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.
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!
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.
Instead, Organo Gold’s flavorful organically grown green tea is packed with flavonoids and other antioxidants — plus our renowned organic Ganoderma lucidum mushroom.
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.
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.
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.
The Ganoderma lucidium mushroom, so prized by Chinese herbalists, is unique in that grows in wooden trees or logs. Some Ganoderma is harvested using plastic bags which mean that the mushroom’s precious spores cannot effectively propagate, making plastic bag-harvested Ganoderma much less potent.
At Rae’s Cafe, we’re proud of Organo Gold’s natural, organic growing methods and all-natural processing practices. They partnered with some of the most reputable people in the world to produce our Ganoderma lucidum powder.
Here’s a breakdown of how we take these fantastic-looking mushrooms and turn them into an almost magical, potent and wonderfully beneficial powder:
First, OG’s Ganoderma mushrooms are grown undisturbed on maple logs high in the Wuyi Mountains of China’s Fuxhou region. It’s cold and deeply forested up there, and these miraculous mushrooms thrive.
Once harvested, their partners at the $240 million Gano Herb Industrial Park process the mushrooms. The agriculture and food scientists at OG’s state-of-the-art facility use cutting-edge technologies, techniques and equipment to gently dry, sterilize and process the mushrooms, transforming the tough, wood-like caps into a fine powder.
OG’s expert team then carefully transforms the mushroom stems and caps into a fine powder, which is then easily added to our coffee, tea, and other beverage products, as well as personal care products.
OG packages and ships all beverage, personal care and nutraceutical products to our partners and distributors in more than 30 countries across the globe.
Since it was discovered over 5,000 years ago, the root of the ginseng plant has become one of the most prized ingredients in Chinese and herbal medicine. It has been dubbed the “King of all Herbs”, and was so treasured in ancient China that its use was exclusively reserved for the privileged elite.
Here are a few facts about this unique plant, and the root that has been hailed for its health-affirming properties for thousands of years, both by Chinese herbalists and Native healers in North America.
The ginseng plant grows only in the Northern Hemisphere, primarily in the cooler climates of North America and eastern Asia (Korea, the Manchuria region of China, Bhutan and eastern Siberia).
The English name “ginseng” is derived from the Chinese term “rénshēn” —rén meaning “man” and shēn meaning “plant root” — due to the fact that the root of the plant often resembles the human form.
Similarly, the Native American term for the plant, “garantoquen” translates to “like a man”, again referring to the human-like form of the plant’s prized root.
Ancient healers believed that the human-like shape of the root indicated that it would act as a tonic for the entire body.
The botanical name of the plant, “Panax” is derived from the Greek root meaning “cure all” or “all healing” and is related to the word panacea.
Ginseng is known as an “ataptogen” which means it is a botanical that can help improve the body’s ability to adapt to stress and bring the body back to a healthy, balanced state.
In Chinese herbal medicine, ginseng is used in many preparations to help with a wide range of conditions. Primary uses include stimulation of circulation, mental function, performance or endurance, and balancing or improving the function of the adrenal gland.
Recent studies have indicated that ginseng could also help control blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes.
Organo Gold has infused the incredible benefits of Panax Ginseng into the Gourmet Café Supreme, which means that today, obtaining the renowned benefits of this ancient medicinal root is as easy as drinking a smooth, delicious cup of coffee.
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!
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.”
With their long brown stems and shiny orange caps, the mushrooms look like something straight out of a children’s book!
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.”
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.
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.
Because Ganoderma Lucidum respires just like humans — oxygen in and carbon dioxide out — it helps add a quality source of oxygen to the body.
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.
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!
FINALLY! It’s staying warm outside on a consistent basis and I really wanted some iced green tea. What better way to enjoy it than with theOrganic Green Tea featured at Rae’s Cafe. The organic Ganoderma supplements the benefits of the green tea for an even healthier drink!
Did You Know?
Green tea has been used as a medicine for thousands of years, originating in China but widely used throughout Asia this beverage has a multitude of uses from lowering blood pressure to preventing cancer. The reason that green tea has more health benefits attached to it than black tea is due to the processing. Black tea is processed in a way that allows for fermentation whereas green tea’s processing avoids the fermentation process. As a result, green tea retains maximum amount of antioxidants and polyphenols the substances that give green tea its many benefits!
While you’re waiting for water to boil, open Green Tea sachets and place in mug; pour desired amount of honey over tea bags, if desired. Pour boiling water over bags to top of mug (honey will melt easily). Steep for 1-3 minutes (depending on taste preference) then squeeze excess liquid out of bags and discard them; stir tea. Cool the tea in the fridge for 15-20 min. Pour tea over desired amount of ice and enjoy!
Tea has been enjoyed by many cultures for centuries thanks to its refreshing and revitalizing properties, but it is only in recent years that scientists have confirmed the many beneficial properties of this beverage, which is high in antioxidants which can help fight off the free radical damage associated with aging.
All true teas come from the same plant, a bush known as Camellia Sinensis, but the differences in processing the leaves result in different types of tea. Here’s a breakdown of the different tea types:
Green Tea: Green tea is produced when the leaves of the tea plant are simply steamed, rolled and dried. This tea has a light, almost grassy flavor and high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols.
Black Tea: Black tea is made using the same leaves as green tea, only the leaves go through a longer oxidation and fermentation process, which leads to its darker color and stronger flavor. The process means that black tea also has higher levels of caffeine and tannins than green tea.
Red Tea: In the West, we refer to the color of the tea leaves, and thus call it “black tea” — but the Chinese refer to the color of the brewed drink, which is why black tea is often called red tea in China. Another kind of red “tea” called ‘Rooibos’ isn’t technically a tea as it comes from an entirely different plant, the Aspalathus linearis or red bush plant from South Africa.
Tea is a truly international beverage, with many cultures including it in their daily routine: Britain has its fine bone china teacups; India has ornate, hand-carved teapots; Morocco serves its mint tea in beautifully-painted glass tea cups; China and Japan practice ancient tea ceremonies; and even modern tea adoptees such as America’s Southerners can proudly be seen sipping their tall glasses of iced tea (sometimes laced with sweet, freshly-picked peaches!) on steamy summer afternoons.
There is something inherently soothing about the goodness of tea that has seen it adopted by so many cultures across the globe. Here are our five reasons for loving tea:
Many cultures across the world have tea ceremonies, from the ancient rituals in China and Japan to the classic British “high tea” where pretty little teacups are served alongside dainty tea sandwiches and scones.
Tea became popular in the UK after Britain colonized India in the late 1700s. The tea plant thrives in the ideal tea-growing climate of India, notably in regions such as the Darjeeling mountains. Nearby, Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka) is also renowned for its high quality tea production.
Tea also gained favor in British colonies such as Australia and New Zealand due to the influence of their English settlers.
Organic Red Tea is like a blank canvas. You can make it strong, you can add honey or lemon or your favorite milk for extra flavor, or you can drink it warm (and comforting) or iced (and refreshing) depending on your mood and the weather.
Organic Green Tea is a great way to indulge in the “ritual” of tea. Try mixing up a batch in a Japanese stoneware teapot, or serving it in ceramic teacups, for a more traditional “tea service”.