Festive Tea -Obukucha-

2013 is just around the corner. Do you have special tea for the new year?

In Kyoto, “Obuku-cha” is a new year’s tea. Technically, it is not made from Camellia Sinesis, though.

It is a drink with umeboshi (pickled plum) and kombu (sea vegetable) in it. Because we believe that umeboshi protects us from evil and illness. Kombu is a symbol of happiness.

There are various views about the origin of the name. This is one of them. In 951, an epidemic raged and a lot of people suffered. At that time, a Japanese priest, KUYA gave a tea with a pickled plum to the people. Finally, it was waning. The Emperor then heard about it, having the tea later on. Since the Emperor had the tea, it came to be called “Obuku-cha”, which means “the tea drunk by the Emperor”. Nowadays, we call the same, but use different Kanji character, which literally means “large happiness”.

Hope 2013 will be filled with happiness!
Obukucha with umeboshi, kombu and powdered gold  -photo by T-