Obsessively Passionate About Tea
Naoko’s first love was tasting Parisienne inspired pastries in Tokyo’s boutique cafés. While she dreamed of becoming a pastry chef, training at Le Cordon Bleu and the French Culinary Institute, she discovered the depths and flavors of exotic ingredients and using loose-leaf teas as a culinary ingredient. In 2001 she was awarded most creative project by incorporating tea into a classic French-course meal and dreamed of opening her own tea café someday. Naoko loves to eat, cook, bake and drinking loose-leaf tea opens her senses and centers her mind and spirit. In 2006, she discovered an American tea retailer which showcased 100 different kinds of premium loose-leaf teas and teawares that reminded her of the European tea houses she experienced throughout her young adulthood. It wasn’t long until Naoko had the opportunity to lead quality, development and education for this specialty tea store with many locations in the US and across the world. After 20 years, her cumulative experience would be stepping stones to finally leap to bringing her childhood dream come to life - by opening her own tea store (albeit virtually for now) the birth of Key To Teas, named by her son.