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

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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

Enjoi Rae’s Organic Products!

As Rae’s Café expands, sharing our ganoderma-enhanced coffees, teas and other beverages and products with people all across the continent, one of the things that we are proudest of is our organic items. Organo Gold’s commitment to organic farming wherever possible means that several of our best-selling products are certified organic by Ecocert, the global certification body for sustainable development. These organic products — which include Organo Gold Organic Green TeaOrganic Red TeaPremium King of CoffeeGanoderma Lucidum Spore Powder, and Organic Ganoderma Lucidum Capsules — are some of Rae’s finest, and represent the pinnacle of what Organo Gold is all about — providing customers with the products they need for an active lifestyle.

Europeans in particular seem to truly appreciate Organo Gold’s commitment to quality — and organic farming wherever possible — because Europe has always been on the cutting-edge of organic farming. Here’s some info on just how progressive Europe is on the organic front:

  • Twenty-four percent of the world’s organic land is in Europe.
  • The countries with the largest organic area are Italy (1’150’253 hectares), Spain (988’323 hectares) and Germany (865’336 hectares).
  • In 2007, sales of organic products were approximately 16 billion Euros.
  • The largest market for organic products in 2007 was Germany — with a turnover of 5.3 billion Euros, which increased to 5.8 billion Euros in 2008.
  • Germany is followed by the UK (2.6 billion Euros), France and Italy (both 1.9 billion Euros) in spending on organic products.
  • Support for organic farming in the European Union (as well as some of the EU’s neighboring countries) includes grants under rural development programs, legal protection and a European Action Plan as well as national action plans in individual countries.
  • One of the key instruments of the European Action Plan on organic food and farming, an information campaign, was launched during 2008, with the aim of increasing awareness of organic farming throughout the European Union.

We look forward to the organic-conscious European community embracing the Cafe’s and our pro-organic ethos, and to sharing Organo Gold’s certified organic products far and wide across the world.

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It’s Easy Being Green

One of the most famous “greenies” of all time, the inimitable Kermit the Frog, was mistaken when he said, “It’s not easy being green.” At Organo Gold, we are proud of our green concepts and products. And we’re not just talking about our refreshing organic green tea here, either!

We take our environmental impact very seriously. And we also take the quality of our ingredients, and the quality of our renowned products, very seriously. Especially when Rae’s Cafe has so many products that are consumed with the customer’s well being in mind — such as our:

All of these products are certified organic by Ecocert, the global certification body for sustainable development. This means, according to the Ecocert Canada standards, that they are made with a minimum of 70-95% of organic ingredients.

Often times, particularly with sensitive ingredients such as green tea and Ganoderma, cheaper, non-organic products use inferior ingredients that are farmed and harvested without Organo Gold’s strict standards. Which means it’s possible for toxic chemicals to leech into the plants or mushrooms. Which really flies in the face of taking the positive step to take nutritional supplements or drink antioxidant-rich organic green tea.

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5 Reasons to Go Green- Rae’s Organic Green Tea, that is!

Organo Gold’s Organic Green Tea is one of the Café’s most sought-after products. And there is a very good reason for that. Not only is it a deliciously healthy and refreshing beverage, it contains plenty of positive antioxidants and polyphenols, which have well-documented benefits. And in the case of green tea, we feel it’s always better if it happens organically!

  1. Organic products such as OG Organic Green Tea, are made using finest quality organically farmed green tea leaves. Non-organic or lower grade products can contain excessive levels of harmful chemicals such as fluorides and pesticides.
  2. Instead, Organo Gold’s flavorful organically grown green tea is packed with flavonoids and other antioxidants — plus our renowned organic Ganoderma lucidum mushroom.
  3. Green tea is less processed than black/red tea. It is considered to be the most “natural” of teas because it is made simply by steaming the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant in hot water — and was the only form of tea for centuries before black/red (fermented) and oolong (semi-fermented) were developed some thousands of years later. So, the better the raw ingredient, the healthier the end product. That’s why we only use organically grown green tea in our OG products.
  4. Gaining organic certification is a lengthy process, and can also be costly. Which means only companies passionate about their product and its use in a healthy modern lifestyle tend to seek an organic stamp. Thus, an organic label can be a good marker of high quality, great tasting tea.
  5. Simply the ceremonial history and nature of green tea is a calming ritual that can help you get into a more “Zen-like” zone. Zen Buddhism was the primary influence in the development of the tea ceremony, and it originated in 6th century China. Back then, everything was unofficially “organic”!

