After chilling at my hotel and reorganizing myself I decided to go try a local cafe that was suppose to have brought back a Ryukyu traditional tea. It was located on the other side of the markets and down near the Tsuboya pottery district. Another popular thing to do in that area/ Okinawa seems to take a pottery class of some kind and make the local/traditional pottery or your own Shisa set.
The cafe sells a variety of things but I was determined to try the Buku Buku Tea the shop is named after. It’s a tea set that is 1,000 yen and comes either warm or cold. It is suggested to be warm and it came with three sweets.
The Buku Buku tea ぶくぶく茶 looks like a cloud. It’s made with roasted white rice, jasmine tea, and water that’s then whipped to a fluffy foam. The tea itself was from brown rice. There are a couple places in Okinawa where you can have a very strict and meticulous tea ceremony. However at this location they give you a laminated paper with some of the basics to do the proper way of drinking on your own but ultimately let you drink it how you want.
It is, however, practically impossible to not get the foam on your nose/face while drinking this tea. Which is called “tea of happiness”. It was served during the Ryuku Kingdom and served in celebrations or to welcome envoys. The practice ended during World War II when rice became a rare commodity and the tools needed to make it were lost in a fire. It has since been brought back as a traditional tea of Okinawa.
The steps given at the local shop I went to was to hold the tea and bow once in thanks. Then hold the bowl straight and drink the bubbles and tea together. Do not tilt the bowl. This ensures you end up with bubbles on your nose. There is no way to avoid it. Just enjoy. They give you a spoon just in case you have difficulty. Eventually I ended up tilting the bowl because there was no other way to get to the tea.
I had fun, however rice tea is not my favorite. It, along with other grain teas are just not something I enjoy. But the cafe does sell other things including other things. They also sell a variety of coffee, lattes and shaved ice (Okinawa ice Zenzai).
My tea came with three traditional Okinawan snacks. If you have allergies please be very careful as they contained sesame and peanuts.
Chirunko- a steamed cake made out of eggs with peanuts.
Kunpen- can come in either peanut or sesame flavor (thankfully peanut since I don’t like sesame that much) with a red bean center.
Chinsuko– a sort bread cookie that comes in a variety of flavors but here it was peanut.
A fourth traditional treat that I did not get to try is the hana-bouru. If you have tea somewhere else this might be included, or even possibly on a different day the cafe migh serve it. It’s a short bread style cookie made out of egg yolk that’s usually hand shaped to look like something, commonly wisteria.
If you’re in the area and need a break the Uchina Buku Buku cafe was very peaceful. Note that it and several of the pottery shops in the area are welcomed havens and protectors of the local cats. If you have allergies prepare yourself accordingly.
Uchina buku buku cafe is open daily from 10am until 7pm.