Africa: A Coffee Continent

Ethiopia is thought to have been the birthplace of coffee — by now we all know the story of the Ethiopian shepherd who noticed his goats becoming particularly energetic after eating the vivid red coffee berries. So it’s no wonder that Africa has a rich history in coffee, as well as a thriving coffee industry. Africa is one of the top coffee producing regions in the world, with many nations, including Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya, counting coffee as one of their key crops and exports.

Here are some tidbits of information about the coffee industry past and present throughout the continent of Africa:

  • The coffee plant originates from the highland forests of Ethiopia. It is believed that the first plants were found growing wild in the region of Kaffa, which is where coffee derives its name.
  • Today, Ethiopia is Africa’s top exporter of Arabica beans, and the nation’s coffee industry employs an estimated 12 million Ethiopian people.
  • A wide range of dry and wet processed coffees are produced in Ethiopia, and all have a reputation for their winey, fruity and floral flavors. Ethiopian Arabica is considered by many to be the finest coffee produced in Africa.
  • The Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (OCFCU) in Ethiopia is the largest organic coffee exporter in the world.
  • The nation of Uganda produces primarily Robusta coffee beans, and the humble bean accounts for approximately 75 percent of the country’s export revenue and provides employment for around 80 percent of all rural workers.
  • In Kenya, the export of coffee beans is one of the biggest industries, yet tea is a more popular beverage in Kenyan culture.
  • Kenya’s high-grown, wet-processed Arabica is considered one of the worlds great coffees, and is characterized by a flavor that is full bodied, acidic, slightly winey and very smooth, with a dry winey aftertaste.
  • Coffee berries provided a precursor to the modern day energy bar — it is believed that some East African tribes would mix the berries with animal fat to form edible energy balls.

Africa the Coffee Continent

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A Timeline of Tea History

Sorry I didn’t post Tuesday or Wednesday this week, my computer (with all my files) was teaching me patience and gratitude. Enjoy and have a wonderful #ThirstyThursday!!!

We’ve explained before the semantics of the naming of OG’s Red Tea product. While in the West we generally refer to the color of the tea leaves, and thus call it “black tea” — in China, Korea and Japan, the name refers to the color of the infused drink itself. So, that’s why what some people in Western countries think of as “black tea” is dubbed “red tea” at Rae’s Cafe.

Tea is believed to have been discovered completely by accident, way back in 2737 BC. It is said that Shen Nung, the second emperor of China, discovered tea when some leaves from a Camellia sinensis plant (the plant that all traditional teas are made from) blew into his pot of boiling water. The habit of drinking tea leaves steeped in a tea pot didn’t become popular until during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Here’s a timeline that traces the long and storied history of the beverage that is so popular today — from that first accidental leaf right through to the first tea bag.

2737 B.C.

According to legend, the second emperor of China, Shen Nung, discovers tea when tea leaves blow into his boiling water.

A.D. 350

A Chinese dictionary cites tea for the first time as Erh Ya.

400

Demand for tea as a medicinal drink rises in China, and it is begun to be cultivated and processed.

479

Turkish traders begin to trade for tea from Mongolia.

593

Japanese priests studying in China carry tea seeds and leaves back to Japan. It is rare and expensive and is consumed mostly by high priests and the aristocracy.

725

The Chinese give tea its own character, ch’a.

780

The first book of tea, titled Ch’a Ching (The Classic of Tea), is written. It discusses ancient tea cultivation and preparation techniques.

1280

After the Mongols take over China, tea loses its aristocratic status and becomes more popular among the masses.

1368-1644

After the fall of the Ming Dynasty with the Mongol takeover, all teas (black, green, and oolong) are easily accessible in China. Steeping whole tea leaves in cups or teapots becomes more popular.

1422-1502

Zen priest Murata Shuko creates the Japanese tea ceremony and calls it cha-no-yu (hot water tea). It celebrates the mundane aspects of everyday life. Tea becomes more than just an art form and almost a religion.

1589

Europeans are exposed to tea when a Venetian author claims that Asians live so long because of their tea consumption.

1597

Tea appears for the first time in an English translation of Dutch explorer Jan Hugo van Linschoten’s papers. He refers to tea as chaa.

1610

The Dutch bring back green tea from Japan (though some scholars say it was actually from China). The Dutch East India Company markets tea as a medicinal drink, though only the very rich can afford it.

1618

Chinese ambassadors present the Russian Czar Alexis with chests of tea. He refuses it as being useless.

1657

The first tea is sold in London, England, at Garraway’s Coffee House, as a health beverage.

1662

England’s King Charles II’s new bride, Catherine Braganza of Portugal, is an avid tea drinker and helps make tea more popular and accessible.

1690

The first tea is sold publicly in Massachusetts.

1717

Thomas Twining transforms Tom’s Coffee House into the “Golden Lyon, the first tea shop in England.

1773

In what is known as the Boston Tea Party, a group of Massachusetts colonists dumped several hundred chests of tea into Boston Harbor to protest taxes on tea.

