I admit it: When Stacie asked me to try mushroom coffee, my first thought was hard pass. Mushrooms? In my coffee? No thanks. But as it turns out, word on the street is that mushroom coffee is the best new way to get your morning buzz.
Now, to be fair, I’m only a recent convert to coffee, and I still like a fair amount of vanilla creamer in mine. My husband, however, is both an adventurous eater and loves a good, strong cup of black coffee. So in a marital bonding experiment, we bought a package and tried this new mushroom coffee trend together. Here’s what we thought.
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Mushroom coffee: What is it?
From the wide variety of mushroom coffee blends, we chose Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Coffee Mix: Think with Lion’s Mane and Chaga. It’s a blend of 100% organic arabica coffee beans and organic lion’s mane and chaga mushrooms, ground to a powder. It has half the amount of caffeine as normal coffee, and the mushrooms’ high-alkaline levels prevent “stomach burns,” which apparently are common for people who drink lots of coffee.
Mushroom coffee: The health benefits.
If you want to know more about the health benefits of mushrooms, you can attend Four Sigmatic’s online mushroom academy. They claim (perhaps tongue-in-cheek?) that you’ll be an expert in three hours. The lion’s mane and chaga mushrooms added to the blend that I chose promise to help increase focus and lose the jitters that some get from regular coffee. Other mushroom blends offer benefits that range from immunity to energy and longevity.
Mushroom coffee: Does it taste like mushrooms?
My husband and I both tried the mushroom coffee black and could taste an earthy, mushroom flavor. It wasn’t overpowering, but definitely existed. I have to be honest that we did not like the idea of mixing the flavor with any of our plant-based milks (we don’t drink cow’s milk), so it’s possible that milk and sugar could help mask the mushroom taste that we detected.
That said, my guess is that adding sugar, dairy, or a sugary creamer may negate some of the intended health benefits.
Mushroom coffee: Did it work?
My husband enjoyed the coffee more than I did, but he couldn’t honestly say that he felt any more focused or less jittery than normal after drinking mushroom coffee. (Full disclosure: he’s not normally jittery with coffee. If you are, the big reduction in caffeine might make a difference for you.) But he did feel as caffeinated as usual and, as mentioned above, each cup of the mushroom coffee we tried has half of the caffeine of normal joe. So, if you’re trying to cut down on caffeine but still need the full effect of your morning cup, this might work well for you.
As for reaping the immune-boosting and anti-viral benefits of mushrooms, it’s harder to tell if it’s “working” from just a few cups over a few days. You probably need to drink the coffee on a regular basis over time to get a sense of whether or not you think it’s impacting your overall health.
Mushroom coffee: How expensive is it?
We bought a 10-pack single-serving package from Amazon for $12ish, which works out to about $1.20 per cup. A comparably sized bag of my regular coffee from the supermarket is about 1/3 the cost. Depending on how much you drink, this price difference could add up.
Mushroom coffee: Who should buy it?
Bottom line: I’d recommend this coffee to someone who really likes the flavor since you won’t find a coffee with this earthiness at Starbucks or on your grocery store shelves. If you have a palate for healthy-tasting, umami-rich foods, mushroom coffee might be great for you.
But if you’re more of a frappuccino person looking for a healthier option, I’m not so sure this is the place to start. Unless, of course, you’re ready to throw taste out the window as your number one criteria and are willing to invest (literally) in trying this for the long haul to see if it really makes a difference over time.
I have to be honest, though, that’s not me or my husband. Let us know if you give it a go, though. We want to hear from you — and are curious to see if this coffee trend lasts!