It offers a seemingly simple natural sweetness to one of our favorite products, Organo Gold Black Ice, which of course is iced black tea flavored with natural honey. Yet there’s nothing simple — but everything natural — about honey. We thought we’d take a look the effort behind this miraculous ingredient.
To produce a single jar of honey, foraging honey bees have to travel the equivalent of three times around the world.
The average bee will produce only one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime!
Honey stored in an airtight container will never spoil. Sealed honey vats found in King Tut’s tomb still contained edible honey, despite over 2,000 years beneath the sands.
Honey bees have 170 odorant receptors, compared with only 62 in fruit flies and 79 in mosquitoes. Their sense of smell is so precise it can differentiate hundreds of different floral varieties, and tell whether a flower carried pollen or nectar from meters away.
A honey bee visits 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip.
Bees must visit approximately two million flowers to make just one pound of honey.
The honey bee’s wing stroke is incredibly fast — about 200 beats per second, which is what produces their distinctive buzz. A honey bee can fly for up to six miles, and as fast as 15 miles per hour.
A colony of bees consists of 20,000-60,000 honeybees and one queen bee. Worker honey bees are female, live for about six weeks, and do all the work.
So — the next time you enjoy a refreshing cup of Black Ice, think about all of the effort that goes into making that tiny dash of honey that adds a lovely natural sweetness to this amazing beverage!
Organo Gold has strong ties to China, not least because it is home to the miraculous Ganoderma mushroom that lies at the heart of all of our products. We thought we’d revisit the remarkable history of the remarkable mushroom that is Ganoderma lucidum.
The History of Ganoderma
For as many as 4,000 years, Ganoderma Lucidum has been recognized by practitioners of traditional Asian medicine as the highest ranked of all herbs found in the Chinese pharmacopoeia.
The Chinese name for Ganoderma, Lingzhi, means “spiritual potency,” while the Japanese name, Reishi, can be translated as as the “King of Herbs.”
Shi-Jean Lee — the most renowned doctor of the Ming Dynasty — strongly endorsed the effectiveness of Ganoderma in his famous book Great Pharmacopoeia[Ban Chao Gang Moo]. In it, he wrote that “long-term taking of Ganoderma will build a strong, healthy body and assure a long life.”
Ganoderma mushrooms are unique in that they grow on wood, mostly out of large trees. At Organo Gold, they source only the finest quality organic Ganoderma, grown undisturbed on maple logs high in the Wuyi Mountains of China’s Fuxhou region.
Our natural log harvested Ganoderma is superior to plastic bag harvested Ganoderma. Some companies attempt to cut corners and use plastic bags to harvest their Ganoderma, but this means the precious spores cannot effectively propagate, which makes the end product much less potent.
Once our mushrooms are harvested from the maple logs, they are then processed at one of the largest Ganoderma facilities in the world. Here, using the latest technologies and only natural processes, our agricultural and food scientists gently dry, sterilize and process the mushrooms, transforming the tough, woody caps into a fine powder.
That fine, flavorless powder is then added to the entire range of Organo Gold products, from coffee and tea to supplements and even our soap, body lotion and toothpaste.
It’s our privilege and pleasure at Rae’s Cafe to bring this ancient treasure to the Western world, and it’s such an honor to visit the land where the wonders of Ganoderma were first discovered.
China was the birthplace of tea almost 5,000 years ago, when it is said that tea leaves fell into a pot of water the emperor Shen Nong was boiling. While more legend than historical fact, this tale nonetheless illustrates the central role that tea has played in Chinese culture for literally thousands of years.
But while coffee may have taken a while to make inroads in China, it is rapidly becoming more popular. So popular in fact, it has even provoked alarmist headlines, wondering if coffee will overtake the ancient Chinese affiliation with tea. “Is Coffee a Threat to Chinese Culture?” asked a headline in the Bejiing Review, April, 2013? “As the number of cafés continues to grow in China, could the teahouse become a thing of the past?” queried writer Elvis Anber. That’s unlikely, but the massive recent growth of the coffee industry — and the increasing widespread acceptance of coffee houses amongst the influential younger and more affluent demographic — does reveal a pro-coffee shift in mainland China.
Here are some facts and figures about the history and amazing growth of the coffee market in China:
Coffee’s history in China goes back to the 19th century. Coffee is thought to have made its first appearance in China when a French missionary planted beans throughout the Yunnan Province in the 1890s. And many Western missionaries and businessmen brought coffee with them to treaty ports such as Shanghai.
During the 1920s and ’30s, as Shanghai basked in its reputation as the cosmopolitan “Paris of the East,” cafes became one of the many examples of the city’s international flavor, but were shut down after Mao and the Communists took control of the country in 1949.
