About Hanamichi

Who Am I?

I am a tea enthusiast and Certified Tea Specialist (STI) living in the Pacific Northwest.  I am also a student and member of Kabuki Academy, studying and performing classical Japanese dance for over fifteen years.  

The Blog Name  

Hanamichi means "flower path", and reflects my love of both tea and dance. In kabuki theater, the hanamichi is considered one of the most important stage elements. It consists of a raised platform or runway that leads from the main stage, through the audience, to the back of the theater. Because it brings the actors close to the audience, it is here that the important entrances and processions, decisive battles, powerful and poignant dances, and climactic exits often take place.

Hanamichi is also a reference to the tea fields and the lovely blossoms of the tea plant, camellia sinensis.

The (Dual) Purpose Blog

Raise awareness of tea, tea events, and tea businesses. Tea is the number one beverage in the world today and is ready to be discovered, enjoyed, and appreciated for its taste, aesthetics, cultural significance, and health benefits. By sharing my enthusiasm and experience with others, it is my hope that they will be inspired to begin their own tea adventures.

Raise awareness of dance with a focus on East Asian theater and dance. I have been studying and performing classical Japanese dance (nihon buyo) and kabuki-style dance (kabuki buyo) since 2001. Over the years, through cultural events and through recommendations, I have had the pleasure of discovering many more exciting and beautiful varieties of dance. It is my hope that by sharing these experiences and opportunities, others may discover and appreciate these performing arts.

Tea Tasting/Review Method

While my daily tea ritual ranges from traditional to casual, my tea review process is more regulated.  I use a variation of the International Standard (ISO 3103), taking liberties with steeping time and temperature variance to bring out the most enjoyable aroma and taste.  

To prepare loose tea (Orthodox and CTC), 3 grams of tea and 6 ounces of water are used.  For the initial steeping, I use standard recommended brewing times and temperatures.  When the results aren't ideal, I experiment with temperature and time until I get the most favorable results.  

  • Programmable Water Kettle
  • Digital Pocket Scale
  • Cupping Set (lidded cup and bowl)
  • Digital Timer
  • Spoon
Temperature & Time: 
  • White Tea:  175°F - 185°F, 2-3 minutes
  • Green Tea:  140°F, 175°F - 185°F, 2-3 minutes 
  • Oolong Tea:  185°F-195°F, 2-5 minutes 
  • Black Tea:  208° F, 3-5 minutes
  • Pu-erh Tea:  185°F-208°F, 1-5 minutes
This system works very well for its purpose.  However, it should by no means be considered the best practice for tea enjoyment.  I highly encourage experimenting with tea equipment, water temperature, and amount of leaves.  If you don't like the tea hot, perhaps a cold infusion will make it shine.  If you're enjoying your tea, you've prepared it properly.

What Will I Review?

  • Loose Leaf Tea
  • Matcha
  • Tea Equipment (rarely)
Please submit inquiries and requests through the Contact Me page.
Samples are welcome if I am notified before they are sent.
Due to a consistent backlog, reviews are generally posted 2-3 weeks after I receive the tea sample.
Unsolicited samples received with no prior correspondence will go to the bottom of the review priority list.  

What Won't I Review?
I reserve the right to not review a tea.  This includes:
  • Unsolicited Tea
  • Aggressively Solicited Tea
  • Tea in Tea Bags or Bottles
  • Non-Japanese "Matcha"
Since the purpose of this blog is to share positive experiences, I do not write bad reviews.  I have encountered many teas that I don't enjoy, yet I recognize characteristics that others would find desirable. On the very rare occasion that I encounter a truly bad tea, I will simply not review it.  There are too many potential outside factors that could contribute to tea becoming bad to assume that it started out that way and there is always the possibility that my bad experience is unique.