State of the Nursery 2023

State of the Nursery 2023

It has been a year since I started publishing on the blog. At first, I thought the initial date was at the end of October, but it seems otherwise. Seems like the first blog post ever was sometime in August, according to the site records. Nonetheless, after a year of learning and experiences, this year, there have been 31 posts published in the blog, and halfway through that period, I also started sending out the newsletter. Thank you so much to everyone following this journey so far.

There have been some ideas for the blog I have been jumping around and trying in different shapes and forms. When I started writing, I thought that the morning brew posts would be a good way for me to break the routine with more in-depth and research-intensive posts like the ones for the cultivars. My goal all this year has been to publish 2 posts per month plus the monthly newsletter. That hasn’t been possible, but I keep posting at least once a month, and it has been cultivar posts mostly.

So, what is the plan for upcoming content? The cultivar posts take a lot of time to research and translate from scientific papers in Japanese. Also, look for information or ask farmers around Japan about their experiences growing them. I have calculated that it takes around 6 weeks to complete, so I will try to keep that schedule from now on. As for other content, I would like to make some more morning brew posts. I have gathered a good collection of teas while I did the master course this summer, and I do have easier access to many others now that I live in Japan. I would love to write about them without turning it into a tea review. Striking that balance will be the biggest challenge for me.

The other content I would like to focus on is more tea-type posts, in general terms, like Sencha, Gyokuro, etc, or additional foundational tea knowledge posts. My idea is to slip those in between cultivar posts to have something to write about that is more light and easy to write.

One of my favourite views in the fields overlooking a misty and cloudy day
One of my favourite views in the fields overlooking a misty and cloudy day

Next steps

On the horizon

As for other goals for the blog this year, I want to keep growing the posts available to read and create other more creative content for the blog, like timelines of important tea figures or graphics about tea cultivars, following what I have been testing and publishing sometimes in Instagram stories.

For other projects, I would like to create some material for the blog, like a digital book on cultivars, once I have published a few more. Or a bi-monthly or perhaps quarterly tea letter with 2-4 samples of teas directly from Japan to your home in a letter-sized shipping. That could be an excellent way to join written content while sharing the tea with the readers. Of course, that requires more work than the blog already does, so I need to think carefully about it. Feel free to email me your suggestions and thoughts about it. To be fully transparent, that would also allow me to offset part of the cost of the blog. I will break that down later.


After running the blog for a few months, I saw the problem of managing citations, books and podcasts related to tea. That is when a resource page would come in handy, and although I have lately not updated it much, I wanted to share the current resources and the ones coming up.

First, the public repository of some of the most important papers and books I use in the articles. Those mirror the citations found in the articles and the local repository in my system. Recently, I have run into issues syncing that content, so it is a bit outdated for the last cultivar article. I will get a look into it as a winter project.

If you are into podcasts, there is a podcast list of several tea-related podcasts I have found interesting. Please give them a listen. There are many hidden gems of content in those episodes. And let me know if your podcast or some other should be added!

As for future resources, I have several ideas, although what comes to fruition will be seen later. One of the most interesting for me would be to have an interactive graph or diagram of tea cultivars. I made one on my own a while ago, but I haven´t found a way to make it easy to understand and update. This is my most desired project to finish, so hopefully, you will see some progress on it eventually.

Other projects I have been tinkering on are bento-styled infographics about different cultivars and a historical timeline of important tea personalities. Both have limitations and challenges due to my design skills, and I haven't found a way to build them efficiently. Those will be explored in the second round of resource development.

As for a final future resource, I would like to finish the tea vault project. I have stopped working on it due to software limitations, and the cost of maintaining it would be too much right now. The project would be a different way to share my notes and research in a way that is always updated and doesn't need to be published as individual posts every time. That would be an excellent way to always have the last update on some particular topic and would provide the ability to link content more dynamically. I really want to make this resource available to everyone, but maintaining it makes it difficult for me right now.

Another quick resource is found in this address. It is a service similar to Linktree, a popular service that aggregates links to posts, social media or others. You will always find links to the last articles, the different social media channels, the community server and other important information. It is a link to share with people who might be interested in the blog as I share the many places where the blog is spread around.

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Cost and tools of the blog

A blog is a great way to communicate or share your experiences with others. That is what I like the most about

Running a blog, fun and fulfilling as it is, costs money. In one way or another, it costs money. I do not wish to run ads or get sponsorships. That is been clear since I even began writing this blog. At the same time, I take great care in choosing the tools I use. For example, I did not run any tracking analytic software in the blog until about a week ago, when I found a great privacy-focused one developed by an indie developer. You can check it here.

The hosting of the blog has a cost. On the one hand, we have the domain name (the website web address cost) and the hosting itself. The annual cost of the domain is 15$, and the monthly cost of the blog hosting is around 11$. I use Ghost as the blog platform as it allows me to have a newsletter with minimal tracking information, and all are integrated into the same platform. It is easy to use, and it is also open-source code.

Following the blog software tools, I wanted to mention other tools I use daily for both the blog and researching topics and concepts for the blog. For research and note-taking, I use Zotero, a software for managing papers and documents where I store most of the research documents I use and consult regularly. You can see a smaller public repository I share on the resources page. For pure note-taking, I use Obsidian, a tool for taking notes and linking and relating them to each other. I have a great deal of information with 464 unique notes on tea. From historical figures and locations to tea types, chemical compounds and others. This is the backbone of my articles. I refine information from papers in Zotero and bring that information to Obsidian to create relationships between other topics. While reading over a note, I can see connections with different topics and sometimes second-level connections I would have missed otherwise.

As for graphic design, I use both Procreate and the full range of Affinity tools for photography and graphic design. I like Procreate as it allows me to quickly edit some images with additional graphics using a digital pen or create headers and stories for Instagram. I use the Affinity tools in additional design or for making concepts like the bento-styled design I made to showcase the characteristics of a cultivar. You can see a sample below. I wish I had more design skills and time to pour into this. I find it an excellent way to communicate complex and dry information.

There are other tools for writing, like Ulysses for making the final write of the articles in combination with the notes from Obsidian. Some will say that is an unnecessary step, but I love how Ulysses can upload and schedule my posts automatically with just a little input from me. It also keeps an updated copy of the articles locally, so I can still modify the website articles when I am offline, like on a train, where I am writing this article right now. Then, once I have an internet connection, I can sync all the changes to the website.

Feedback and communication

So far, I am happy with the feedback I am getting for some of the posts, but there is never enough. If you enjoy my content or not, or have any suggestions, please send me a message, it's easy. You can get in touch through here and help improve the blog. Writing on a blog is a great way to communicate and share, but it can also be a bit isolating. I opened an Instagram account for the blog to have a channel to more easily share information about posting blog articles or other updates, but it still feels too unidirectional. That is why I started a Discord channel to explore and see if that could be a better tool for two-way communication and help grow a community around it. You can join the communist server here.

Thank you

Thank you so much for reading this lengthy first-year state of the nursery. I was not sure how to tackle this post, and although perhaps it is a bit dry in some parts of it, hope it helps understand the work and, most importantly, the time behind it. Thank you to those of you who read the articles on the blog and also share your opinions with me. It really makes me happy every time I get a comment after publishing something. I had my doubts for years about whether I should start a blog or not, and I can tell you one thing. It's been a difficult, but rewarding process. From learning how to operate the backend part of a blog to simply learning how to write in a way that makes sense to others. I am so grateful for all the amazing new people I have met this past year through the blog. And I am grateful that the content I am interested in reading and creating resonates with you. See you in the next article and here to the next year!

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