What is Mushroom Coffee?

Ever wondered does mushroom coffee really work? Well there’s definitely something to the exploding popularity of the product. The blend of traditional caffeine and functional mushrooms is one that’s been gaining a lot of popularity over the last couple of years.

Ultimately however not all products are the same and most mushroom coffees aren’t going to do much other than perhaps spoil the flavor of your morning brew. Some however, do have enough of the functional mushrooms to potentially add in some benefits of focus, energy and immunity boosting.

The really interesting bit however is that functional mushrooms can help counteract some of the downsides of coffee. Let's take a look at the science behind mushroom coffee and what sets it apart from your regular cup of joe.

What is mushroom coffee?

Decent mushroom coffee involves a meticulous extraction process. The mushrooms are dried and beneficial compounds extracted. These compounds are then blended into regular coffee grounds. A decent mushroom coffee will tell you how much of the functional mushrooms that you’re actually getting and they should be of a high enough yield extract to be the equivalent to a couple of grams of the standard mushroom powder per cup or it’s not going to do very much for you. We typically recommend Nootrum for most people.

Most Commonly Used Functional Mushrooms For Coffee

The most commonly used types include:

  • Reishi
  • Chaga
  • Lion's mane
  • Cordyceps

Each of these mushrooms boasts a unique profile of potential health benefits. Imagine enjoying the anticipated morning energy boost and reaping the benefits of functional mushrooms.

Typically speaking, Reishi and Chaga are associated with immunity, Lion’s Mane with nootropic effects and Cordyceps with energy.

Mushroom coffee benefits

So, does mushroom coffee work? Well if there’s enough of the relevant mushooms in then yes.

But the benefits will depend entirely on if you have enough of the ingredients. It’s also worth noting that mushroom coffee typically contains about half as much caffeine as regular coffee if you’re looking at the well known brands like Four Sigmatic or Nootrum.

Stress Reduction: Medicinal mushrooms have been found to have adaptogenic properties. This means the can help the body adapt to stressful situations. Compounds in these mushrooms have been shown to  affect cortisol levels the stress hormone. Typically speaking lion’s mane, reshi have quite a lot of studies to suggest this use. [1,2]

Improved Memory: There’s quite a few studies on this, but the most often cited one conducted in 2022 on older adults in the United States found that those who consumed mushrooms more frequently scored higher on cognitive tests. This suggests a potential protective effect on brain function. Additionally, lion's mane mushroom extracts which are often included in mushroom coffee, may aid in mental sharpness and memory by increasing the production of nerve growth factor, a protein critical for the growth of nerve cells in the brain. [3,4] With it being one of the more well studied examples lion's mane makes it into a lot of the best mushroom supplements.

Boosted Immune System: Research from 2019 examined substances extracted from turkey tail mushrooms and found that they may activate the body's immune system defense and reduce swelling. Similarly, a laboratory study conducted in 2018 found that reishi extract boosts immunity and could possibly reduce tumor growth. However, further human studies are necessary to confirm these effects. Shiitake has also shown similar immune boosting effects. [5] 

Potential Side Effects of Mushroom Coffee

As with any dietary supplement, there are potential side effects and contraindications to consider when consuming mushroom coffee. While research on mushroom coffee's specific side effects is limited, it is important to exercise caution, particularly for certain individuals:

  • People taking anticoagulants like warfarin or aspirin should consult their healthcare provider before consuming mushroom coffee, as some mushrooms may have blood-thinning properties.
  • Individuals on immunosuppressant drugs should avoid mushroom coffee, as it may boost immune function and interfere with their medication.
  • Mushroom coffee contains high levels of oxalates, which can be problematic for individuals with kidney issues. Those with kidney problems should avoid mushroom coffee.
  • Some individuals may experience sensitivities or digestive issues when consuming mushroom coffee, and reactions may vary depending on the specific mushroom blend used.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mushroom Coffee

What is mushroom coffee?

Mushroom coffee is made by blending dried mushrooms with regular coffee grounds. It creates a beverage that looks and tastes similar to regular coffee but carries some unique potential health benefits due to the medicinal properties of the mushrooms used.

How is mushroom coffee made?

Mushroom coffee is made by drying, grounding, and blending particular mushrooms into regular coffee grounds. The most commonly used mushrooms are reishi, chaga, lion's mane, and cordyceps.

What forms does mushroom coffee come in?

You can enjoy mushroom coffee in multiple forms, including premade grounds, instant packets, and even lattes. This variety ensures that there's a convenient option for everyone.

What are the health benefits of mushroom coffee?

Mushrooms like reishi, chaga, lion's mane, and cordyceps used in mushroom coffee are believed to potentially possess immune-boosting and wellness properties. The specifics can vary, as each mushroom type has its unique benefits.

Why has mushroom coffee gained popularity?

Mushroom coffee is becoming increasingly popular due to its potential health benefits as well as its pleasant taste, similar to conventional coffee. Its growing popularity is also spurred by the rising trend towards natural and organic food and beverage options.

What does mushroom coffee taste like?

Despite the presence of mushrooms, mushroom coffee tastes very much like regular coffee. The mushroom flavor is usually subtle, and depending on the mushroom types used, there may be slightly earthy or nutty notes.

References

1 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7826851/

2 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684115/

3 - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24266378/

4 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5987239/

5 - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33276307/

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