1840

Anna the Duchess of Bedford introduces afternoon tea.

1856

Tea is planted in and around Darjeeling, India.

1876

Thomas Johnstone Lipton opens his first shop in Glasgow, Scotland.

1904

Englishman Richard Blechynden invents iced tea during a heat wave at the St. Louis World’s Fair.

1908

New Yorker Thomas Sullivan invents tea bags when he sends tea to clients in small silk bags and they mistakenly steep the whole bag.

Rae's Red Tea

Aztec Hot Chocolate History

People tend to think of hot chocolate as a warm, comforting drink, one served up to small children on a cold night. But it was once revered as a great tonic for warriors, who needed energy and sustenance to tackle challenges such as big battles or arduous journeys. In fact, hot chocolate has a history as rich and colorful as the drink itself.

Here are some fun facts about the history of hot chocolate in ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures:

  • The first chocolate beverage is believed to have been created by the Mayan people of around 2,000 years ago, and a cocoa beverage was an essential part of Aztec culture by 1400 AD.
  • An early Classic (460-480 AD) period Mayan tomb from the site of Rio Azul, Guatemala, was found to contain vessels bearing the Mayan glyph for cacao, and the vessels contained the residue of a chocolate drink.
  • In ancient Mesoamerica, the cacao drink, known as “xocolātl” was considered sacred and was used during initiation ceremonies, funerals, and marriages. During this time, cacao beans were also used as currency.
  • Montezuma II, the last ruler of the Aztec empire, was said to have kept a huge storehouse of cacao, and to have drunk up to 50 golden goblets of chocolate a day.
  • Montezuma II is also said to have decreed that only men who went to war were to imbibe the precious cacao drink, and thus cacao became a regular part of military rations.
  • During the battles between Montezuma II’s forces and the Spanish conquistadors who invaded Mexico under the rule of Conquistador Hernán Cortés, it was noted that the Aztec’s chocolate drink helped to fortify and energize the men, as one Spanish observer noted: “This drink is the healthiest thing, and the greatest sustenance of anything you could drink in the world, because he who drinks a cup of this liquid, no matter how far he walks, can go a whole day without eating anything else.”
  • After defeating Montezuma’s warriors and demanding that the Aztec nobles hand over their valuables, Cortés returned to Spain in 1528, bringing cocoa beans and chocolate drink making equipment.Drinking chocolate or hot chocolate soon became popular amongst the elite in Spain, and then spread across the rest of Europe.

So, it seems we have the ancient Aztecs and their precious cacao beans to thank for the delicacy we know today as hot chocolate. And while the modern version — particularly the tasty Rae’s Gourmet Hot Chocolate that’s also infused with Ganoderma lucidum — may be a lot more refined than its ancient predecessor, it certainly remains a powerful elixir, and one that we have happily added to our beverage repertoire.

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USA is Gourmet All the Way!

It seems consumers are switching to gourmet coffee options — according to a market research study published April 7, 2014 on the website Marketwatch.com. The study, commissioned by the National Coffee Association (NCA), examined National Coffee Drinking Trends (NCDT).

Research found that the daily consumption of gourmet coffee beverages is on the rise, with 34 percent of American adults enjoying at least one gourmet coffee drink daily — up 3 percent from 2013’s 31 percent finding. Gourmet coffee drinks can consist of an array of items, from espresso-based drinks (such as lattes and cappuccinos) to coffee made using gourmet beans.

The strongest consumers of gourmet coffee are those in the 25 to 39 years of age demographic, with 42 percent of them saying they consume at least one gourmet coffee drink daily, according to the study. Findings also indicated that about one-third of consumers aged 18 to 24 enjoyed a daily gourmet coffee, as well as one-third of the 40 to 59 demographic. And in the 60 and older category, the  daily consumption was at about one-quarter of the group.

One particularly interesting finding indicates that some Americans are switching from soft drinks to coffee, and the gap has widened over recent years. Daily consumption of coffee came in at 61 percent of American adults, compared with soft drinks’ 41 percent. So the daily consumption of soft drinks is declining, but coffee remains strong and steady, and is on the rise in the gourmet market.

In other specific data, the study found that the daily consumption of gourmet coffee beverages is strongest amongst Hispanic-Americans at 48 percent, followed by Asian-Americans at 42 percent, Caucasian-Americans at 32 percent, and African-Americans at 23 percent.

One thing is for sure, Rae’s Café has plenty of gourmet coffee options to satisfy the daily coffee habits of everyone, including products such as Gourmet Black CoffeePremium Gourmet King of CoffeeGourmet Café LatteGourmet Café Supreme, and so many more!

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#GBYD #GourmetLivesMatter #RaezCafe

Rae’s Cafe Mocha

This is one of the first videos that I made for Rae’s Cafe. The Cafe Mocha is one of my faves…it also saves you time and money 🙂 Awesome, right?! It’s easy…it’s simple…

#GourmetLivesMatter #RaezCafe

What Your Coffee Reveals About Your Personality

More from UK Coffee Week …. From The Telegraph, April 7, 2014

The type of coffee that you drink could reveal something about your personality, according to research.

