The Introvert Comes To Life
The area of Daimyo in Fukuoka is known for it’s entertaining night life. It’s littered with tens of little alleys and narrow roads where you can find an array of novelty shops, izakayas and bars. You could pretty much spend the whole day just hanging around Daimyo and getting lost in the maze of alleys.
And despite the seeming anonymity, the coffee scene is also very much alive here.
One such place runs on the sixth floor of a slightly old and shabby building.
Take a short walk from Akasaka station and you’ll find Coffee Hanasaka.
It’s a bit difficult to find at first but you’ll see a small wooden stand with 4 characters 珈琲花坂 in front of the building. Squeeze in to the tiny elevator and take a ride up to the top.
You’ll find a wooden door with some dim lights spilling out from the other side.
Enter inside and that’s when your introverted side comes to life. It may feel like you’ve seen your long lost friend. It may seem like nothing matters anymore except sitting down and staring into space. Whatever negativity or worry that you may have kept inside will be freed in this amazing nostalgic space.
Being Your Own Teacher
The owner, roaster and barista Hanasaka Kazuhide started the cafe in 2015 when he moved to Fukuoka from Tokyo. He started gaining interest in coffee six years ago and now it’s become part of his life. Since Hanasaka-san never worked at a roaster cafe, he had to learn everything by himself. From obtaining the raw coffee beans to roasting them, and then finally extracting them using the flannel drip. He uses a manual hand-spun roaster to roast his coffee.
If you didn’t know, hand-spun roasters are very difficult to manage since one is in control of literally everything. From the intensity of the flames, the speed at which one rotates the roaster to the timing of emptying the roaster and cooling the beans.
Hanasaka-san tells me that it’s not necessarily about creating the same taste in a blend since you can’t always get the same roast level. What’s important is roasting and bringing out the full potential of the bean at hand and extracting the best coffee you can.
How true, you can’t always get the same coffee even if it’s from the same farm. The beans purchased a year ago can be so much different from the one you purchase today. Which means that sometimes you just can’t maintain the exact taste of the blend.
The most important aspect is making sure that you bring out the best of the coffee at hand and believe that it’s good enough to serve to customers.
Coffee, Art and Music
There are two blends, the standard Waltz and the lighter No.2 Sonata.
Yes, the blend name themselves reflect the persona of Hanasaka-san. From art to music. And the same can be said of the ambience of the cafe. Posters of old, portraits of the abstract and music of the 60s.
Hanasaka-san also serves 3 single-origins, and the one above is Mocha Harrar (a region in Ethiopia) paired together with a gateau chocolat. You can also find a rather interesting salty cheesecake as well as seasonal desserts like coffee jelly and pudding.
There’s a record player and Hanasaka-san plays the records reflecting the mood he’s in. The music changes with time and you’ll find yourself wondering what amazing tune is up next. If you have a background in music, you’ll see the unique sense of taste he has in music. Even if you don’t, you’ll be quite amazed and look at music in a totally different light.
Some of the posters/artwork is put up by the bartender who works the night bar (the place is a shared shop) and the rest are all Hanasaka-san’s. Needless to say, the artwork and posters fit seemingly well into the environment.
Just what is it about this place that puts you at ease?
There’s something here that immediately makes one feel a wave of nostalgia rushing through. As if it’s a place you’ve been to before, or feel at home in some way.
Perhaps its the dim lights that remind you of those days when fluorescent lights were still a novelty. Or the old posters that signified a past-era. Maybe it’s just the paintings and artworks you were always attached to but never got to see much of. Perhaps the music that takes you away from the contemporary pop and electronics.
Having a cup of coffee, looking at artworks and listening to music. There’s so much that words just can’t describe and that’s something you’ll really feel at Coffee Hanasaka.
When in Fukuoka, take a short walk from Akasaka station to Coffee Hanasaka. This place is quite magical. You’ll go in not knowing what to expect and by the time you come out you’ll be wondering when you’ll come back again.
If you’re planning to visit a few cafes around Fukuoka, this place is that very one place you just cannot miss.
Address: 〒810-0041 Fukuoka Prefecture, Fukuoka, Chuo Ward, Daimyo, 1 Chome−10−21 大名エイトビルⅡ 5F
Open Hours: 10:00 ~ 18:00 (open everyday, only closed on special occasions)
What to have when visiting the first time: The Waltz and the Cheese Cake
What I plan on having the next time: Mandheling and Gateau Chocolat
Coffee Fact: Dedicated Nel-drip users like Hanasaka-san actually buys the flannel cloth as a sheet, cuts them to the according size and then sews them onto steel frames which then takes the shape of the classic handheld nel-dripper. Amazing.