And with OG Organic Green Tea’s addition of the renowned organic Ganoderma lucidum mushroom — it’s a truly invigorating and organic experience.

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Pineapple Mint Green Tea Smoothie

The sun is coming out, the seasons have changed, and you’re in need of a refreshing and delicious drink. As Mother Nature handles the first two items, we’re more than happy to provide you with the third.

For today’s Barista Bulletin, we decided to welcome in the sunny weather with a tropical fruit that’s known just as much for its intimidating exterior as it is for its citrusy flavor.

It’s time to break out the blender and enjoy as one of our signature products gets a tropical twist.

Pineapple Mint Green Tea Smoothie

Ingredients:

-8-10 oz of fresh, ripe pineapple

-1 pear

-Large handful of baby spinach leaves

-Half a handful of fresh mint (you can throw in the stalks too)

-1/2 cup of cooled down Organic Green Tea

-Large handful of ice

Steps:

-Chop up the fruit roughly and chuck everything into a blender.

-Whizz the heck out of it.

-Go slowly up to speed 10 and then blend for about one and a half to two minutes

-Make sure it’s all smooth.

-Pour into glasses

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Enjoy!

Tea Time Fun Facts

Tea is a beverage often associated with health (all those antioxidants), breakfast (all those crumpets!) and ancient cultures (all those ceremonies). So tea has a long, diverse and storied history. Here are some fun facts about tea you may not have known:

  • Tea bags were invented in America in the early 1800s, and were initially used to hold samples of teas brought from India. Today, an estimated 96% of all cups of tea served around the world are made using tea bags.
  • After tourism, the cultivation of tea is India’s second largest industry.
  • Tea leaves are a natural deterrent against insects such as mosquitoes. Simply use slightly damp leaves to add the scent of tea to the areas you want to keep insect-free.
  • Tea leaves can also help to heal shaving cuts, eliminate bad odors, and make a great fertilizer for roses.

As we all know, tea is a natural antioxidant, but it is also rich in essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamins B2, B1 and B6, potassium, manganese, folic acid and calcium.

And of course Rae’s tea products are also enhanced with Organo Gold’s prized Ganoderma powder, making Rae’s teas some of the most beneficial beverages around!

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Simple Ways to Save Time and Money

Let’s crunch the numbers: An estimated 120 to 150 million cups of coffee are consumed every day across the USA, at an average rate of 1.6 cups per man and 1.6 cups per woman over the age of 18. No doubt, one or two of them are consumed in or around your household.

Now imagine the 10 to 15 minutes it takes you to either:

  1. Fix the cup yourself at home using your: drip brew coffee machine; espresso machine; French press; or other DIY coffee method of choice; add a few additional minutes if you grind your own beans at home (for the time it takes using and washing the grinder).
  2. Stand in line at your local coffee shop or cafe.

On average – whether it’s prepping coffee at home or buying it to-go – that’s around 12 minutes per cup, per day. This doesn’t seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but let’s add that up and look at the bigger picture. The average prep time for six days a week of just one coffee per day, breaks down to 12 minutes per cup. Multiply that by 312 days a year and that’s a grand total of 3,744 minutes per year, or, roughly 62 hours or about two-and-a-half (2.6 to be exact) days a year just preparing coffee.

Now imagine what else you could do in that time? Two-and-a-half days could be spent enjoying a lovely vacation — perhaps in a ski lodge, or at a resort on a sunny tropical island, if that’s more your style. Or you could read a book. Or write a short story. Or see multiple movies. Or take in your favorite sporting event, in person or live via broadcast television.

Time is valuable in today’s busy, multi-tasking society. For many of us, time is money. So wasted time means wasted money. What if you could save those 62 hours?

In honor of the Coffee Connoisseur Club, here are our six top tips on using the Cafe’s coffee, mocha and tea products to help literally save you time and money, and make your life simpler, more efficient, and possibly even happier. And who doesn’t want to be happier?

