The Ultimate Workout Boost

It’s official — gone are the days of people thinking of coffee consumption as a “vice.” Recent scientific findings indicate that coffee can help you improve your performance at the gym! According to a recent study, those who enjoyed a cup of coffee prior to their workout burned more calories than those who didn’t.

The Spanish study, which was published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, found that trained athletes who took in caffeine pre-exercise burned about 15% more calories for three hours post-exercise, compared to those who ingested a placebo.

So just how much caffeine does it take to up one’s gym performance? The dose that triggered the effect was 4.5 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. For a 150-pound woman, that’s roughly 300mg of caffeine, the amount in about 12 ounces of brewed coffee, a quantity many people are already sipping each morning. The British Coffee Association was quick to support this pro-caffeine and exercise study, stating that “about two cups an hour prior to working out improves endurance will help you perform for 30% longer.”

This isn’t the first study that has demonstrated the positive effects of caffeine, which has been shown to help increase a person’s heart-rate, circulation and mental alertness— all positive things in a fitness environment.

So, why not make this new study your new motivation to hit the gym, take that walk around the lake, go on that bike ride or make it to that yoga class? Just whip up a 12 ounce cup of Rae’s Gourmet Black Coffee before you head out to really maximize your exercise performance.

Ultimate Workout Boost!

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A Nation of Coffee Lovers

They sure do love their coffee in Italy —it’s almost impossible to picture Italy without those small white espresso cups somewhere in the scene. To celebrate Italian coffee culture, we thought we’d take a look about the history and culture of the humble bean in this coffee-adoring country.

  • Espresso is regulated by the Italian government because it is considered an such essential part of Italian daily life.
  • Coffee is often drunk quickly, standing up at espresso bars in cities across Italy.
  • If your order “un caffè” in Italy, you’ll receive a shot of espresso.
  • Coffee was first introduced to Europe from Egypt through the Italian city of Venice, where a flourishing trade between the local businessmen and Arabs enabled a large variety of commodities and goods to be imported, including the precious new commodity that was coffee beans.
  • The first “caffe” reportedly opened in Venice in 1683, and soon became synonymous with comfortable atmosphere, conversation, and good food, adding romance and sophistication to the coffee-drinking experience.
  • It was two Italians who came up with that we know today as the espresso machine. First, in Turin, Italy in 1884, a man by the name of Angelo Moriondo lodged a patent for a “steam-driven instantaneous coffee beverage making device.” This patent is considered by many to be a precursor of the espresso coffee machine.
  • Then, in 1901, Milanese manufacturer Luigi Bezzera came up with some improvements to the espresso machine. He patented a number of these, the first of which was applied for on the 19th of December 1901. It was titled “Innovations in the machinery to prepare and immediately serve coffee beverage.” Bezzera was said to have come up with the idea in order to reduce the amount of time his factory workers spent on their coffee breaks!
  • An estimated 14 billion espresso coffees are consumed each year in Italy, and Italians consume approximately 8 pounds of coffee per capita, per year.

NationofCoffeeLovers

The Beneficial Brew

We’ve written before about some of the amazing health benefits of green tea — it can help with cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, promote longevity, fight against aging, improve brain function and concentration, and even help to ease anxiety. A recent study has also shown that green tea appears to boost the activity of DNA repair enzymes.

Researchers have long reported health benefits in green tea drinkers, but for this new study, Iris Benzie and her colleagues at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University monitored the activity of DNA repair enzymes in lymphocytes shortly after people drank a cup of green tea, and again after study participants had been drinking two cups of green tea each day for a week.

The team found that an enzyme (known as “hOGG1”) which is critical for fixing DNA damage from oxidation, and another enzyme that protects against such damage, were more active after the 16 study participants drank tea compared to when they drank just water.

The team also found 30 percent less DNA damage in lymphocytes 60 minutes after participants had drunk a cup of tea. According to Benzie, the finding “opens up a whole new avenue to look at the molecular mechanisms”of green tea’s effect on cells.

While only a preliminary study, these new findings again reveal that green tea is definitely beneficial, and there’s science to prove it. Thankfully, we love Organo’s Organic Green Tea so much, we don’t need science to tell us to drink more — but the data sure does help!

The Beneficial Brew

Coffee in Malaysia

Not unlike in China, Malaysia has traditionally been more of a tea-drinking nation, but coffee has been on the rise, as coffee culture grows more popular, particularly amongst young professionals, and coffee shops are mushrooming up all across the country.

Here are some facts and figures about the the history and recent growth of coffee culture in Malaysia:

  • Traditional Malaysian coffee, called “kopi,” is for some an acquired taste. It is made by pouring boiling water through grounds held in a cloth “sock” or filter, and is thick, strong and bitter. Kopi can be drunk hot or iced, and is often mellowed with sweetened condensed milk.
  • Liberica, a coffee variety native to Africa that’s considered inferior in taste to arabica and robusta, is thought to have been introduced to the Malaysian peninsula in the 1800s. The plant is still cultivated in small numbers, mostly in the central and southern states of Selangor and Johor.
  • Malaysian kopi’s distinctive burnt flavor comes from the butter and sugar that the beans are roasted with.
  • Whatever today’s coffee connoisseurs might make of kopi, the traditional coffee beverage is a cherished part of Malaysian cultural heritage.
  • Kopi is served in “Kopitiam” (“tiam” is the Hokkien Chinese word for shop) — traditional Malaysian coffee shops that also serve Western dishes like toast and eggs, and Malaysian standards such as fried rice and noodles.
  • Since the early 2000s, an array of kopitiam-inspired coffee chains with nostalgia-inducing names have sprouted across the country.
  • In a February 2014 article in Business Insider Malaysia, it was reported that “the mushrooming of coffee shops has even spread to Southeast Asia, and very visibly in the past two years, in Kuala Lumpur.”
  • “Coffee shops are a rising star in the specialty eatery industry and the fastest growing niche in the restaurant business, elevating the taste by offering brewed coffee and specialty espresso drinks like cappuccinos and lattes,” the Business Insider Malaysiaarticle reported.

For those keen to experience Malaysian coffee culture first-hand, here’s a quick glossary of “kopi” and how to order this national beverage:

Kopi:               hot coffee with sweetened condensed milk

Kopi O:           hot coffee with sugar only

Kopi kosong: hot coffee with no sugar and no milk

Peng:              added to any of the above will get you the said version in a glass, over ice

Kaow:             added to any of the above will get you an extra strong cup (or glass).

Malaysia

Sweet Fun Facts About Honey

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!

Bzzzzz

China: The Birthplace of Reishi

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.

ReishiBirthplace

All the Coffee in China

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.

AlltheCoffeeinChina

Landed in Taipei

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

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. The Republic of China took over Taiwan in 1945, following the Japanese surrender that brought the hostilities of WWII to an end.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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).
  1. 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.
  1. There are so many stylish cafes focused on tea and coffee in Taipei, it has been reported that many Taiwanese baby boomers are worried that their children are too busy opening coffee shops with their friends to make a difference in the world or strive for “important” jobs in society.

Taipei City View

Japanese Tea History Part 2

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 Tea is one of our most popular products.

Part 2-Japanese Tea History

Thanks A-Latte Comes to Life!

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

https://youtu.be/RaTAoJdJmks