The reemergence of coffee shops in Shanghai since the 1980s has been part of the reemergence of China itself on the global stage. As historian and writer Jeffrey Wasserstrom wrote in his essay ‘All the Coffee in China’, the recent proliferation of cafes and coffee culture in mainland China’s big cities such as Shanghai and Beijing represents “both a novelty and a resumption of an old cosmopolitan trajectory that was interrupted for a time.”
Coffee is seen as a symbol of the Western lifestyle and China’s emerging middle class, and is associated with fashion, modernity and prosperity. Not surprisingly, coffee consumption in China is highly concentrated in large cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou — appealing to adventurous, open-minded, young, affluent, urban consumers. These consumers are more exposed to Western influences and tend to look up to Western lifestyles.
“Café chains only really began to appear in China in the late 1990s, and have since grown very rapidly in number,” said Matthew Crabbe, Director of Asia-Pacific Research at Mintel, the UK-based market research company, in a recent press release. Part of the appeal, particularly for the aforementioned young, affluent crowd, are the lifestyle factors associated with coffee and café culture —namely those of exclusivity and luxury.
According to Mintel research, the number of cafés in China rose to 31,783 in 2012, double the 15,898 of 2007. That’s about 1,025 cafés for each of the Chinese mainland’s 31 provinces and municipalities.
China’s coffee market has reportedly grown by an estimated 10-15 percent annually over the past decade, in comparison to the worldwide average of just 2 percent.
In 2006, coffee consumption in China was roughly 45,000 tons. Some industry analysts predict this number could reach 300,000 tons annually by 2020.
Taipei is city of over two and a half million people that is considered the economic, political and cultural center of Taiwan. It’s an incredibly vibrant city — bustling with night markets filled with delicious street food, a generation of 20-somethings that have an obsession with cafes and coffee shops to rival that of Seattle, and a striking mix of contemporary and traditional Chinese (and Japanese) architecture.
10 Facts About Taipei
The city was founded in the early 18th century for shipping and trade, and was pronounced the capital of Taiwan in 1886. It is situated at the northern tip of Taiwan, on the Tamsui River.
Taiwan became a colony of Imperial Japan in 1895, following a treaty signed at the end of the first Sino-Japanese War. A number of Taipei landmarks and cultural institutions reflect the period of Japanese rule, including the Presidential Building and the Red House Theater.
The Republic of China took over Taiwan in 1945, following the Japanese surrender that brought the hostilities of WWII to an end.
The city’s population reached one million in the early 1960s, then experienced rapid growth, exceeding two million by the mid-1970s. While the population become relatively stable by the mid-1990s, the city remains of one the world’s most densely populated urban areas. The city proper, known as Taipei City, has a population of 2.6 million, while the larger metropolitan area (known as theTaipei-Keeling area) has a population of 6.9 million people.
A prominent feature of the modern Taipei skyline is a skyscraper known as the Taipei 101. It was the largest skyscraper in the world from 2004 to 2010, and boasts 116 stories, 101 of which are above ground. Within the building are 61 elevators, and (for those not afraid of heights) there’s an observation deck on the 91st floor. The building measures 1,670 feet (509 meters) from ground to top, which made it the first skyscraper in the world to break the half-kilometer mark in height. Designed to withstand typhoon winds and earthquake tremors, it incorporates many engineering innovations and has won numerous international awards. Taipei 101 remains one of the tallest buildings in the world, and holds LEED certification as the world’s largest “green” building. Its luxurious shopping mall and indoor and outdoor observatories draw visitors from all over the world, and the building’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display is often featured in international broadcasts.
The city is also renowned for its many night markets, the most famous of which is the one in the Shilin District. The markets usually open in the later afternoon and stay open well past midnight, getting extremely crowded during the evening as locals and tourists alike shop at stalls selling primarily food, but also some clothing and consumer goods.
The Ximending neighborhood has been a famous and extremely popular area for shopping and entertainment since the 1930s. It is home to a mix of historic structures, including a concert hall, a cinema, and the renowned Red House Theater, as well as large modern buildings that are home to karaoke clubs, cinemas, electronic stores and a wide variety of restaurants and boutiques. The area is especially popular with teenagers and has been compared to Tokyo’s Harajuku district.
It is not uncommon to see multiple 7-11 convenience stores on one intersection. Taiwan reportedly has more 7-11 stores per capita than any other country (7-11 was acquired from its former American owners by a Japanese company in 1991).
Not unlike New York, Taipei is a thriving city that never sleeps. In addition to late-night eats and all-night karaoke clubs, it is also home to the Eslite Bookstore, one of the only 24-hour bookstores in the world.
Tuesday, we looked at how tea arrived in Japan, by way of Buddhist scholars who brought it back from China in the early 800s. Since then, tea has grown to become an important part of Japanese culture. Here’s a look at how tea became such an integral and popular item in Japan.
