Mushroom Coffee is the latest health craze sweeping caffeine lovers all over the internet. But how can something that sounds so gross be so popular? Read on for a run-down on mushroom coffee, a quick mushroom latte recipe, and the effects it had on my daily functioning.
What is Mushroom Coffee?
Mushroom coffee is exactly what it sounds like – coffee brewed with mushrooms for healing effects. It can be instant or ground coffee beans blended with mushrooms like Turkey’s tail, Lion’s Mane, Reishi, Cordyceps, and Chaga – the latter of which is the most popular.
Chaga mushrooms (Inonotus obliquus) have been traditionally used in Siberian and Scandinavian cultures for their medicinal properties. They typically grow in the Northern Hemisphere on white and yellow birch trees. Many believe they are beneficial for health due to their high concentration of antioxidants, beta-glucans, and other bioactive compounds. The so-called “miracle mushroom” is dried and, when turned into a powder, looks like coffee grounds.
Why is it Good for You?
Chaga mushrooms contain beta-glucans, which are complex sugars that can help stimulate the immune system and increase the production of immune cells. They also include a variety of anti-inflammatory compounds, including polysaccharides, triterpenes, and betulinic acid. These compounds can potentially reduce inflammation – some even say they’re beneficial for conditions such as arthritis, asthma, and psoriasis.
These mushrooms also contain betulinic acid, another anti-inflammatory, and antioxidants, which can help protect the body from oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals. Chaga mushrooms also contain compounds that may help support brain function and prevent cognitive decline. Some studies have even suggested that Chaga mushrooms may be beneficial for improving memory and concentration.
Chaga mushrooms have been used for centuries in traditional medicine, yet research is still limited. Additionally, people with certain medical conditions should talk to their doctor before trying Chaga mushrooms (or any mushrooms) as a supplement.
I bought a box of Four Sigmatic instant coffee made with Chaga and drank it every day for three weeks. I tried the “Think” variety, which includes Lion’s Mane on top of the traditional Chaga blend and is advertised as a cognitive aid. The brand sells other functional blends, such as focus or calm.
One packet of Four Sigmatic produces eight ounces of coffee when mixed with hot water. As an iced latte girl, I prefer to mix it with only about three ounces of water, then pour it over ice and mix it with milk. The taste is excellent – earthy, full-bodied, and smooth. I couldn’t taste the mushrooms, but there definitely is a relatively nuttier and smoother taste.
Maybe this is a bit anticlimactic given everything you’ve just read about the many benefits of mushroom coffee, but truthfully, I didn’t feel that much different regarding my cognitive abilities or overall health. I also only drank it in the morning, keeping my afternoon non-mushroom latte habit as it was before I started this routine. But it tasted oddly great, and that’s enough for me – so I’ll be buying more in the near future. Maybe I’ll see some long-term effects if I keep up the habit.