Header for Courtney’s weekly tea
An illustrated purple gaiwan filled with amber liquid
the weekly tea
Jamrock Steady
from white2tea
weekly tea: jamrock steady
This tea is a blend. Normally, I don’t like my tea adulterated with things, but this is a tea that is adultered with a different kind of tea. Specifically, it blends 10 year aged raw pu-erh and 2 year aged ripe pu-erh with the goal of infusing a little bit of both: the complexity of raw pu-erh and the smoothness of raw, to mimic tea that has aged much, much more.
Tea leaves: thin black ones (presumably the ripe pu-erh) intertwined with fuller green leaves (presumably the raw pu-erh).
The leaves, dumped after the final steep so that you can see the two kinds of leaves in this particular tea blend. 
I had read about this in the tea club letter when the mini arrived, I didn’t actually remember which was which. So I broke open the tea and brewed it, and my first impression was that this tea was delightful. It captures that taste of an aged tea almost perfectly. This is the kind of thing that is so good I want to get a full cake to put into the regular rotation (as compared to the teas I try just for the fun of it).
Most of all, I love the idea of problem-solving with tea blends: of taking a little bit of a new solution and a little bit of an old solution to come up with something that does more than we expected.
At $54 for a 200g cake (about 29 sittings—about $2 a sitting) or $2.10 for a single 7 gram mini, this tea is in the “pricey but not bonkers” category.

Fun with Historical Research
I recently had a phone call with someone who asked me the question about what I thought the difference was between romance and books in genres that are considered as more literary, which didn't get counted as “romance” but had significant romantic plots and happy endings. And I'm not going to recount the whole of that conversation, but I will say that this person said something that surprised me: that an agent had told them that the difference was that the more literary genres did more research.
After I finished my hysterical laughter, and reminded her of that time a literary historical author accidentally copied a red dye recipe from Zelda by stupid googling, I went back to work. And the very next day, I hit a part of the book where I realized I needed to figure out how something worked. It took me a few hours to figure out what I needed to figure out, and while taking notes from Charles Summer Partridge's Stereotyping: The Papier Mache Process, I recalled another historical fiction book I'd read--again, something considered more upmarket and literary. It was set a few decades after I write, and in that book, a character typesets a manuscript and then keeps the typeset forms to reprint the book later, if necessary.
That was the point when I realized that I was absolutely doing more research than the author had done. My work comes earlier, and yet the process of stereotyping (stereotype means “solid type”--in historical usage, this referred taking a typeset form and making a cast of it using one of several processes, which you can then use as a mold to make printing plates, so that you can reuse your very expensive type on other projects) had been around for over a century by the time I wrote, and lithographic printing options were beginning to really come into their own. (One of the historical manuals on stereotyping estimated that an experienced stereotyper could take a typeset manuscript to a printing plate in six minutes, to give you an idea of the skill involved here.) So that other author was about two hundred years out of date on their estimation of technology.
Just to be clear, I am sure I also make mistakes--but it's very clear to me that “research” is not the thing that divides me from the more literary authors. Ultimately, this particular goof didn't really impact the book, and you know, we all make mistakes.
But if there's anything I want to capture in my books, it's that history is not as shallow as some people want to think. People of color existed, and were even able to find happiness in spite of everything. All women did not conform to societal expectations; all people did not believe the same things in lockstep. Neurodivergent people existed and thrived; they also existed and were punished for it. History could be as rich and progressive as it was mean and regressive. Technology has always been moving forward, piece by piece, instead of in giant leaps.
We have always been here, for any value of we. We have always showed up. It's just a matter of finding where and how and who.

