Meet the Producer
Sixteen years ago, Michio Hanamizu worked a corporate sales job in Tokyo. In need of a change, he quit and took over a Sashima tea farm that his grandfather-in-law was about to retire. By his own account “the first five years were a disaster” and he learned the hard way the struggles of life as a tea farmer. But he persisted and, after a sojourn to Taiwan to learn processing, switched from data-driven production to making tea with the senses. Today, his modern but austere countryside facility is testament to those considerations: he is cognizant of everything from the quality and type of wood used in the drying beds, to the correct pattering sound produced by leaves in the tumble oven. Incredibly humble, warm, and passionate, Michio san believes Sashima, with its warm summers and cold winters, can become a leading light for black tea production in the archipelago.