So this tea is a bit of a conundrum. No, not the taste. The reason why I found myself drinking it.
You see, we had a bit of a post-Thanksgiving cold and snowy spell, and yet somehow I found myself making cold brew tea. Why? Because I read about it and then set it up because I wanted to try it and I thought I would forget about doing it if I didn’t try it immediately, and things like “oh the temperature is about to drop 30 degrees” doesn’t really figure into my thinking.
But it turned out all right: I went and shoveled snow (all 1.5 inches of it, how heroic of me) and that warmed me up, and I then had a glass of this cold brew.
Cold brewing tea is very easy: 5g of tea for every one cup of cold water. Put in some kind of container, and then put it in the fridge and let it sit for 5-24 hours. I had been told that the taste would be milder and less bitter, but that more of the catechins/antioxidants would brew out during the process.
I don’t have any idea if the bit about antioxidants is true, but it is in fact absolutely true that cold brew tea is tasty and delicious, all the sweetness and complexity of tea with very little of the bitterness.
I’m not sure I would suggest this as a Fun Winter Drink unless you, like me, do things because you are afraid that you will forget they exist if you don’t try them immediately.
But I predict I will be trying a lot more cold brews this summer, assuming that I remember that this is a thing I am capable of doing in seven months. 😂
deep in…whatever this is
Books come to me in different ways. Some of them, I have to fight for from the beginning to the end. Some of them arrive on wings like a gift.
Right now, I am dealing with something that feels rather like it's arriving on the wings of a bird of prey so large that it could probably end me. The story feels like a gift--a spiked gift, poisonous and hopeful at the same time. The story has its own heartbeat, and I am trying to unearth it.
I found the first piece of this when I was doing some minor side research for The Marquess who Mustn't, and it hasn't really let me go. Usually I find pieces to stories and then they mull around in my head for years until they turn into books, but this one is demanding my attention.
I don't really want to say publicly what this is or why I'm there at the moment. I want to let things play out however they happen to do so.
Just know that you can write however many books I've written at the moment (close to twenty? is what my website tells me. Closer to thirty if we include novellas) and still be taken for a ride by something that comes along unexpectedly.
The Marquis who Mustn't
Speaking of The Marquis who Mustn't--I will tell you one little thing about this.
I knew that I wanted Kai in The Marquis who Mustn't to have lived all over the world, because in the era when this book is set--the 1890s--the Chinese Diaspora meant that there were Chinese people who lived all over the world. But I waffled on where in the world he would have been until I sat down to do some research. (That's the research that gave me the thing that's playing out right now.)
At first, I thought he might have lived in Canada, because Chinese people helped build the Canadian railways, too. But then I thought having him live somewhere in the United States.
It was that research that provided me the nugget that has never left me alone. I ended up placing Kai somewhere different, simply because I knew that I needed…something else.
One of the things I love most about reading Kit Rocha books is how the two of them write characters who mix strength and vulnerability. The premise of this book--a princess promised to an immortal, powerful ruler, who has been sent as an assassin--could have been one-note in less talented hands.
But the princess and her bodyguard are deeply in love--not just in lust, but so tangled in love that they would give their lives for each other. And the immortal, powerful ruler they have been given to doesn't give in to petty jealousy or foolish disputes, making a tiresome plot where as a reader, you're left rooting for one leg of the love triangle to get kicked out from the other.
Instead, Ash, the immortal embodiment of the Dragon, demonstrates that in the centuries he's lived he's actually learned something in his time on the planet, and in the course of so doing, he becomes (at least in my mind) so much hotter than the powerful fantasy being who somehow can't stop throwing a tantrum: “I am not some insecure human boy, to feel threatened by my consort having another lover. If you want each other, then take her. Pleasure her well for me, Zanya. I'll enjoy feeling her come.”
This book is not about a powerful immortal trampling over the boundaries of two women who truly love one another. It's ultimately about Sachi, the princess who has never been in control of her own destiny and who nonetheless cannot stop hoping or opening herself to the possibility of love, and Zanya, the sharp blade of a bodyguard who believes in nothing in the world except for Sachi. And the hard-won happy ending--and it is won so, so hard--comes about because all three of them come to a love so deep that it seems to come from everywhere.
I absolutely loved these characters and this book, and I hope you will, too.
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.