A reintroduction

Introducing myself and a refreshed tanjennts

A reintroduction

📝 Notes from Jenn:

As you may have noticed, there’s been a facelift around here. The tl;dr is that I’m taking the leap and no longer including marketing in my newsletter. While I hope you’ll stick around, I won’t be offended if you unsubscribe (I turned off those notifications). Content-wise, the newsletter issues this year are a good overview of what I’ll continue covering. I also plan on going into short-form journalism—another deep breath for this scary leap.

📜 Published: “Coffee Value Assessment: Exploring The SCA’s New Tool For Coffee Evaluation

For those of us who are accustomed to a 100-point scale and drawing a firm 80-point line for specialty coffee, this new definition and approach will certainly take some getting used to. The new definition isn’t as digestible or bite-sized; it leaves one wondering what attributes are the ones that truly matter, and how to bridge the evident gulf in experiences that different cuppers of varied backgrounds bring to the table.

🛠 Current project: In the middle of launching my portrait photography service!

🔏 Last week, paid subscribers received a photo missive from Porto, Portugal

If you cannot afford a subscription and/or you’re a student and would benefit from my paid articles, reply or email me for a comp at thejennchen@substack.com.

🍩 What I ate/drank/snacked on: While in Greece for the trade show, I had dinner on the beach for four days in a row. The seafood is phenomenal there. I also found new chip flavors—separately—in prosciutto and oregano!

Grilled squid at Archontikon

A reintroduction

It’s been…well, never, since I introduced myself. It’s past due time, and today is the day it happens.

Shot in Athens last month

Hi, I’m Jenn. I’m a freelance writer and photographer. I work in the specialty coffee industry and have for the last 12 years. I used to do marketing consulting, and this used to be a coffee marketing newsletter, but I am no longer going to be writing anything marketing-related. The writing has been on the wall for a while, so to speak.

The only changes you’ll see here are the banner and the removal of the digital marketing section. Everything else—the writing, the interesting links, and plant update—will continue on as is. I’m also gearing up to do short-form journalism here (I shall find the time somehow!), so I guess that’s another potential change.

I’m originally from the Chicago suburbs and grew up in an affluent, very white town. We were middle-class, and my parents were immigrants, so I definitely stood out everywhere I went. While I didn’t get diagnosed with anxiety and depression until 2019, in retrospect, I have had both since at least my early teens. A combination of therapy, meds, and a shit-ton of self-care has worked wonders for me.

I started writing around the age of 5 in my diary, graduated to LiveJournal and Xanga in the early 2000s, and continued on to write in my blog, on and off, up until now. My only photography course was in high school: I learned the basics of black and white film, as well as processing it in the school’s darkroom. My artistic side was nurtured as a hobby but not as a career path: the arts were never on the table for me.

My degree is in Zoology, with a concentration in animal behavior and neurobiology. For a hot second, I wanted to be a wildlife veterinarian, but burnout is real, and the vet school application process is rough.

The summer I graduated, I tried out two internships: one in coffee roasting and one in wildlife rehab at a seal rescue center off the coast of Canada. Clearly, I went for coffee, but the roasting was not for me. I’ve attempted to be a barista twice, interrupted by three years at Groupon that also burned me out. I tried operating a walking/coffee workshop tour business in Chicago, which is where I learned the power of social media. I burned out on that, too.

Finally, I decided that I loved being on my own and to test out contract work. The day I made the change to my website, someone contacted me for work, and I was a “full-time” contractor—a marketing director—until they ran out of money. This is when I learned that you shouldn’t be anchored to only one client.

Now? I use a combination of my self-taught skill set—writing, photography, an eye for design, and a desire to have people trust me with their stories—to write in-depth feature pieces for Sprudge and compose essays/articles for myself.

Community-wise, organizing has always been a part of me in some way. I helped start New Gotham Coffee Community in Chicago, where we had monthly throwdowns. I revived the Bay Area Coffee Community with fellow board members by convincing the previous organizers that I was serious about the community. We had throwdowns, but we also held other really great community events that I’m extremely proud of. I was one of three co-organizers for the Freelancers Union’s monthly meetups here. And now, after shedding a lot of this, I’m on the board of GoFundBean, and we’ve done some incredible work for the coffee community.

Zoey and I in May 2023

My dog Zoey, which you’ll probably see more of, was adopted in February 2020, right before lockdown. She gained a new dad last year when my boyfriend moved in with us. My other interests include: traveling, trying out new chip flavors, snacking, container & edibles gardening, eating donuts, learning Spanish on Duolingo (I’m contemplating taking a class instead), and not-so-serious hiking.

Porto, Portugal. There will be more photos in future issues. I hope you like photos.

I’ve been doing a lot of introspection these last few years and now, I’m trying to be faster at making decisions. My paid subscribers have known about the brand refresh since December, but I already knew I wanted it more than a year ago. I’m drawn in to specialty coffee and the people in it. There’s always a story to tell and a topic to explore.

A bit about [the refreshed] tanjennts

tanjennts is a creative outlet for me and an always-evolving work in progress. At this time, I can best describe it as:

Exploring the tangents that coffee creates: essays and stories in culture, freelancing, food, and more.

I’ve updated the tanjennts homepage, including a more thorough “About tanjennts” page. And! Subscriber referrals are now live: the more you share, the more paid comps you receive. Thank you for reading this far!

purple bracket, full-width, facing up

👀 interesting reads

At the same time, and rather paradoxically, for those of us who inherited our ancestors' looks and names, there is often a wider social expectation that we would speak their language. When that is not the case, the reaction can be harsh.
As Copenhagen’s ice core curator, Steffensen, who goes by J. P., describes his job as akin to a librarian’s, presiding over the “volumes” of ice that contain the secrets of Earth’s climate history. But when researchers want to borrow a sample, Steffensen can’t simply scan a barcode. Members of international collaborations who drilled the core in question have steering committees that grant access and determine the amount that can be cut.
“Around 2018 and 2019 was the ‘rosé all day’ trend in the wine industry,” says Frances Dillard, VP of brand and product marketing at Driscoll’s. At the same time, their research showed that Gen Z was more open to trying and tasting flavors and colors that didn’t look like traditional berries. Hence Rosé Berries™ were launched in 2019.
artful leaf outlines on left, "plant update" immediately to the right
I got a new side table with ample shelf space, so now my hoya is looking much happier.