Against Shallow History
One of the places where shallow history does actually hurt? When the Supreme Court engages in it to strip rights from people.
Perhaps the most radicalizing discovery of my legal career happened when, post Supreme-Court clerkship, I started writing historical romance novels. 
Let's take, for instance, Alito's opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Health, which overturned Roe v. Wade.
So here's the thing: trying to correlate an abortion in 1792 with an abortion today makes no sense for a number of reasons. First, there were no accurate pregnancy tests: go back to a 1796 manual on midwifery and the tests for pregnancy were basically like (obviously not using this language) “is perhaps abdomen getting big?” with notes like “not everyone gets big” and “maybe period is stopping?” with notes like “period does not always stop.” Even in 1899, doctors admit that there were few ways to be one hundred percent sure of pregnancy, even many months in.
Think of the state of medical care: they could not always tell if a woman was hemorrhaging or having a period. Likewise, they did not know if a period had stopped because of pregnancy or because of illness, disease, or malnourishment. They could not tell if the abdomen was distending because she had a child or had a serious threat to her health, like a tumor or a parasite. They did not know if she was vomiting because she'd picked up a GI bug or because she had morning sickness. They didn't even know what a GI bug was. All of this is documented pretty extensively in period medical handbooks--I picked these examples because they were listed in an obstetrics manual from 1899 as demonstrations of why doctors needed to be aware that they could not be certain of pregnancy or non-pregnancy.
So what they treated historically was often not the condition of pregnancy, which they could only guess at for many, many months, but the condition of not having a period. And they treated these things often.
It will not be unfeafonable to touch upon a common Complaint among unmarry'd Women, namely The SUPPRESSION OF THE COURSES.
An early American abortion remedy, from Ben Franklin's Every Man His Own Doctor, Or, The Poor Planter's Physician, 1736.
And this brings me to thing number two. Most early forms of abortifacients worked because they were poison, and the dose had to be carefully chosen to kill the fetus but spare the person who was bearing it. People chose abortifacients at the time out of desperation, knowing that they would be risking death by doing so. 
I personally do not think that early abortifacients, or methods of trying to induce miscarriages like pushing pregnant people down the stairs, should be legal. They were incredibly unsafe; people died from trying them. So what does the banning of these dangerous methods mean when trying to evaluate modern abortion?
Now is the time to talk of Sir Matthew Hale, who Alito obligingly quoted. While much has been made of Sir Matthew Hale's angrier qualities (he was a man who wanted to burn witches, a practice I suspect Alito is also fine with), if you actually read the entire section where Alito's quoted language appears, you'll notice that it appears in a section where Sir Matthew Hale is actually talking about whether doctors and surgeons (whether licensed or unlicensed!) should be criminally culpable when their patients die.
The actual statement Sir Matthew Hale is making is that it is criminal to kill a pregnant person by means of an unsafe abortion. Alito puts quotes around the word “murder” and briefly mentions that Hale required that the patient die, but Dobbs of course does not include the entire section. 
This was, in fact, a choice. If Alito had included the whole section, it would have been obvious that the “murder” that Hale refers to is the murder of the  pregnant woman by inadequate medical care--specifically, murder of the patient because she was given a potion that “works ſo ſtrongly, that it kills her.”
If...any gives her a potion to deſtroy the child within her...and it works ſo ſtrongly that it kills her, this is murder
If we took this view as determinative--that it is “murder” for substandard medical care to kill those who are pregnant--Kate Cox would not have had to flee Texas, and Ken Paxton would be facing charges for attempted murder.
And looking at the whole picture (still not great: I'm not gonna pretend Sir Matthew Hale was a paragon of progressive values), we might ask if Matthew Hale's views on unsafe abortions are relevant at all to the question of medical treatments that are incredibly safe and effective. We might then ask questions about the rest of the opinion: what do statutes on abortion, dating from the time of the nation's founding, when abortion was fundamentally unsafe, have to do with our modern versions of abortion? How can we possibly know what the emphasis is?
Why do I, a historical romance author, understand this better than the people who made this opinion the law of the land, and thereby made pregnancy less safe for everyone in this country? 

If you care about this issue, I have two suggestions for you.
First, the West Alabama Women's Center is seeking funding to stay open. They are working in one of the most hostile environments in the nation to help provide desperately needed care.
Second, the Colorado Doula Project provides assistance for people seeking safe abortions, including a large number of out-of-state people who must travel to seek care.

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.