  1. Gourmet Cafe Supreme not only has the light and creamy flavor of a $5 store-bought latte, it has added benefits. Namely, it is enhanced with two powerful ingredients: 100% pure Ganoderma extract; plus the prized ancient ingredient of Panax Ginseng root.
  2. For basic black coffee connoisseurs, Gourmet Black Coffee features a classic, robust, smooth flavor, and is enhanced with antioxidant-rich Ganoderma extract.
  3. With Gourmet Café Latte, a light, creamy latte is at your fingertips in an instant — minus the wait in line.
  4. Guilty of a sweet tooth and tend to crave a sugary pick-me-up in the middle of the afternoon? We have the answer— Gourmet Café Mocha. This instant product offers a rich, cocoa-tinged coffee that’s ideal for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
  5. Organic Green Tea adds an element of instant zen to your day, blending the finest organic green tea leaves with our renowned organic Ganoderma extract for an antioxidant double dose.
  6. Prefer a chilled beverage on those hot summer days and nights? Try an instant cup of Black Ice— a naturally invigorating iced black tea that has already been sweetened with pure, natural honey and enhanced with Ganoderma extract and Amazonian Guarana, to revive your body and mind.

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Cherry Blossom Green Tea

Summer has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere and the streets are flushed with varying shades of pink as cherry blossoms due to their springtime bloom from hibernation.

For today’s recipe, I’m going to show you how to make a sweet summertime drink using one of our signature products. So sit back, enjoy the sunny weather, and relax with a Cafe Original ‘Cherry Blossomed Green Tea’.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Organic Green Tea sachets
  • 8-12 oz of hot water
  • 1 Spoon of cherry juice (you can make it fresh yourself or use maraschino cherry syrup)
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Cherries (optional)
  • Ice (optional)

Instructions:

1. Steep the Organic Green Tea into the hot water

2. Add a small spoon of cherry juice/syrup

3. Add sugar and a couple of cherries for extra sweetness

4. Stir and enjoy!

Note: The syrup alone will make your tea sweeter. Check it before adding the sugar.

To make an Iced version of this use 2 sachets of Organic Green Tea and 12 oz of water. After steeped and cherry juice along with desired sugar is stirred in, let cool for 15-30 min (can stick in fridge/freezer to help with this) then add ice. Enjoy!

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8 Reasons to LOVE Ganoderma

It’s at the heart of all of our products, which is why Rae’s Café is such a big fan of Ganoderma, the ancient Chinese mushroom that has long been used in Eastern medicine. Here are just some of the many reasons this precious fungus has been revered for thousands of years, and why Rae’s Cafe just loves it so!

  1. The names given to Ganoderma in various Asian languages reflects its potency. The Chinese name, Lingzhi, means “spiritual potency”, while the Japanese name, Reishi, translates as “King of herbs.” The Vietnamese name for the Ganoderma mushroom, Linh Chi, literally means “supernatural mushroom.”
  2. With their long brown stems and shiny orange caps, the mushrooms look like something straight out of a children’s book!
  3. Ganoderma Lucidum has been recognized by practitioners of traditional Asian medicine as the highest ranked of all herbs found in the Chinese pharmacopoeia. Dr. 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), where he wrote that “long-term taking of Ganoderma will build a strong, healthy body and assure a long life.”
  4. Today, Ganoderma has become known by modern science for its potent antioxidant properties, and antioxidants have a wide range of health benefits. According to The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Ganoderma contains one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants in any food.
  5. Certain types of Ganoderma, such as the Cafe’s Ganoderma Lucidum Mycelium, also contain the polysaccharide Beta-glucan, which has been shown to help stimulate immune function.
  6. Because Ganoderma Lucidum respires just like humans — oxygen in and carbon dioxide out — it helps add a quality source of oxygen to the body.
  7. At Rae’s Cafe, the Ganoderma is grown naturally in logs, as it was meant to, high in the Wuyi Mountains of China’s Fuzhou region.
  8. Finally, Ganoderma is transformed in Organo Gold’s multi-million dollar facility in China into a flavorless powder that adds goodness to all of the Cafe’s delicious products — such as our BrewKups, our pre-brewed coffees, organic teas, gourmet hot chocolate, nutraceuticals, and more!

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