The Monthly Brew (March Recap)

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series The Monthly Brew

March was a somewhat madcap month for me. I’m starting to worry that the date I set for the Soft Reopen may have been a touch ambitious, but not enough so that I’m changing the goal as yet.

The short summation for the month is: I put a ton more teas into the Sale Bin, several posts went up – including a 365Inks test and a poem, the first month of the newly reconfigured Tea of the Month Club was sent out, I started to organize and prioritize the teas in need of naming, and a number of new teas were created. There was also a lot of work done on the continuing process of figuring out storage and patterns and configurations.

Now for the rambling version.

The Sale Bin has been a joy and a glee and a surprise and an amusement. I have been steadily adding teas in and the swiftness with which most of them move right back out has been lovely. It’s been a heartening mix, too, of designated homes. Some of them are going to places where the names and locations are so well worn I can type them from memory and some of them have gone to completely new humans. Both scenarios are a happiness, and having both scenarios adds shimmer to the happiness. There are still a number of teas waiting to be dropped into the Sale Bin – I’ve been half tempted to do a countdown on it after the day where I spent an hour and change working up listings – because I counted after I’d listed as many as I could manage that particular day. 15 remain, and I am going to try to get them all up by the end of this week.

The first posts that went up and probably the most important, in a nuts and bolts fashion were the one explaining the concept of the Soft Reopen and the companion post that went into far more detail on the whys and the wherefores of the when. As is becoming usual, that companion post is password locked and can be accessed via my Patreon or via the newsletter specifically created for that purpose.

The return of 365Inks made my inner child a bit giddy. Only one of the older ink tests is currently available to see, as the introductory post needs some work in the aftermath of last year’s changes – but it is a start, and there will be more coming. Fountain pen and ink play has been one of the stanchions holding up my mental health and I enjoy sharing the beauty and whimsy that come out of said play. MysTeaRy has some thoughts on potentially streaming the ink testing and doodling – but that’s still very much in the “chewing on it” category.

A brass Kaweco sport pen and a Pelikan Twist pen side by side on wood.

The answer to “What has Sagenatural got in their pockets” starts with these two objects.

The poem was very short. So short, in fact, that I’m not sure I can actually call it a poem, really. However, it hearkened back to memories from long long ago of poetry lock ins and a friend who used to tape short verse and decorative quotes to my dorm door. In a way the brevity that makes it a minimalist poem was a thread of quiet joy within it. With luck I will be able to share more scribblings as time goes on.

As far as the Tea of the Month Club goes, I should start by saying I am still seeking standard subscriptions. This is the version of the club where I choose a tea for the month rather than a tea for you personally. It is hard for me not to curate the teas, and I am trying to reach a particular number of standard subscriptions to help ease that difficulty.

What I learned this past month, as far as the Club goes, is that I need to not try to do all of the personally curated shipments on the same day. The level of personalization is important, but energy intensive, and there should be a limit to how much of that I do on one blending or shipping day. Current plan is to have “waves” of tea each month, for the curated shipments – and that’s what I am testing for April’s teas. There is a post currently in the works with far more detail, and that should go live in the next week or two.

I asked on Twitter and on Tumblr for input as to what people would want to know about a Tea of the Month subscription before subscribing – and I would not be averse to more input. Depending on timing, it might not go into the post I am working on, but it looks like there may end up being a “Tea of the Month Club” FAQ page for things that do not make it into the post, as well as much of what is in it – in part because an FAQ page will section it out into small broken up bits.

As far as new teas go, I am back in the space where I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to start a new Simply Tasty teas journal here within the next month or two. Which is both glorious and intimidating. This feeds into one of the reasons why I am working on organizing and prioritizing the teas in need of names. There’s only so much allocated space for “experiment teas” and I need to get some of the current things filling that space done and dusted (as it were) so I can work on some of the new ones without feeling guilty for the overflow.

My personal favourite this past month was the tea that was created while my character was off watch and sleeping (though I did not let my taking of game notes falter in service to tea) because there was a tea she wanted that she couldn’t have. Some ooc laughter was provoked in the group – I think I may be becoming a Tea Witch in their eyes, as well. Still working on the recipe for that one, and arguing with Vash (the character in question) – because I think it needs a more balanced approach to anise, and she does not agree. Situations like this make me wish I could test teas on more people without having to deal with shipping costs.

Black tea leaves, roasted rice, slivers and shards of star anise, bits of cinnamon, and fragments of hawthorn berries mixed together.

The runner up for most amusing tea was one that happened because I set up a Twitter poll for deciding on the green tea to be used in the grey-green I’ve been wanting to make for years. A conversation in the thread led to me tossing a bit of Earl Grey in with The Smoking Gun (Lapsang and Gunpowder) and the test cup was absolutely amazing. And thus that combo will have to be its own tea.

I mentioned the trying to focus on getting some of the “all done but for a name” teas named, and there will be posts popping up on the website for some of them in the next few weeks. I will miss the naming threads on Twitter more than I really want to think about right now, as it is part and parcel of mourning the platform that gifted me so much – but the shift in culture happening because of all the changes to how it functions (or doesn’t) do not give me much confidence in its utility for such things moving forward – especially as I will not be paying for a blue check. It has been suggested that being involved in the naming of teas could be a Patreon perk, but I’m not sure I want to close that particular aspect of this tea community and make it pay to play.

I do need to come up with Patreon perks and rewards – and early access to teas in need of names might be one of those? I’m more than open to suggestions on that front.

As a last note, I realized recently that this newsletter might be a good place to answer general questions – so if there’s anything you’d like to ask, you can send queries in via the Contact Us form on the site, or on social media, and I may answer them here.

I think I’ve rambled on this one enough, so I will wish you the best of what April is capable of bringing, and sign off for now.

(If you would like to sign up for the newsletter, you can do so here)

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