Tea History in Japan:Part 2
In 1740, Soen Nagatani developed Japanese sencha, an unfermented form of green tea. To prepare sencha, the tea leaves are first steam-pressed, then rolled and dried into a loose tea. The dried leaves are brewed with hot water to yield the final drink. Sencha is now one of Japan’s mainstay teas.
The other more traditional type of green tea in Japan is matcha, the finely powdered green tea that is the focus of the Japanese tea ceremony. Matcha is prepared using shade-grown tea leaves that are rolled, laid flat to dry and then stone ground to form a bright green, fine powder.
At the end of the Meiji Era (1868–1912), machine manufacturing of green tea was introduced in Japan, and began replacing handmade tea. Machines took over the processes of primary drying, tea rolling, secondary drying, final rolling, and steaming of the tea leaves.
The first time tea was exported from Japan was in 1610, by the Dutch East India Company from Hirado, Nagasaki.
In 1859, when the ports of Nagasaki, Yokohama and Hakodate were opened to foreign trade, tea became one of Japan’s main export commodities, with an estimated 181 tons of tea exported in that year alone.
The three largest producing regions for Japanese tea are Shizuoka, Kagoshima and Mie. Shizuoka, which is located in the area between Mt. Fuji and the Pacific coast west of Tokyo, accounts for around 40% of Japan’s annual commercial tea production.
While Japanese culture is now renowned for the elaborate tea ceremony that developed over thousands of years, in today’s fast-paced modern culture, convenience is key. So ready-to-drink green tea products, particularly bottled or iced in vending machines, now account for an estimated 20% of all green tea consumption in Japan.
Green tea is so ubiquitous in Japan that whenever tea or “ocha” is offered, 99.9% of the time, it is green tea, which of course comes from the same plant as black tea, but does not experience fermentation or oxidization, and instead is steamed soon after being picked to stop the oxidization process.
Of course, we at Rae’s Café have always admired green tea, which is why Organo’s Organic Green Teais one of our most popular products.
I have a Latte 101 blog post entitled “Thanks A-Latte!” and wanted to show everyone how easy it is to make gourmet latte at home. This saves you time and money…also, makes you sound pretty cool! I did this in one take…I’m still learning how to do side shots correctly LOL If you enjoy, PLEASE like and share my video…also, subscribe to my YouTube channel for new videos every week! #GBYD #GourmetLivesMatter #RaezCafe
Obviously, Japan has a long and storied history when it comes to tea. So, we thought we’d take a look at how tea arrived in Japan, and how it became an integral part of Japanese culture over the years.
Tea History in Japan:Part 1
Tea is thought to have been first brought back to Japan from China by Buddhist scholars, who were sent as envoys to learn more about Chinese culture.
Ancient texts indicate that the first batch of tea seeds were brought back to Japan by a Buddhist priest named Saicho in 805, and then by another named Kukai in 806.
After that, during the latter part of the Heian period (794-1185), Emperor Saga was said to have encouraged the cultivation of tea plants in Japan.
At this time, tea was extremely valuable, so it became a drink of the royal classes, and was enjoyed primarily by imperial court nobles and Buddhist monks.
In 1191, in the early Kamakura Period (1185-1333), Eisai, founder of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism, brought back a new type of tea seeds to Kyoto from Sung-dynasty China.
It was Eisai who wrote the first specialty book about tea in Japan, called Kissa Yōjōki or How to Stay Healthy by Drinking Tea. The two-volume book was written in 1211 after Eisai’s second and last visit to China. The first sentence states, “Tea is the ultimate mental and medical remedy and has the ability to make one’s life more full and complete.”
Eisai was also said to have been instrumental in introducing tea consumption to the warrior or Samurai class.
Slowly, green tea became a staple among cultured people in Japan — a brew for the gentry and the Buddhist priesthood, alike. Production increased and tea became increasingly accessible, though was still a privilege enjoyed mostly by the upper classes.
The pastimes made popular in China in the 12th and 13th centuries – reading poetry, writing calligraphy, painting, and discussing philosophy while enjoying tea – eventually became popular in Japan, particularly within the Samurai society, and helped spur the development of the tea ceremony.
From the late 15th to the late 16th century, tea masters such as Murata Shuko, Takeno Joo and Sen no Rikyu developed a new tea ceremony, referred to as Wabicha. This style of tea ceremony gained a strong following among Samurai, and is the origin of the tea ceremony still practiced today.
As you can imagine, there’s so much more to the history of tea in Japan. So stay tuned for Saturday’s post, where we’ll look at the next stages in the evolution of tea culture in Japan.
