So one of my occasional indulgences is a latte mix made by clevrblends. These things are pretty much the opposite of my tea routine: my tea routine is tea and hot water.
But these mixes have no sugar (after having COVID in 2020, sugar makes my heart rate spike, so I try to avoid it when I can; these are sweetened with erythritol) and no dairy (I am lactose intolerant and most hot chocolate mixes have dairy in them) and have a variety of additives (functional mushrooms and herbs) for supposed impact. I have never had any of their coffee flavors, but I do like their rose hot chocolate—it’s my reward when it’s toe-numbingly cold out and yet I still manage to be a responsible dog owner and take my dog for a walk.
They are extremely simple: add hot water, and mix. They even have a starter kit that comes with a little portable foamer which is very cool because even though there is no chemical difference between the liquid itself or the liquid foamed, foam is actually just delightful. (I also usually make these with about half the recommended product because I prefer it that way, and that incidentally makes each cup a lot cheaper.)
Disclaimer: I mostly prefer my tea unadulterated. For instance, I think that Earl Grey is a sin and an abomination and it only exists because traders had a bunch of tea shavings and they figured they could pawn this poor quality off on people who didn’t know better by adding orange flavor. Earl Grey has only become worse as people have learned to extract bergamot flavor, because this turns into this very one-note artificial-tasting floral/citrus scent.
I know! Some people like Earl Grey! You are allowed to like it, and I can still love you even if your taste in tea gives me the shudders.
Anyway, Clevr Blends announced a “London Fog” latte, which is supposedly their latte blend with an earl-grey alike. I thought, first, “this sounds like an abomination,” and second, “let’s try it anyway.”
Having tried it, I have this to say: this latte is very true to the roots of Earl Grey. Which is to say, the tea flavor is bland and almost nonexistent, and the bergamot lingers in an almost unhealthy way. There is a touch of vanilla which is nice. But the bergamot? I finished my cup half a hour ago and I can still taste the cloying scent of bergamot extract clinging to the roof of my mouth. The whole thing is a vehicle for something rich and mildly sweet and foamy and creamy, and sometimes you do want that, I guess. I do have good things to say about it: it’s not too sweet, which I prefer. And… um… Okay, it’s not too sweet.
I think if you do like Earl Grey (many people do! Just not me! I will not judge you just because I judge your tea!) you will like this very much.
So here’s my non-endorsement: I will stick to the hot chocolate.
Nonetheless, in case you want to try this (or the hot chocolate, which is lovely), I have a referral link.
The last time I shared a referral link and promised to send out any of the tea cups I got from the referral, you all went completely bonkers and I ended up sending out 22 tea cups. I am not going to make any promises with this version! But disclaimer: I get product credit if you use this link. You are not obligated to do so. If you purchase using this link, you will help keep me in hot chocolate for winter walks with Pele, and winter is coming.
One of the things I’m trying to manage in my life is this very lovely problem: I buy too much tea. I always have, but due to this newsletter, I now have an excuse to buy way too much tea. I want to try new teas, and even though I try to buy in thoughtful sample sizes, I still end up with extra tea.
At some point a month ago I had a brainwave (not a good one) and I went down the rabbit hole of thinking I could do something like a tea subscription thingy? And divide larger packages into like three or four sessions so that tea didn’t go to waste. And then—I don’t know, I went down a whole rabbit hole of excitement and glee and snowballing details. At the end of the rabbit hole I realized that in order to do any of this, I would need to collect sales tax and have executive function.
I had to stop and say “wait a second, I do not want to be a purveyor of tea! Why would I purvey tea if I do not want to be a purveyor of tea?”
I still have the problem of having excess tea. I think I am going to solve this problem the way that all problems should be solved: by just giving away tea occasionally, at random, when it looks like I have tea that I probably won’t drink.
It is less lucrative than tea purveying but also, I don’t have to figure out sales tax, and I am deeply committed to the project of me never having to figure out sales tax.
Therefore: I am giving away three (or more) boxes of tea samples. US addresses only. (Non-US people: I am very sorry, the cost of sending packages outside the US is prohibitive—it would cost me more to send these packages than the tea is worth.)
Your odds of winning will depend on the number of entries.
Enter by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by November 22nd, 2023. Once informed that you have won, you will have 72 hours to send me your address; otherwise, your win will be forfeit.
The Pursuit Of…
Speaking of randomly becoming a purveyor of things due to ADHD: one of my favorite things that happens as an author is when something totally unplanned just pops out of nowhere. When I was writing this novella, and Henry was in a camp looking for John, I remember writing someone asking him why he was there, and I struggled for a moment to come up with a concise and non-boring explanation that was vaguely correct.
The problem, of course, is that the entire premise of the question is useless. He has to answer “why” but the why is just a summation of what happened in the previous chapter, and repeating the thing that just happened is always going to be boring, because even though the character is asking, the reader already knows. After trying three separate things, I thought, “The real problem here is trying to be correct. Why? Cheese. He’s selling cheese.”
And that’s why Henry has a large amount of the most abominable cheese in the world (it’s actually very good!) in this book.
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