It is instant, which initially made me doubt its validity as a good coffee. That’s because any real coffee drinker knows instant is inferior, and should only be consumed in the most urgent of circumstances.
The date was April 14, 2010—just over four months since Richmond, B.C.-based Organo Gold Coffee officially launched the product. It’s rare to get samples with a story assignment but, as I was about to realise, I wasn’t dealing with a normal company profile. I came into work at 7:30am and headed into the kitchen as per my regular morning coffee routine. Except this morning, instead of filling my mug with a percolated French roast, I added a package of Organo Gold Black Coffee to a cup of boiling water.
The day before, I had already interviewed Shane Morand, co-founder and global master distributor of Organo Gold, so I had an idea how this experience would go. Morand told me it would look and taste exactly like gourmet coffee, “if it didn’t, how would it sell?” he asked rhetorically. Still, I was sceptical; after all, other instant coffee brands sell in grocery stores all the time.
As the granules dissolved into the water, I smelled a familiar scent. Coffee! I felt more awake already. But I still had to taste it. To my surprise, it was fine; actually it was good. Morand was right.
“Good for you, Jennifer,” says the reader. “You enjoyed a cup of coffee.” You’re right, reader, I did. But I also enjoyed that this particular cup of coffee didn’t dehydrate my body and it didn’t give me any heart palpitations. As I said, this isn’t regular coffee.
That fact that you can’t taste the ganoderma is a good thing. If you could taste it, I suspect the product would go right to health stores and people would drink like they drink wheatgrass juice. I’m getting ahead of myself, because in all likelihood, only a handful of you know what I’m talking about—I didn’t know what it was until a few weeks ago.
Morand explains it like this: “Ganoderma is the highest-ranked herb in the entire Chinese pharmacopeia; it is known as the miraculous king of herbs.” This mushroom—‘Lingzhi’ or ‘Reishi,’ in Cantonese—has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 4,000 years. The scientific name, ‘ganoderma,’ is derived from the Ancient Greek, meaning ‘bright, shiny skin.’
Ganoderma is known to regulate the immune system and is used to treat ailments ranging from stress-related conditions to fatigue and sleep disorders. “Our coffees, teas, hot chocolates, lattes and mochas are delivery mechanisms for 100-per-cent-certified organic ganoderma,” Morand maintains, “so people can enjoy all of those benefits.”
Sounds great, right? Yes and no. “The challenge in North America is that not even one person in 10,000 has heard of ganoderma,” says Morand. “Here we are with the closest thing to nutritional perfection found in nature, and few know what it is. We are working on spreading the message through word of mouth.”
A wide-open market
The great news is Organo Gold is in the right business. Morand estimates that between Canada and the United States alone, more than a half-billion cups of coffee are consumed daily.
“We’re all drinking coffee. The question is whether it is making us feel good or not. North Americans don’t talk a lot about the negative impacts of coffee, but we know it reduces the body’s pH balance, affects the nervous system, dehydrates us and, over time, ages us faster. It’s not that we’re against caffeine altogether, but we are positive about the effects of ganoderma. We’re entering a wide-open market, but we’re offering something healthier,” he says.
Wide open indeed. Even though Organo Gold is a Canadian company, it is growing internationally. “We’re marketing in Canada, the U.S., Jamaica, Peru, Bahamas, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, and the Philippines; and we’re just getting started,” Morand boasts. “People all over the world drink coffee so it’s the perfect commodity.”
Although the product was officially launched in January 2010, the company started operating in June 2008. “It took us a year and a half to determine branding, build a compensation plan, move the product, build warehouses, perfect our shipping and test the product,” explains Morand. “But we officially lifted the gates this year. Since then, sales have exploded. We knew we had a great product and a great management team, but we’re still blown away by the response and the speed at which we’re expanding. We’re emptying warehouses everywhere, so we’re definitely ahead of target.”
Organo Gold is certainly off to a great start and I can see why: it tastes good and it’s good for you. Since I first tried the coffee (about two weeks ago), I have enjoyed it at least a half-dozen more times. To get more, I would have to contact a local representative, as the product is sold via direct sales (think Avon model). If this product line tweaks your interest, make sure to check out the website (http://organogold.com/). You might want to hurry though. From what I understand, it’s flying off the shelves.