👩🏻‍💻 About tanjennts

tanjennts is the creative outlet of writer & photographer Jenn Chen

Quick links:

As a newsletter that is powered by chips and inspired by coffee, you can expect the unexpected. Substack tells me that I need to have a special one-liner and a niche for people to subscribe to this, but to be quite honest, I don't do well with advice meant for the masses.

But if you need one, here's the one-liner:

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

tanjennts is not [only] about coffee. Coffee is the catalyst and thread that underpins the stories I explore. I don't like being pigeonholed, so I've purposefully made tanjennts to be all-encompassing of my interests, whether in words or photos form, or both.

Be warned: This is a personal newsletter. I get into cultural identity, mental health, politics, the -isms, and more. I'll sometimes drop a well-placed f-bomb.

To receive stories and essays inspired by coffee, subscribe below.

Even more about tanjennts

There are currently three sections. The general tanjennts homepage 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, but this one about new year dumplings is unlocked for everyone to read.

  • Creative Sparks: A 12-week creative prompt challenge that began in January 2023

Free subscribers receive two emails a month on Wednesdays. Each email 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, and short-form journalism. Some example topics include:

    • Culture

    • Freelancing & writing

    • Cultural identity

    • Food

    • Mental health

  • 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!

Favorite pieces

To get a sense of what I like to write about and photograph, here are some of my favorites:

What others say

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 tanjennts reader:

  • is a specialty coffee professional, writer, freelancer, or creative person

  • enjoys coffee and/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. Creative work takes time, energy, and mind space.

If you have the monetary means to do so and you’ve benefitted from my work, please consider the paid plan.

If you cannot afford a subscription and/or you’re a student and would benefit from my paid articles, fill out this form for a one-year comp. I also accept tips or one-time donations here.

As someone who has been humbly enjoying your paid version as a comp subscription, I just wanted to say that seeing the two versions side by side each month has just been really lovely. They're so continuous and equal in value to each other. It's a powerful demonstration of equity in creativity, actually. That yes, you can do both – you can serve lower income folks who adore your work, AND you can also offer meaningful value worth paying for, to an audience with means to support that work. And neither is greater or lesser to the other. I wish more people would take an approach like yours. 🙏


  • Twice a month with an occasional extra post

  • One original feature or essay, plus other items as described above


A non-exhaustive list of things I pay for that help me with this newsletter:

  • Grammarly for copyedits

  • Canva for designs and photos

  • Temi for AI transcription

  • ClickUp to organize all my projects and thoughts

  • Bear for notetaking

  • Dreamhost for hosting my website and this subdomain

tanjennts is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber. Referrals are always appreciated.