my taste buds?
Maybe the issue was that this matcha that I got was particularly good?
So anyway, I went back to the tea that made me ask the question: do I not like Japanese green teas for some reason, and can I make myself like them?
Answer: I no longer taste the thing that I didn't like about this tea. There is no bitterness. It does not taste weirdly grassy to me. It is just a delicious, complex, sweet tea. It's not that I came to tolerate or appreciate the taste: I no longer taste it. I can't even identify its presence. The process of acquiring a taste is objectively weird and mysterious and fun.
It's not like the chemical composition has changed, but it's also not like “flavor" is an objective determination. If I had to guess at a mechanism, I would say that this is probably one of the weird biological brain things the body does: we taste bitter things because bitter things are often toxic, and so it's a signal to not eat said thing. I'm guessing if you taste something “bitter” often enough and don't get sick, your brain just says “ah, this is okay, we don't want to scare ourselves off viable food” and turns off the bitter signal.
My husband has pointed out that this means I could probably train myself to like coffee (I do not). I considered this for about three seconds. He is probably right: I could train myself to like coffee.*
But why would I do that, when there is so much tea in the world?
* He also mentioned that I could train myself to like beer, but that's probably not as simple: I can't metabolize alcohol well, and so small amounts (think half a shot glass of beer) make me tipsy, give me a hangover, and give rise to other digestive woes that I will leave to your imagination.

one week?
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Somehow this book is coming out next week. Not next month, not next year: in seven days.
I am honestly the worst at self-promotion and so every time I'm like “say something to make people want to buy this book” my mind turns into a blank. 
My mind is even more blank right now than usual. Buy this book? I like it.
Buy The Marquis who Mustn't on:

I'm giving away Jian Zhan
Some months ago, I posted a picture of some Jian Zhan / tenmoku tea cups. The store I bought them from gave me an affiliate code that allowed people to get 10% off, and then I would get $5 of store credit, I said that if I somehow got enough to get a tea cup I would do a giveaway.
Within a week, I had $190 dollars in credit. So I bought a bunch of cups and planned to do a giveaway, but by the time the cups arrived, I had another $50 in credit, so I thought I would wait until things kind of settled down and I knew how much I had. About $150 later, I made another order.
But people kept using the stupid code, and I kept being on “wait and see” mode and now I have like 15 cups to give away and I still have $45 in credit, $10 of which I got last night. It has been seven months! How is this still happening? How are you all still buying cups? I cannot possibly give away all the cups you are all going to generate because they keep coming!
So here's how the giveaway works: send an email to Put a color of the rainbow (red orange yellow green blue indigo or violet) in the subject line, or alternately, you can choose “rainbow.” That will enter you into a drawing for a cup that either is of that color, or contains that color. There will be at least one giveaway for each color. You must follow those exact directions: the email to that exact email, and one of the eight options for colors in the subject line. This is not because I'm mean and love rules; it's just that this will be how I sort my email to find your entry.
I will randomly draw the winner from those who enter by Saturday, October 22nd.
I will email the winners when they are drawn. You will have 72 hours to respond with the address to which the cup should be shipped; if you do not respond, you will forfeit your win, and someone else will be chosen to receive your cup.
This giveaway is limited to US addresses only simply because there are so many of these and it would be cost-prohibitive for me to send them outside the US.
Your odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. One entry per person. No purchase necessary, and honestly, I do not have the spoons to do any kind of real verification. Void where prohibited.

Until next week!
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