What Is Mushroom Coffee? The Magic of Medicinal Funghi

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

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If you’ve been scrolling on social media lately, you may have noticed a new trend in the wellness world: mushroom coffee.

If you’ve been scrolling on social media lately, you may have noticed a new trend in the wellness world: mushroom coffee.

I’ve found myself wondering: what is mushroom coffee? Are its health benefits worth the hype? Or is it all a bunch of marketing nonsense? Most importantly, does mushroom coffee even taste good?

I dug into some research to find the answers to these questions and more. I can’t wait to share my findings with you! Turns out the answer to “what is mushroom coffee?” is a wee bit more complicated than I thought.

So, whether you’ve been considering a switch to mushroom coffee or you’re just dang curious about this fungi-infused brew, keep reading! I’ll give you the intel on the potential health benefits of drinking mushroom coffee, which brands are worth buying and whether medicinal mushrooms can stand up to regular coffee.

Here’s a spoiler: mushroom coffee tastes pretty good! That is, as long as you like some earthiness in your cup.

What Is Mushroom Coffee?

I’ll be honest, when I heard that people were adding mushrooms to their coffee, I got a little nervous.

But after doing some research, I had an epiphany: coffee isn’t the star of mushroom coffee. It’s not supposed to be! Rather, the key ingredient is ground mushrooms or mushroom extracts. What kind of mushrooms they are determines the best mushroom coffee blends.

There are thousands of mushrooms out there, but mushroom coffee tends to include species that have reported health benefits. Blends often include chaga mushrooms, cordyceps, lion’s mane, turkey tail mushrooms and reishi mushrooms.

Several brands also include other ingredients, like sweeteners, oils and powdered milk or non-dairy milk.

As far as the coffee part, mushroom coffee either includes ground coffee beans or instant coffee granules. It all depends on a brand’s intended brewing method.

Some mushroom coffee is a powder with instant coffee that dissolves in milk or water. Other brands are more similar to your classic pre-ground coffee, just with some ground up mushrooms thrown in.

Incidentally, some mushroom coffee brands don’t even contain coffee! Instead, they’ll include tea for caffeine. On the flip side, some brands add chicory root or barley malt to get a nutty, chocolatey flavor that simulates a coffee experience.

So, if there’s no coffee in some mushroom coffee, why do they call themselves coffee? 

Well, there’s the marketing appeal of calling a product “coffee” or a “coffee alternative.” I mean, people love coffee in the morning, so these brands want to jump on board.

There’s also a long history of coffee alternative beverages marketing themselves as coffee. This is true for roasted chicory root drinks and barley malt beverages. Mushroom coffee is just the newest, health-focused iteration of this copycat trend!

How Is Mushroom Coffee Made?

Okay, now that we’ve gotten over the “what is mushroom coffee?” hurdle, we can get to the important part: how do we drink it?

First, a brief summary on how it’s made before it gets to our cups!

Mushroom coffee is made with a specially formulated blend of either powdered mushrooms or mushroom extracts. This mushroom blend is then mixed with other ingredients. These include powdered plant milk, oil, sweeteners, cacao, coffee, tea, chai mix and more, depending on the brand.

Wild Chaga Mushroom Coffee

Fortunately, at this point the hard part is over. The mushroom coffee has been assembled and is just waiting to be enjoyed!

Unlike regular coffee, there is pretty much no fuss when brewing and drinking mushroom coffee.

In all regards, the process is pretty simple. If you’re buying pre-ground coffee with ground mushrooms, you’ll brew your mushroom coffee with a regular ol’ drip coffee maker or pour-over dripper.

Incidentally, the majority of ‘shroom coffee brands are in powder form, so all you need to do is mix a tablespoon or so with milk or water at your preferred drinking temperature. 

You heard that right – any temperature! Iced mushroom coffee, anyone? Cozy mushroom latte? These medicinal mushrooms can do it all!

What Are the Benefits of Mushroom Coffee?

It’s true, mushroom coffee drinks can be pretty tasty. But why should we drink them? 

I’ll start with a necessary disclaimer: most of the health benefits of mushroom coffee are potential benefits, and are not scientifically proven.

However, I can say that medicinal mushrooms such as lion’s mane do have proven health benefits. In fact, several species have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.

Still, since mushroom coffee is so new, the jury’s still out on whether those health benefits stick around after processing.

In the meantime, it’s still worth discussing the aforementioned potential health benefits!

The exact benefits depend on the species of mushrooms in a particular blend, as well as processing methods (extract vs mushroom powder). But broadly, if you consume this ‘shroomy brew on the regular, you could enjoy the following benefits of mushroom coffee:

  • Anti-inflammatory effects

  • Antioxidant effects

  • Improved focus and cognition

  • Boosted immune system

  • Several vitamins and minerals

  • Stress management

  • Better sleep

Caffeine Levels

If you drink coffee for the caffeine, you may be wondering whether you’ll get the same boost from mushroom coffee.

The short answer is almost always no. But this is by design!