Met an amazing lady, Bethany from Ghergich & Co. and learned how to get the perfect espresso shot from this amazing infographic her team put together to help you save time and money while living luxuriously! I just wanted to share this with you before I post for the day 🙂
Traditional Japanese tea ceremonies are well-known across the globe — but many people are unfamiliar with some of the elaborate rituals surrounding coffee. One such ritual with a long cultural history is the coffee ceremony that is still performed to this day by Ethiopians. The nation is considered the birthplace of Arabica coffee, it’s no surprise that coffee has a special significance. Coffee is revered with almost spiritual significance in this ritual, which has been performed for thousands of years.
Let’s take a look at the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, which takes the humble green coffee bean – and guests at the ceremony – on a journey through the roasting process, and then the brewing process, before it is finally poured and served for guests in small ceramic cups.
The Ethiopian coffee ceremony is an integral part of their social and cultural life, and often takes place two or three times per day.
An invitation to attend a coffee ceremony is considered a mark of friendship and respect, and is an excellent example of Ethiopian hospitality.
The ceremony can take 2-3 hours, and gives attendees time to catch up on local news, share their experiences and problems, rest, relax and spend time chatting.
First, the hostess performing the ceremony spreads fresh, aromatic grasses across the floor. She begins burning incense to ward off evil spirits, and continues to burn incense throughout the ceremony. She fills a round-bottomed, black clay coffeepot (known as a “jebena”) with water and places it over hot coals.
Then, the hostess brings out the washed green coffee beans and begins roasting them in a pan on a small open fire or coal furnace. The traditional coffee roasting pan is similar to an old fashioned popcorn roasting pan — it has a very long handle to keep the roaster’s hands away from the heat.
To ensure that the beans are all evenly roasted, the hostess will shake the beans, then will take the pan around the room so that all attendees can experience the powerful aroma of the roasting coffee beans.
When roasted, the coffee beans turn a dark brownish black color, and are often slick with the aromatic oils that are released during the roasting process.
After the hostess has completed roasting the beans, she grinds them by hand into a coarse ground using a tool similar to a mortar and pestle. The “mortar” is a small, heavy wooden bowl called a “mukecha” (pronounced moo-key-cha) and the “pestle” is a wooden or metal cylinder with a blunt end, called a “zenezena”.
The grounds are then added to the now boiling water in the jebena coffeepot, and when ready, the hostess pours the coffee from the pot onto a tray of small, white china cups, from a height of one foot above the tray, without interruption — a feat that can take years of practice to master.
After adding sugar if they desire, guests “buna tetu” (or “drink coffee”), and praise the hostess for her coffee-making skills and the coffee for its flavor.
After the first round of coffee, there are traditionally two additional servings. The three servings are known as “abol”, “tona” and “baraka”. Each serving is progressively weaker than the first. Each cup is said to transform the spirit, and the third serving is considered to be a blessing for those who drink it.
Coffee is usually served without milk, but with sugar. In some villages, variations also include the addition of salt, butter or honey.
Depending on the region, the coffee is often served with traditional snack foods, such as popcorn, peanuts or cooked barley.
Coffee clearly has a long and reverent history in Ethiopian culture. The Ethiopians have a saying, “Buna dabo naw,” which translates literally to “Coffee is our bread.” This demonstrates the central role coffee making, and drinking, has not only for providing sustenance, but for the important social bond it provides for those who share it. We’ll drink coffee to that here at Rae’s Cafe.
Coffee is becoming increasingly popular in the Philippines, both as a beverage and as revitalized agricultural industry. Here are some fun facts about the coffee industry, culture and traditions of the Philippines.
Coffee is strongly associated with family and traditional holiday celebrations, such as Christmas, a time when many people enjoy coffee with friends and family after mass services during the many festive celebrations leading up to Christmas Day.
Coffee is often a popular addition to so-called “balikbayan boxes”, which are care packages that are often sent home by family members working overseas. Such boxes usually contain sought-after items such as coffee, tea, chocolate, and magazines.
The growth and export of coffee beans was once a major industry in the Philippines, which 200 years ago was the fourth-largest coffee producing nation in the world.
The coffee growing industry was struck by a bout of fungus known as “coffee rust”, which spread through much of Africa and Asia in the late 1800s and early 1900s, devastating the industry in the Philippines in around 1889, and forcing many farmers to switch to other crops.
The Philippines now has a comparatively small coffee industry, but efforts are being made to revive it, as coffee popularity and consumption continue to rise.
The Philippines is believed to be one of the few places that can grow all four primary coffee bean varieties — namely Arabica, Robusta, Liberica and Excelsa.
One particular type of Liberica coffee is known in the Philippines as Kape Barako (in English, Barako coffee), and is said to take its name from the Tagalog word for wild boar — because apparently the animals are fond of snacking on the plant’s leaves and berries.