Inspired by coffee, powered by chips.
tanJennts is the creative outlet of writer, photographer & marketer Jenn Chen
I work in the specialty coffee industry as a writer, photographer & marketer. This is a job I created for myself and I love it most of the time (who actually loves their job 100% of the time? I’d love to know).
Much of my writing is informed by my personal experiences and interests. I'm Taiwanese American, a child of immigrants, and I have both general & social anxiety and depression. Being open about mental health is important to me because of the stigma that exists in both the US and, especially, Asian cultures. With my untraditional job in an untraditional field and writing about personal experiences for many to read—I do not fit within cultural expectations or stereotypes.
I’m on the board of GoFundBean, a nonprofit that supports, uplifts, and defends the hourly coffee worker. And I’m an editor-at-large at Sprudge, a globally read digital publication about specialty coffee. My bylines there are in-depth features on a whole range of topics like coffee unions, giant roadside coffee pots, and the still-somehow-controversial gesha vs. geisha debate.
My internet writing dates back to LiveJournal and Xanga days (early 2000s). Before that, I began journaling around the age of 5 in my puffy, hot pink Princess Jasmine diary (the only Disney princess at the time that looked remotely like me). I'm not formally trained in either writing or photography, but I've found the pen and camera to be great tools to express my super-introverted self–whether or not I publicly share the results.
Most of my leisure time is filled with my rescue dog Zoey. She's very sweet but will also go nuts if not given enough attention or exercise. I love chips, donuts, plants, jigsaw puzzles, video games, miniatures, and soothing forest walks. Another word to describe me is tsundokuI often take up random crafting projects, enjoy traveling, and when possible, contribute back to the communities I'm in.
There are currently three sections. The general tanJennts page is a compilation of articles in all the sections, plus any that didn't fit within the categories. You can manage your section subscriptions through your account.
In Focus: Conversations and interviews with creatives in or adjacent to the coffee industry.
Photo Essays: Photography essays that are sometimes accompanied by words. 🔏 For now, it's paid subscribers only.
Creative Sparks: A 12-week creative prompt challenge.
Free subscribers receive an email twice a month on Wednesdays that includes the following:
notes from Jenn: A short list of things that have happened recently.
the tanJennt: An essay or feature, including articles, personal reflections, interviews, how-to guides, and short-form journalism. Some example topics include:
Freelancing & writing
digital strategy: A few links on how to improve your digital strategy.
interesting reads: Articles I’ve read recently that I’ve enjoyed. These run the gamut of topics.
plant update: A plant feature from my container garden!
My favorite pieces
To get a sense of what I like to write about, here are some of my favorites:
I hate video, a rant — Stop turning everything into TikTok.
New Year dumplings, made with sadness and anger — A photo + words essay and an example of what paid subscribers receive.
What happened when I asked ChatGPT to write about coffee — AI can only do so much.
Listening to your gut — An essay on how I pay attention to my gut's opinion.
Do what you love and it’ll still feel like work — An essay about the glorification of “doing what you love.”
Nostalgia in marketing — How the psychology of nostalgia is used in marketing.
F**k email etiquette — An essay on how we should stop putting all those niceties at the beginning of every email.
Does this sound up your alley? Sign up below for a free subscription.
What others say
As a marketer, I’m terrible at marketing myself so here are some snippets of what others have to say about my newsletter:
Enjoy the newsletter. Always surprised and delighted to find something I really want to click on.
I always forward your emails to people. Your content is rich, educational, relevant and inspiring. Thank you.
Yours is one of the very few newsletters that I want to receive in my primary gmail inbox. I’m always learning and intrigued about the topics you choose. Thank you for raising the important issues and thank you for consistently sharing high quality information!
The average tanJennts reader:
is a specialty coffee professional, copywriter, writer, freelancer, creative, or marketer
enjoys coffee or the stories it inspires
trusts me to explore the various tangents that my interests take me
Free & paid plans — "Why should I pay?"
Paid members sustain the work that goes into my free newsletter. It is just me, spending several hours working on each issue. This is one of my income sourcesand I'd love to break even on it. Creative work takes time, energy, and mindspace. If you have the monetary means to do so and you’ve benefitted from my work, please consider the paid plan. If you’re subscribing as a coffee business, it’s possible you can write this off as an expense.
Individual: $5/month or $50/year
Group/Company (minimum of 4 seats, annual): 10% off the above pricing (learn more about group subscriptions)
If you cannot afford a subscription and/or you’re a student, email me for a comp at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Twice a month with an occasional extra post
One original feature or essay, plus other items as described above
Everything in the free plan plus—
Two additional posts a month (at least four total per month). Each is a singular piece, such as bonus content to an existing interview or photo essay. For some of these, I may unlock them after 60 days for free subscribers to peruse.
A behind-the-scenes look at the freelance life, mental health ruminations, and sneak peeks at what I'm working on
You can also leave a tip:
Digital marketing coaching
I work with specialty coffee businesses, organizations, and manufacturers on improving their digital marketing strategies and processes. If you’d like to hire me for consulting work, review the services I offer. This is the very last thing on my About page because my newsletter is not a means for me to push my marketing services.
Did you make it this far and are still intrigued? Sign up! ⬇️
The Japanese word for “buying books and letting them pile up unread.”
I’m a “full-time” freelancer: all my work is freelance.