What is mushroom coffee?
Mushroom Coffe is basically regular black coffee mixed with medicinal mushrooms powder of some kind. The most popular fungi used are cordyceps for energy, chaga for antioxidants, and lion’s mane for nootropic benefits. One or more of these species is mixed with instant coffee, which is typically sold in single serving packets. You mix it with hot water.
What does mushroom coffee taste like? Nothing like portobello or white button. The species typically used in recipes have a more muted, yet earthy flavor. The Arabica or Robusta beans they’re combined with drown out the fungi flavor, leading to it tasting more like black coffee versus mushrooms. It’s also less acidic and therefore easier on the stomach.
The reason for this is because fungi are low alkalinity by default, which helps to somewhat offset the acid, assuming you’re doing a 50/50 blend or something close to that.
Caffeine content and energy
Expect roughly 50% less caffeine than your average cup of Joe, which is 95 mg per 8 ounces according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. The most popular brand for selling mushroom coffee is Four Sigmatic. Which contains 50 mg of caffeine per serving when mixed with 7 oz. of hot water.
50 mg is half the amount of black coffee and comparable to green tea. In comparison, Starbucks Pike Place is much higher at 180 mg for a short (8 oz).
While the relatively low caffeine may seem like a disadvantage for your morning perk, it might actually be better for boosting your energy overall (and with less jitters). That’s if you’re using a variety that contains Cordyceps sinensis, which is a rare species of high-altitude growing fungi used for generations in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, and other ancient practices as a natural energy booster.
Does Mushroom Coffee works?
Without even getting into the hundreds of scientific papers on this exotic species, all one has to do is look at recent sports history to see evidence that something seems to be going on.
In 1993, a few female runners set new world records for long distance running in Beijing and then took home 5 medals at the Track and Field World Championships in Stuttgart. Of course allegations of anabolic steroids were made. But those tests came back negative and the only unusual thing the coach disclosed was usage of cordyceps supplements. Which can also be found in mushroom coffee.
Cordyceps found in Mushroom
It is theorized that cordyceps works by maintaining blood glucose levels during prolonged exercise and improving lactate clearance. It’s also known as “Himalayan Viagra” and while many men claim to use it for erectile dysfunction and women as a libido enhancer, there are no clinical studies evaluating those alleged sexual advantages.
Even though this fungus has been used since ancient times as an adaptogenic herbal remedy and there is a great deal of scientific literature on it, when it comes to human clinical trials there is very little published to date. It therefore remains unproven for energy boosting and all other purported benefits, yet we here at Superfoodly have been using it for years.
We jokingly call them “the magic mushrooms” and when we forget to take them before a competitive event or extreme endurance activity, we can tell. The coffee brand Four Sigmatic with cordyceps and chaga is available for a great price on Amazon. That would be the best version for those wanting energy.
Different Mushroom Coffee
and Health Benefits
Lion’s Mane Mushroom for Mental Health
The Hericium erinaceus species or commonly known as Lion’s Mane Mushroom.Certainly, looks nothing like a white button mushroom. Even the exotic oyster and maitake look normal in comparison.
That’s because it literally looks like a lion’s mane of hair or fur. Found growing in Asia, Europe, and North America, its long spines look as if you could run a hairbrush through them. Yet you don’t have to, because they’re perfectly aligned by nature!
It’s one of the hottest nootropics (brain supplements) on the market today and for good reason. During the past 3 decades researchers have suggested that it might stimulate and/or support nerve cell growth.
This was first reported in 1994 by Dr. Kawagishi and his crew, who observed that the lion’s mane polysaccharides “could induce neuronal differentiation and promote neuronal survival” in cultured rat nerve cells. In plain English, it seemed to promote nerve cell growth.
Later on, they tested the extract in living mice with brain damage. They inflicted the injury on the animals’ middle cerebral artery and then fed them a mushroom extract, at a dosage of 300 mg per kg of body weight. They said “significantly decreased the size of the cerebral infarcts one day after the occlusion.”
Older Japanese men and women with “mild cognitive impairment” (AKA early signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease) were give 250 mg tablets, taken 3x daily for 16 weeks. No side effects were noted and these were their cognitive function results, according to the Hasegawa Dementia Scale (HDS-R):
And we won’t even talk about the weight loss or anti-obesity effects observed in rodent research, or the cancer research and anti-aging effects that scientists suspect might be helped by certain compound in this fungus. All of that is very preliminary and unproven, yet still intriguing to read nonetheless
There were no adverse reactions notated in that dementia trial that could be definitively connected, as even placebo has side effects. Likewise for the other pieces of human research. The 2nd trial was about chronic gastritis and the 3rd was on depression and anxiety. Both of which reported better results vs. placebo
So as with cordyceps, there is no proven health benefit yet for lion’s mane, other than the basic nutrition fact that it contains a little vitamin D2. That alone is good for immunity and health regardless, so at least there’s something good for you in it that’s certain.
Chaga has Anti Aging
The lion’s mane and cordyceps coffee flavors from Four Sigma both contain chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus). Chaga mushroom is rich in antioxidants. In Russia and Eastern Europe this is part of the group of rare species. Which only grows on birch, has a long history in traditional medicine.
For the uses in folklore as well as research, much revolves around cancer. Triterpenes, lanostane derivatives, and aromatic compounds found in the fungus have demonstrated anti-tumor activities in numerous lab studies.
