Mushroom coffee sounds unappetising but it tastes just like regular coffee! After all, it’s a blend of ground mushroom and coffee beans brewed to bring out a dark, nutty, and smooth coffee.
Mushroom coffee contains significantly lower caffeine levels compared to regular coffee and is highly recommended for anyone pursuing a healthy lifestyle. This is what makes mushroom coffee such an attractive beverage, and is why it’s surged in popularity in recent years.
In Chinese society and across Asian countries, fungi have long been used for medicinal and health benefits mainly as adaptogens. An adaptogen is a food that helps our bodies to adapt and survive longer tense periods. Mushroom coffee is an emerging trend - it leverages medicinal mushroom extracts rather than culinary mushrooms.
In effect, consuming coffee with medicinal mushrooms included is a very smart way of consuming them. The mushroom coffee is boiled which prevents those beneficial properties within the fungi from being broken down, like they would be if fried or heavily roasted. It's the same reason why mushrooms like Shiitake retain a lot of their healthy properties when gently boiled for a Miso soup, such as they are prepared in Japanese cuisine.
Let's learn more about exactly what mushroom coffee contains, and why it's considered as a bit of a brain food! 👇👇👇
Mushroom types used to make Mushroom Coffee 🍄
There isn't one specific mushroom species that is used to make mushroom coffee but instead a handful of choice medicinal varieties. The most popular mushroom types used to make mushroom coffee are:
- Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus)
- Cordyceps (Ophiocordyceps sinensis)
- Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
- Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)
- Turkey’s tail (Trametes versicolor)
It’s these proposed health benefits of medicinal mushrooms that give it an edge over the consumption of regular coffee.
How to make Mushroom Coffee ☕
The fruiting bodies of mushrooms are extracted and ground into fine organic power free from any additives or fillers. On a 1:1 ratio, the extracted mushrooms are dehydrated and ground before mixing them with ground coffee beans.
When purchasing the coffee, this can be done in form of:
- Coffee pods
- Ground coffee blends
- Instant coffee packets
Our own preference would be to get hold of some good quality, organic coffee beans and ground these yourself when preparing batches of mushroom coffee. This way you can be certain about their quality, and hopefully reduce wastage in the process (coffee pods are notoriously wasteful due to the extra plastic packaging used!).
Preparing coffee is similar to making regular coffee. Brew sumptuous lattes, mochas black coffee, or lattes to enjoy. The options here are endless!
Mushroom coffee health benefits
The health benefits of mushrooms, in general, differ depending on the type but this is an emerging area of scientific research. However, there are interesting assertions on the health benefits of mushroom coffee.
Lower caffeine levels
A key marketing point for mushroom coffee is the lower caffeine levels compared to regular coffee. While regular coffee provides an energy boost, adding organic nutritional mushrooms can boost your concentration levels.
Lactating mothers, pregnant women, children, and people with heart complications may be at some risk of suffering from caffeine complications, so switching to mushroom coffee is a viable option for these groups.
The US Food and Drug Administration provides invaluable information on caffeine tolerance and what makes some groups of people more sensitive to caffeine than others. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, mushroom coffee may be an ideal choice.
Sensitivity to caffeine might mean that you feel anxious after consuming it, hyper-active, show restless-knee syndrome, inability to sleep, trembling and jitteriness. Switching to mushroom coffee might be a solution for you in this case.
Mushroom coffee contains the following beneficial compounds.
Scientifically, these compounds possess antioxidant properties, which support a person’s immune system. In one of the more reputable studies, Turkey's tail mushroom and its fermented substrate demonstrated immune-boosting properties.
Potential to prevent cancer
In various studies, Lion’s mane, Chaga, Turkey’s tail, Cordyceps, and Reishi have all been classified as supportive cancer therapies. These mushroom coffee types were found to help fight nausea and vomiting among cancer patients.
Other potential health benefits of mushroom coffee include:
- Lowering blood pressure – Reishi mushrooms have shown potential in lowering cholesterol levels, and thus reducing exposure to heart diseases.
- Anti-allergens – Chaga mushrooms evidenced suppression of the immune cells responsible for causing allergic reactions to some foods.
- Antiulcer – More studies on Chaga mushrooms have shown an ability to help fight ulcers and other gastroprotective benefits.
- Easing of inflammation – compounds in mushrooms have an abundance of anti-inflammatory agents. However, research is ongoing on whether the anti-inflammatory compounds are present in extracts used in mushroom coffee.
Final thoughts - should you give Mushroom Coffee a try?
I've tried mushroom coffee myself and found the taste to be almost identical to that of normal coffee. Whilst I wouldn't class myself as a coffee connoisseur, I do really enjoy (and need!) my morning fix. It helps me with my work and general focus for the rest of the morning.
I found that when switching to mushroom coffee I was able to focus down more on work that required a bit more concentration, and I wasn't constantly task-hoping like normal. Maybe that's the placebo affect at play; obviously this was just my anecdotal evidence.
My recommendation is that if you're curious, why not give it a try? Only you can really tell if it does have a marked improvement on your mental wellbeing and productivity levels.
Have you tried mushroom coffee before? Let us know what you thought of it below - are you now a convert?! 👇👇👇