A study has found that people who drink certain types of coffee share common attributes. If you drink a latte, or add milk to your coffee, then you are likely to go out of your way to help others whereas if you prefer to drink decaffeinated coffee you are more likely to be obsessive and controlling.

Clinical psychologist Dr Ramani Durvasula conducted a study of 1,000 coffee drinkers and assessed a number of common personality styles and psychological traits. These include introversion and extroversion; patience; perfectionism; warmth; vigilance; sensitivity; and social boldness, among others.

Black coffee drinkers were found to be “purist’ and prefer to keep things simple. They were found to be patient and simple but also set in their ways and resistant to making changes. Being quiet and moody were also common traits found in black coffee drinkers.

Latte drinkers were seen to be comfort seekers and generous with their time but could also be seen to overextend themselves.

Those people who order sweet, frozen drinks, for example a frappuccino, were seen to be ‘trendsetters’ and enjoy trying lots of new things. They are considered to be socially bold but also could be reckless.

People who order extra-foamy drinks such as cappuccino or opt for decaffeinated coffee enjoy being in control and are often perfectionists. They are overly sensitive and tend to be worriers but are scrupulous about monitoring their health.

Finally instant coffee drinkers were found to be the most laid-back people. But they are also poor planners and are most likely to put things off through procrastination.

In the survey, which is described in Dr. Durvasula’s book entitled You Are WHY You Eat: Change Your Food Attitude, Change Your Life, people were given common scenarios and asked to choose from a series of approaches to these scenarios. The survey also asked if they drink coffee and what they typically ordered.

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Blue Mountain Grown Coffee

Rae’s Cafe is really proud of OG’s Premium Gourmet Royal Brewed coffee product. This smooth, flavorful coffee uses hand-sorted beans grown high in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica — an area that produces some of the most sought-after coffee in the world.

Let’s take a closer look at this region, and see why it is not only a place of beauty, but home to of some of the most prized coffee beans on the planet:

  • The Blue Mountains of Jamaica are located between Kingston to the south and Port Antonio to the north. Rising to 2,300 meters (7,500 ft), they are some of the highest mountains in the Caribbean.
  • The climate of the region is cool and misty with high rainfall, and the soil is rich, with excellent drainage. This combination of climate and soil is considered to be the ideal growing conditions for coffee — which is one of the reasons why beans from this region are so highly prized.
  • Coffee beans grown in this region and at the high mountain altitude (the finest coffee here is cultivated between 2,000 and 5,000 feet above sea level) are also prized for their mild flavor and lack of bitterness, making them incredibly popular.
  • A whopping 80% of the beans from the Blue Mountains are exported to Japan.
  • Coffee production in this region is highly regulated by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica, who certify and label all coffee grown in the region to avoid any mislabeling or counterfeit beans that could dilute the incredible reputation of coffee from the region.
  • Hagley Gap and Mavis Bank are two farming communities located in the Jamaican Blue Mountain region that rely heavily upon the area’s renowned coffee growing industry.

Here at Rae’s Cafe, we’re proud to be able to offer such fine coffee to our customers, as beans from the Blue Mountain region truly are one of the treasures of the earth. Combining this with our prized Ganoderma lucidum makes this product a brew fit for royalty. We hope you enjoy a touch of Jamaica’s finest beans every day, and experience the healthy luxury of Premium Gourmet Royal Brewed coffee.

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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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Ginseng & Coffee

We don’t like to play favorites — but there is something truly special about Rae’s Cafe Supreme. This light, creamy coffee is enhanced with two powerful ingredients to add extra oomph to your day — pure Ganoderma lucidum, plus the prized ancient root of Panax ginseng.

Once considered so valuable it was only available to the privileged elite, the history of ginseng dates back more than five thousand years. Discovered in the Manchuria mountains of northern China, it is thought that ginseng was initially used for food, since edible plants were a sought-after commodity in those days.

As mythical legend goes, the first “proof” of any medicinal purposes behind ginseng weren’t actually recorded until around three thousand years ago. With the first claims stating that ginseng gave power to the soul, while expelling evils, many people also had the belief that the roof of a ginseng plant looked similar to the shape of the human body, and thus imbued humans with a variety of different  “healthy body” attributes.

Ginseng is believed to be beneficial in many ways, with qualities such as regulation of blood pressure, enhanced energy, improved circulation and much more. Ginseng is also thought to enhance the stimulating effects that coffee (or, more specifically the caffeine found in coffee) already has. Fans of ginseng-enhanced coffee also claim that it can help with the ability to concentrate and respond to stimulus in a faster, more accurate fashion.

Whatever the facts about ginseng — our Café Supreme is smooth, delicious, and adds a touch of prestige to your coffee experience every day.

National Relaxation Day

Click the link above to save up to 40% on your very own Cafe Supreme this weekend only!!!

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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