On its own, coffee boasts a lot of benefits. Admittedly, though, it’s hard to discern the truth about the health benefits of coffee due to conflicting studies that crowd the internet. One day coffee is the universal cure for cancer. The next? It’s the primary cause of it.
At any rate, coffee is coffee, and you can always count on it to brighten up your mornings and give you focus, just like you can always count on people to make health confusing.
In recent years, coffee makers have taken a new step towards making coffee the clear “healthy” option to jumpstart your day by mixing it with medicinal mushrooms. No, we’re not talking about those types of mushrooms. Medicinal mushrooms are ones such as reishi, lion’s mane, and chaga mushrooms (perhaps you’ve heard of at least one of those) with benefits stemming back long before you and me.
What Is Mushroom Coffee?
Mushroom coffee, as you might’ve inferred from above, is regular ol’ coffee mixed with various medicinal mushrooms. This powerful combination boosts the already existing health and cognitive benefits of traditional coffee but also adds a handful of new ones. Together, the mushrooms and coffee provide a unique beverage experience that touts some seriously awesome benefits.
Now, we know what you might be thinking. “Mushrooms in coffee? How would that even taste?”
Well, we imagine it probably sucked at first. However, mushroom coffee producers (more than aware of the problem) mostly figured this out.
Mushrooms are known for their distinct, earthy, and sometimes potent flavor. To counter this, producers extract only the nutrient-containing compounds from the mushrooms, use that in the mushroom coffee mixture, and leave behind the fibers and other unnecessary parts.
The result is all the superfood-like benefits of medicinal mushrooms minus the strong, overwhelming flavor. While you’ll definitely notice the difference in flavor of mushroom coffee compared to a traditional cup of coffee, you’ll welcome the uniqueness, especially with the extra dose of healthfulness.
History of Mushroom Coffee
Mushrooms have been used in folk and traditional medicines for as long as history has been recorded, and likely even further. This is because of the vast benefits specific mushrooms have been found to offer.
In order to talk about the origins of mushroom coffee, we have to go WAY further back to catch a glimpse of mushrooms in human history.
Humans were discovered to be using mushrooms for medicinal purposes as early as 3300 BCE. We know this because of a frozen mummy discovered in 1991, nicknamed the Iceman, who was found to have two different types of mushrooms on his person.
Fast forward a bit and mushrooms were found scattered among Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, and we’ve since learned that they were only accessible by the highest of nobles (e.g. pharoahs), never by peasants.
The Greeks had spirited debates about the benefits of medicinal mushrooms. As did the Romans.
In Ancient China, 2,000 some years ago around the 100 BCE timeframe, no debates were held at all. Mushrooms were used liberally as cancer treatments and respiratory reliefs, among more than a handful of other purposes.
And today, mushrooms are making a resurgence (though they never REALLY went away), and are being heavily researched for a growing number of medicinal purposes. It only makes sense that mushrooms have made their way into the world’s favorite breakfast beverage and as a staple in health-conscious homes everywhere.
Benefits of Mushroom Coffee
Not ALL mushrooms have medicinal benefits, which is why portobello mushroom coffee isn’t really a thing (at least not as far as we’re aware)l however, quite a few of them do. Some of the most common medicinal mushrooms are:
- Lion's Mane
The benefits of each vary but are also similar. For example, Chaga is fantastic as an antioxidant and for boosting the immune system. Shiitake mushrooms are very anti-cancer (as most of us humans also tend to be). Lion’s Mane is highly sought after for its cognitive benefits, such as improved focus and reduced brain fog.
Other benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Better sleep (Reishi)
- Reduced stress (Reishi)
- Thicker hair and glowing skin (Chaga)
- Improved memory function (Lion’s Mane)
- Higher physical performance (Cordyceps)
- More energy (Cordyceps)
The vast majority of individuals who consume mushrooms are blessed by the myriad of biological benefits they offer. However, mushrooms, like most things in life, aren’t for everyone. Though downsides are rare, they do exist, which is why it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor if you are considering medicinal mushrooms, especially if you are unsure about any interactions with medications you may be taking.
In addition to the more well-known side effects of coffee, e.g. anxiousness, jitters, and irritability, some folks are allergic to certain types of mushrooms, so don’t go all-in unless you know for sure you aren’t going to have a reaction.
And lastly (though not necessarily a downside), mushroom coffee tends to be lower in caffeine due to the ratio of mushroom extract to coffee beans. This could be a good or bad thing depending on your preferences.
Where Can You Get Mushroom Coffee?
Unfortunately, Dreamweaver Coffee isn’t in the mushroom business (yet). So for now, you’ll have to turn to the existing suppliers, of which there is a handful of good choices. Here are our current favorites:
The most popular and favorite among mushroom coffee enthusiasts. Below is their staple ground coffee, but they also have a wide selection of k-cups and other offerings.
Laird Superfood Mushroom Coffee
Laird Hamilton is a pro surfer and health nut. He’s known for his unconventional training and wellness habits, but it’s hard to argue with what works. It’s definitely the premium version of mushroom coffee but well worth the investment.
Ganoderma Coffee, Reishi Coffee Mix
Great value at the price tag.
La Republica Organic Mushroom Coffee
A unique blend of 7 different superfood mushrooms and a favorite in the Amazon shopping world. Great value as well.
Mushroom coffee is a combination of traditional coffee and medicinal mushrooms, providing a wide range of nootropic and health benefits. Though putting mushrooms into coffee is new, medicinal mushrooms have been around for thousands of years, even before history began being recorded.
The vast range of benefits associated with mushrooms such as lion’s mane, reishi, and chaga, in addition to the known benefits of coffee, make mushroom coffee a unique and appealing option to include in your morning or early afternoon routine.
Will mushroom coffee stand the test of time? Or is it just another fad that will die out in the next couple of years? We think it could be here to stay, but only time will tell. For now, it’s a safe bet and worth trying.