Benefits of Drinking Mushroom Coffee
More people are making the switch from regular coffee to this adaptogenic brew to help limit over consumption of caffeine. It continues to gain popularity due to its health benefits and flavour profile. Could this trendy drink be the new go-to for regular coffee drinkers?
What is mushroom coffee?
Mushroom coffee is a unique blend of ground mushroom extracts, such as chaga or reishi, and ground coffee beans. This combination creates a nutty, earthy flavor profile and offers a variety of potential health benefits, including reduced stress and inflammation.
Interestingly, although mushroom coffee is currently trending, the use of mushrooms as a coffee substitute dates back to World War II when coffee beans were scarce. In actual facem mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years due to their nutritional and health-promoting properties.
Nowadays, these fungi-alternatives are produced for their multitude of health benefits and alternative flavour profiles, which could make this blend your next go-to drink!
What types of mushrooms are used in mushroom coffee?
Mushroom coffee is a blend of ground coffee beans and medicinal mushrooms, often featuring adaptogenic varieties which help to reduce levels of cortisol and adrenaline in the body, thereby helping to combat stress. These mushrooms are also a rich source of beta-glucans, which is a type of fibre that can lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels.
Below are some types of medicinal mushrooms that can be added into mushroom coffee and their health benefits:
Chaga Mushroom Health Benefits
Chaga mushrooms are recognized for their significant zinc content, which offers antioxidant benefits. Additionally, Chaga mushrooms are believed to modulate cytokines, a group of proteins that contribute to the formation of white blood cells, making it an effective ingredient for boosting the immune system.
Turkey’s Tail Health Benefits
This species is beneficial in a number of ways. It contains antioxidants like phenols which are shown to reduce damage and inflammation of cells. Turkey’s Tail is a good source of prebiotics, which serve as the food source for bacteria. Prebiotics help stimulate healthy growth of beneficial bacteria like Bifidobacterium, thereby promoting improved gut health.
Lion’s Mane Health Benefits
Lion’s Mane is a type mushroom associated with numerous health benefits including support for the nervous system and cognitive function. Pre-clinical studies have shown that this species may increase nerve growth factors, and reduce inflammation and amyloid plaques which are known markers of Alzheimer’s in the brain. Lion’s Mane is a rich source of vitamin D which is known to strengthen bones and boost our immune system.
Reishi Health Benefits
This species is known to provide a bitter flavour profile. It contains Triterpene which is an active ingredient helpful in lowering stress, and increasing white blood cells to better the immune response.
Cordyceps Health Benefits
Cordyceps contain a bioactive compound within, called cordycepin. Studies have shown that this compound can reduce inflammation and regulate blood sugar levels.
The benefits of mushroom coffee
Reduced Stress levels:
Mushroom coffee provides an energy boost without the jitters or increased anxiety associated with regular coffee due to its lower caffeine content. Furthermore, the adaptogenic compounds present in mushrooms can help manage stress by regulating cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is often present in abundance in individuals experiencing depression, trauma, pain, or illness.
Boost the immune system:
Even in powder form, the ingredients present in mushrooms retain their health benefits. Polyphenols, vitamins, carotenoids, and minerals found in mushrooms possess antioxidant properties that help to lower inflammation in the body. Furthermore, species like Chaga and Reishi contain polysaccharides that can increase the count of white blood cells, which play a crucial role in our body's immune response.
Boost cognitive function:
The species Lion’s Mane has been found to enhance the healthy growth and function of nerve cells through stimulation of BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor), key for memory.
Mushroom varieties like Chaga are known to contain anti-inflammatory compounds like polysaccharides to reduce inflammation within the body. Chronic inflammation is associated with conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Improve gut health
Species like Chaga and Reishi can aid in promoting gut health by containing prebiotic fibres which stimulate healthy growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Chaga mushrooms are rich in phenols which help provide the high antioxidant properties. Studies also show that chaga mushrooms can help with those that experience leaky gut as it is able to reduce inflammation, and regulate the gut microbiota.
How do you make mushroom coffee?
To create mushroom coffee, the first step is to produce the mushroom extract powder. This involves dissolving the mushroom's fruiting bodies in a solvent such as water or alcohol, which breaks down the chitin cell wall and facilitates the absorption of sterols and beta-glucan by the body. After filtering the solution, it is dehydrated to create an organic powder. This mushroom powder is then mixed with ground coffee beans in equal proportions. This solution is then filtered and dehydrated to be made into an organic powder. The mushroom powder is then mixed into ground coffee beans in equal proportions.
Mushroom coffee is available in various forms, including instant coffee, ground coffee blends, and pods, making it easy to prepare and consume. Additionally, decaffeinated versions of mushroom coffee are also available for those who wish to limit their caffeine intake.
What does mushroom coffee taste like?
The taste of mushroom coffee is supposedly not too indifferent to a regular cup of black coffee, however consumers have recalled the taste to be nuttier. Mushroom coffee has a dark, smooth and nutty flavour.
What is the difference between mushroom coffee and regular coffee?
One of the primary distinctions between regular coffee and mushroom coffee is that the latter has lower levels of caffeine while also offering the potential health benefits of adaptogenic mushrooms. Mushroom coffee is typically made by combining equal amounts of mushroom extract and coffee beans, resulting in a caffeine concentration that is approximately half that of regular coffee.
Caffeine is a naturally occurring compound found in foods such as coffee and cocoa beans. It works by blocking adenosine receptors in the central nervous system, which in turn provides a boost of energy and helps to prevent fatigue. Healthy adults should only consume up to 400mg a day.
Who should not consume mushroom coffee?
Mushroom coffee is generally considered a safe daily beverage option, as it typically lacks additional active ingredients and contains less caffeine than regular coffee. However, it is important to note that consuming up to 8 cups of mushroom coffee per day should not exceed a total caffeine intake of 400mg per day.
Individuals who are sensitive to caffeine should still limit their consumption of mushroom coffee, as it does contain caffeine and may cause anxiety or jitters in some people.
Those with kidney issues should consult a healthcare provider before regularly consuming Chaga mushroom coffee, as this species is rich in oxalates which may affect kidney stones.
Reishi mushrooms, another commonly used ingredient in mushroom coffee, may cause dizziness and stomach upsets in some individuals. Those with diabetes, high blood pressure, or slow blood clotting should monitor their consumption of Reishi mushroom coffee and speak with a healthcare provider if any adverse effects occur.
Mushroom Coffee Product Recommendations
We have a range of mushroom coffee products which you can explore here. Below are some top recommendations!
This product contains 100% Arabica coffee with organic Turkey tail, Lions Mane and Reishi mushroom extract, providing high levels of beta glucans. It is also available in decaffeinated form.
By Saarah Mengrani, MSc Biotechnology