20 Taiwanese get glimpse into unique Japanese tea ceremony

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Around 20 Taiwanese participated in an Okinawan tea ceremony exchange and learned more about Okinawa’s culture and traditions held by the Sino—Ryukyuan Cultural & Economic Association on Saturday. Guided by instructors from Okinawa, attendees helped prepare for a uniquely Okinawan tea ceremony known as “buku buku tea.” The name “buku buku” originates from the Okinawan local dialect’s usage of “A-buku,” which means “bubbles.” When bubbles appear, Okinawans would say “bukubuku has appeared.”

Traditional Japanese folk songs also call buku buku tea a cup of “blessings” that a traveler can enjoy and blessed by, ensuring a safe trip. Famed for its fresh creamy taste, buku buku tea comprises creamy white frothy bubbles that look like white soft ice cream that is usually laid on top of either jasmine tea or Japanese tea. This Okinawan tea is prepared using brown rice, rice and tea. Some historical records of buku buku tea prepared during Japanese tea ceremonies date back to 1609. Other records show that in 1587, brown rice was already used to prepare buku buku tea, though the frothy white bubbles that are iconic today were left unmentioned. Buku buku tea eventually became a beverage that was not restricted to the royal class for the Ryukyu Domain (present-day Okinawa Prefecture), and therefore gained popularity among the middle class in the 18th century.