Coffee beans are ground and brewed, the juice of goji berries is mixed, a few berries are added in, the milk skates right across the surface, and a goji berry latte is served up for coffee connoisseurs.
In addition to goji berry lattes, various products combining traditional Chinese herbs with coffee – such as a motherwort rose latte, turmeric oatmeal latte, and dried orange peel latte – have also appeared on the menu of the Zhima Health store, a cafe and healthcare retail brand owned by Tongrentang.
The 352-year-old company served eight Qing emperors for 188 years, and then embarked on a new life as a modern corporation since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Mainly catered to middle-aged and elderly consumers, the granddaddy of Chinese medicine shops has since started to grasp the attention of a younger generation of consumers.
Gentle and sweet in their taste, goji berries, also known as wolfberries, are “good for the liver and kidney according to the Chinese Pharmacopoeia (ChP), and are a tonic for people who lack energy after staying up late," Diao Shaomei, the New Media Manager of the New Retail Department in Zhima Jiankang, told People’s Daily Online. "Blending medicinal and edible herbal ingredients with Western beverages creates a unique flavor of coffee," she said.
With prices ranging from RMB 24-48 (about $3.72 – $7.44), the healthy coffee series has become one of the shop’s iconic product lines. Tongrentang has also created herbal bread and porridge, providing new options for those who crave both health and delicate flavors.
"We hope that this innovative combination can raise people’s attention toward health care, and start to take action for a healthy lifestyle," said Diao. In addition to the cafe area on the first floor, Zhima Jiankang also offers the services of TCM doctors and dietitians.
Traditional Chinese medicine can be traced back to remote antiquity, when the ancestors of the Chinese nation discovered that certain creatures and plants could serve as remedies for specific ailments and pains.
Mainly focusing on keeping "qi," the vital energy of a living being balanced within the body, TCM aims to regulate the body, keeping everything in sync. Disease emerges when one’s "qi" is out of balance or is flowing incorrectly through the body.
With a new regimen of blending TCM and modern lifestyles having become widely welcomed in China, the time-honored industry has followed suite by evolving into something that is trendy, modern, and popular among younger generations, and has even made its presence felt in domains around the world. In conjunction with the use of Western medicine, TCM was applied to treat and control COVID-19 at every step, creating a treatment plan with Chinese characteristics.