You will find over 50 pieces of literature in the PubMed database for everything from using it on tumor-bearing mice to cultured melanoma, colon and non-small cell lung cancer cells in Petri dish-like settings.
No clinical human studies have ever taken place. Remember what works in a Petri dish doesn’t necessarily happen in an actual body. The preliminary cancer research remain theoretical and unproven.
Based on Research
The antioxidant activity has been evaluated in at least one human study out of South Korea, involving 20 healthy young adult men. Basically they tested it for hangovers after drinking and claimed that it reduced oxidative stress and hangover by mitigating plasma alcohol concentrations and elevating antioxidative activity in healthy male adults.
Its use in coffee, tea, or any brewed beverage makes complete sense. Why? Because on their own, the antioxidants in chaga are not digestible in humans, because our bodies can’t break down the cell walls of this fungus (we lack the enzyme).
In Siberia where it has been used for centuries, boiling it is how they traditionally consume it. Call it an herbal coffee if you will. It’s only modern science which has discovered that actually, they probably were drinking it the right way all along. Boiling it to break the cell walls is needed if you want to digest the antioxidant-rich phytonutrients.
Ganoderma helps lower cholesterol level
This mushroom is famous in China and Korea. There have been preliminary human clinical trials evaluating these species for heart health including cholesterol. Though, there is no sufficient clinical data to validate it. So as of today, there are no proven health benefits for any species of Ganoderma. Also, they should not be used as a treatment for anything.
Agaricus blazei murill as Anti Cancer
This species can be found in the Brazilian rain forest, where locals have used it for traditional medicinal purposes including infections, allergies, and cancer treatments. All of those uses remain unproven.
The Agaricus blazei Murill – or ABM for short – is a mushroom that Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s website describes as:
“Agaricus extract may benefit patients with certain cancers. But more studies are essential to confirm these observations.”
In their description of how it works, they say “Compounds present in agaricus prevent formation of blood vessels needed for tumor development.”
Maitake enriched with vitamin D
Among all the species, this is the least exotic. You may not find maitake for sale at your local grocery store, but you will in big cities like LA and NYC, and even tiny cities with a foodie scene like Ann Arbor. Known as hen-of-the-wood, it’s considered a delicacy in gourmet cooking.
Now this one does have a proven advantage for health… it’s the number one vegan source of vitamin D. One cup of it diced has 786 IU of D2, which fulfills the dietary allowance for everyone up to age 70. For older, it’s 800 IU.
Are there any Side Effects?
Consuming mushroom, whether foods or purported herbal remedies. Each of the mushroom species use have been consumed by humans for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Adding them to coffee would not be expected to trigger adverse reactions, assuming the amount you use per day is within the recommendations on the label.
If you drink too many servings at one time, ganoderma mushroom coffee. Side effects may include dry mouth, nosebleed, sore throat, upset stomach, and liver damage. That’s based on the MedlinePlus safety warning for ganoderma mushrooms, which presumably would be the same regardless of how you take it
For cordyceps, you may experience increased energy and therefore, restlessness. It’s best to use in the morning. Don’t take past noon because it could cause insomnia. The half-life seems to be long.
If you experience a reaction like a headache or GI upset, it may be from the fungi, however the coffee beans could be the trigger too. Caffeine gives many people headaches.
The safety of mushroom coffee and supplements have not been studied during pregnancy or breastfeeding. You should avoid drinking or taking them if you currently are or anticipate you might become pregnant.
Preparation of Mushroom Coffee
Making mushroom coffee couldn’t be simpler, because almost all of the recipes use instant powder. If using Four Sigmatic, it’s as easy as 1-2-3.
- 1 premixed mushroom packet
- 7 ounces of purified water
- Optional: monk fruit, nut milk
How to Prepare Mushroom Coffee
- Pour mushroom packet into empty mug.
- Bring water to boil.
- Pour all instant mushroom coffee mix. If you prefer to use the traditionally brewed beans, then the alternative is to stir a teaspoon into your hot mug. Four Sigmatic sells a 10 mushroom blend powder for just that purpose.7 oz. of hot water into mug.
Where to Buy Mushroom Coffee?
For now, it’s only to be purchase at a few stores and made by a couple brands. Four Sigmatic has it for sale at Whole Foods but frequent. They only sell two flavors in single serve packets.
We strongly suggest to go to online stores. Since, it is convenient and no hassle. Online you can find those plus K Cups and their other varieties. Try Amazon, Thrive Market, or Vitacost.
How much does it cost?
It ranges from 10-35 US Dollars through online stores. Wherein 10-12 US Dollars per pack. And 26-35 Dollars for discounted price on 3 or more purchased packs.
Is mushroom coffee good for you? Unlike fruits and vegetables which are the healthiest raw. It’s generally best to thoroughly cook fungi due to their cellular structure. Aside from boosting bio availability, it makes them easier to digest, with a stomach ache less likely. Also, mushroom coffee is one of the coffee trends this year and has spread it’s popularity.
The mushroom species used in coffee are generally in toleration with small amounts. The typical per serving dosage of 500 mg is the equivalent of what fits inside of one large supplement capsule. Even when raw, such a small amount of these mushrooms is unlikely to trigger GI distress. While, the boiling or hot water that is combine should lessen that risk.
While the medicinal or health benefits of the mushroom coffee remain speculative. Hence, the vitamin D2 is good for immune system support and the low calorie count is a boon for weight loss. Overall, it appears to be a safe drink to consume in moderation and one could argue its lower caffeine content versus regular coffee is healthier.