The Lion's Rear

Received this year's Obukucha from Obubu Tea Farm


Got my Kyoto Obubu Tea Farm winter tea club shipment today. Every quarter I get a packet from Japan with some delicious teas; this month it’s got a calendar with photos from their tea fields, one of my favorite unshaded teas, along with some roasted Houjicha and Kukicha teas – all perfect for a cold winter day like today.

But the high-point of the winter shipment is always Obukucha aka "good fortune tea" made from sencha green tea, salted plum, kombu (dried kelp) and gold flake. It’s a quiet little new year’s tradition that I would have never learned about were it not for this quaint little tea farm in the mountains east of Nara.

the Global Japanese Tea Association writes about Obukucha:

The tradition was actually born centuries ago at a temple in Kyoto, called Rokuharamitsuji. The legend says, that in 951, when an epidemic was ravaging Kyoto, a Buddhist monk and the founder of the temple – Kuya, served tea with plum and kelp to the visitors of the temple, who came to admire the Buddhist treasures. It helped to alleviate the symptoms and the people recovered. The emperor Murakami too was served this tea, and upon recovery he made it a tradition to have Obukucha every year at new year’s.

Last year I shared this good fortune with my roommates. I certainly had a really fortunate year, one of the best in my adult life perhaps, of reinvigoration and rebirth of fire in my life. I’ll be sharing my good fortune with my girlfriend when we get back from our holiday travels and maybe it’ll be another great year for her and me.

a packet with some japanese hanzi characters on it, primarily "大福茶"
the inside of the packet contains a lot of instruction and back-story in Japanese along with photos showing the tea brewing with a salted plum and kombo knot and gold flake
the inside of the packet contains 8 salted plums and kombo knotes a packet of green tea, and a small paper packet with the gold flake