In fact, a lower caffeine level is a selling point for mushroom coffee. I do love a good caffeine high, but I’ll admit to often falling victim to those infamous caffeine jitters. Since mushroom coffee has about half the amount of caffeine as regular coffee, those jitters won’t be a problem.

After all, one serving of mushroom coffee from the popular brand MUD\WTR contains 35 milligrams of caffeine, compared to a minimum of 58 milligrams in a standard drip coffee.

Mushroom coffee advocates say that we don’t need all that caffeine, especially not in the afternoon. Besides, medicinal mushrooms like lion’s mane already boost your focus and cognition.

When paired with the wellness power of medicinal mushrooms, the limited caffeine level in mushroom coffee is more than enough!

Potential Mushroom Coffee Side Effects

Medicinal Funghi Mushroom Coffee

Fortunately, harmful side effects aren’t a huge problem with mushroom coffee. This is especially true when you compare it with the side effects of regular coffee: upset stomach, anxiety, sleep problems, dehydration, shakiness, restlessness and more.

I don’t enjoy talking bad about my beloved coffee beans, but alas; I must be honest here. 

As far as reasons to avoid mushroom coffee, there are few. Some folks experience stomach or GI discomfort after consuming medicinal mushrooms. This is because mushrooms and mushroom extracts can be difficult to digest.

That said, coffee is known to aid digestion. So, mushroom coffee seems like a good pairing to me!

Another potential issue could be contaminants in the mushrooms, namely heavy metals and pollutants. Since mushrooms are bio-accumulators, they soak up whatever is in their local environment.

So, if the mushrooms are grown in soil with heavy metals or pesticides, or around poor air quality, those pollutants could end up in your mushroom coffee.

I would just advise you to be mindful when buying mushroom coffee. Look for information on where a brand sources their mushrooms and whether they test for pollutants.

As long as you buy your mushroom coffee with intention, you’ll be just fine.

How to Buy Mushroom Coffee

I thought “what is mushroom coffee?” would be the trickiest question to answer in this article, but I was wrong!

Unlike regular coffee, you can’t expect to walk into any old supermarket and find a bag of mushroom coffee lying around. So, where can you get these mushroom coffee blends?

If you’re looking to buy in person, your local health food store is a good place to search.

Normally, when I talk about how to buy coffee beans, I promote freshly roasted and transparently sourced coffee. Unfortunately, this information often isn’t available with mushroom coffee. On the flip side, many mushroom coffee brands do offer sourcing information about their mushrooms.

If you’re looking to buy mushroom coffee grounds that you can brew like regular coffee beans, Four Sigmatic Organic Ground Mushroom Coffee or VitaCup Focus Mushroom Coffee Grounds are both popular options.

For a blend of instant coffee and mushroom powder that simply dissolves in liquid, you’ve got many more options.

MUDWTR coffee alternative is very high quality, and the manufacturer has extensive transparency information on its website. 

Everyday Dose brand’s The Mushroom Latte and MAX FIT Ten Mushrooms Coffee are two more options that consumers seem to love.

Finally, Ryze Mushroom Coffee is also super popular, though you can’t buy it on Amazon. I personally have tried this one, so I can testify that it’s sweet and earthy.

Final Thoughts

Organic Mushroom Coffee

In summary, mushroom coffee is a new wellness trend with loads of potential health benefits. Medicinal mushroom extracts or powders, blended with ground coffee beans, could become part of your next morning routine.

While the health claims of mushroom coffee are still unproven, we do know that whole mushrooms have significant nutritional value. Typical mushroom coffee mushrooms like lion’s mane and turkey tail mushroom have proven benefits such as improved cognition and immune system function.

It seems to me that mushroom coffee is a good alternative to regular coffee, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine. And I can definitely get behind it for an occasional treat.

Personally, I’m not going to sell off all my coffee gear and make a permanent switch to mushroom coffee products. My loyalty to those delicious beans is too strong!

Instead, I’ll still keep brewing up my morning cuppa like always. Then for lunch, I’ll fry up some tasty and healthful mushrooms in garlic and butter. That’s what I call the best of both worlds!

Have you tried mushroom coffee? Would you consider a switch from whole coffee beans to ground medicinal mushrooms? Let’s discuss this wellness trend in the comments section!

What Is Mushroom Coffee FAQ

Mushroom coffee is a wellness trend that joins the medicinal power of mushrooms with the flavor and caffeine of coffee. Potential health benefits include better sleep, lower inflammation, improved focus and a boosted immune system.

In short, this anecdotal claim is likely a myth. In fact, carbohydrates in some mushrooms could cause bloating in some consumers.

Mushrooms are expensive to grow, harvest and process, hence a high price tag. There’s also still a relatively small market for mushroom coffee, so producers are few and highly specialized.

Like any mushroom coffee, Ryze claims to have several positive health benefits. While anecdotal reports support this claim, there is little scientific evidence to back up the health effects of mushroom coffee.

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Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

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