Header for Courtney’s weekly tea
An illustrated purple gaiwan filled with amber liquid
the weekly tea
Rosehip Tea
from my front yard
weekly tea: rosehip tea
I have had rosehip tea before, often as an ingredient in herbal tea blends. My impression of the ingredient is that it’s tart and full of vitamin C and basically nothing else.
I had read that the hips get sweeter if you let them linger on the plant until the first frost, so last winter, I waited to harvest the hips on the top of our single, Colorado-native rosebush until after…uh, technically, the first three frosts, but nobody’s counting. (I left the ones lower down for the local fauna to munch on through the winter, only taking the ones they can’t reach.) I washed and dried them whole in the oven when I was baking something else, cut them open and dumped the seeds. The goal was definitely going to do a weekly tea with them as soon as I remembered it needed to be done.
That happened today, a mere five months later. From what I knew of rosehips, I was expecting a tart, almost mouth-puckering tea. Instead, I was shocked by how sweet the tea started out. The brewing liquid took on the faintest hint of color, and the taste was pleasantly sweet and full with just a kiss of mild tartness. The longer it brewed, the more that tartness grew, until the final half-inch of water was almost sour.
I don’t think my rosebush will ever produce more than one or two pots of tea per year, which is great, because that’s exactly the amount of patience I have for this, but there was a special joy in sitting and looking out on a sunny day, with spring threatening to make things grow right around the corner, while enjoying the fruits of very mild labor.
(Food harvesting safety notes: The seeds are toxic in the sense that they, like apple seeds, contain cyanide—a few won’t kill you but don’t consume large quantities. The hips contain hairs that can be irritating if you eat them straight, a thing I discovered on my own when I chomped one without rinsing to see what it tasted like. Don’t eat anything that is molded or not dried properly or you don’t know for sure that it’s absolutely a rosehip and not something of unknown toxicity. It is possible to be allergic to rosehips, so if you’re thinking of doing this on your own, please be aware and stay safe! Finally, I’m not an expert on this so if you have any other concerns, please look for another source to be safe.)

A poll about this newsletter…
I’ve been thinking about this tea newsletter recently.
First, I am shocked beyond words that I have done this newsletter EVERY WEEK for (quick and rough count) NINETY FLIPPING WEEKS. I once said that if there was a button and I simply had to press it once a week in order to live forever, I would live to the age of next month by virtue of forgetting to press the stupid button.
The reason that this works is that with one notable portion, this newsletter is neither repetitive nor a task. In the absence of this newsletter, I would still sit and drink tea and think random things. (98% of tea newsletter is written while drinking tea.) All I’m doing is telling you about it.
Second, from what I can tell from other author friends, my newsletter open rate is…off the charts. Like, higher than 70%, which is shockingly, stupidly, alarmingly high. Thank you all. It’s pretty humbling that some of you actually enjoy this.
I convinced myself to do this newsletter in the first place because something something newsletters sell books, a girl needs to eat, blah blah blah. The problem: I enjoy every part of this newsletter except the bit where I’m like “and this is how it vaguely relates to the books I write, which you can actually purchase with money.” This is always the part I write frantically 10 seconds before I send it.
This part also gets harder the longer I do this newsletter because I do a newsletter per week and only write a book every…ugh, let’s not commit to any particular schedule. This averages out to a lot of repetition of books, and my brain hates repetitive tasks.
Anyway, the longer the newsletter goes on, the more I have to repeat books, and the more repetitive and awful that particular task becomes, and the more I hate it. (Some of you may notice I skipped it altogether last week. Most of you may not have noticed that.)
All of this tells me that we are heading for newsletter implosion: the part I don’t like to do is getting more and more annoying, meaning at some point I will conveniently begin to forget that this newsletter exists and then remember with a shock that it has been six months since I sent the last one. I will then proceed to be too embarrassed to ever look any of you in the newsletter again.
Here are some options I’m thinking about to avoid that:
  1. Keep doing the same thing over and over and risk eventual newsletter death by boredom. I’m sure it’ll be fine. It’s never worked before in my entire life, but there’s always a chance. Problem: lol.
  2. Just…not…doing that part. Problem: the newsletter costs money to send, and I’m afraid that if I remove the vague fig leaf of “oh yeah, this thing I’m doing is absolutely a valid business activity,” the entire enterprise will fall apart in the strange, and let’s be honest, completely bizarre environment that is Courtney Actually Doing a Thing on a Regular Basis.
  3. Include a vague, repetitive, partially-changing statement about the existence of my books in every newsletter and only bother to say something specific about a book when I actually have something specific to say. I’m including an example of what this vague statement might look like in this newsletter. Problem: this may be less effective than something actually specific about a specific book.
  4. Add some kind of tip jar/Patreon/who-knows-what kind of thing to directly semi-monetize the newsletter by setting up an option for people who want to and wouldn’t mind doing so. (The newsletter itself would remain free.) Problem: I hate asking people for things, and also, people might hate being asked.
  5. Change the part about my books to, I don’t know, a Reader React bit? Provide a prompt so that if people want to send in a Thing About a Book of Mine for inclusion in Weekly Tea, I don’t have to write that part? Problem: I hate asking people to do things and also I sometimes have Stupid Brain Issues reading compliments and also also I would have to remind people to do this? Argh.
I have been forcing myself to do #1 for approximately a year at this point and it’s getting worse by the newsletter. 
Since you are reading this, your opinion about what you like to see is important to me. (With the exception of #1, none of these solutions are mutually exclusive, so the actual answer may be a mix.)
(I forgot to send this yesterday because…uh, it was my husband’s birthday and I forgot it was an actual day, not because of any of the things mentioned yesterday).

Until next week!
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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.