What is Mushroom Coffee?

mushroom coffee

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Mushroom coffee has become a popular medicinal beverage made from a wide range of mushroom species such as Chaga, reishi, lion’s mane, and cordyceps, which purport many benefits. These mushrooms are classified as functional foods, which are those that promote health through specific natural compounds found in them.

Although mushrooms have long been used medicinally, especially in Asian countries, adding them to coffee is a newer phenomenon that’s gaining popularity. 

In the case of mushroom coffee, the mushroom extracts are typically added to coffee. Some brands are made from a single type of mushroom, while others combine several varieties. The resulting beverage tastes surprisingly similar to regular coffee.

Types of Mushroom Coffee

There are several types of medicinal mushrooms used to make mushroom coffee. The most popular of which are:

The fruiting bodies of the mushrooms are extracted, dried, and ground into powder which is then added to instant coffee granules, roasted ground coffee beans, or pods. 

Benefits of Mushroom Coffee

Mushroom coffee tends to be less acidic and less caffeinated than regular coffee, making it easier to drink and tolerate for some people. Since powdered mushroom extracts are added to coffee, the level of caffeine is diluted, which may help some people wean themselves off of caffeine or lessen the effects that caffeine can have, such as feeling jittery or over-stimulated.

Caffeine itself is a natural stimulant that can increase energy and exercise performance when taken before a workout. Additionally, research shows that caffeine intake can help boost fat-burning during workouts, increase metabolism, and remain effective for burning fat hours after exercise. You may also find you can train for longer while using caffeine and your workouts might seem easier.

Check with a healthcare professional before drinking mushroom coffee or any caffeinated beverage if you are pregnant or have medical conditions such as hypertension, acid reflux, or caffeine sensitivity.

Additionally, mushrooms are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, such as B vitamins, vitamin D, selenium, copper, potassium, and phosphorus. They contain substances like polysaccharides that have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects.

While more research needs to be done surrounding medicinal mushrooms, there’s plenty of promising science pointing to the fungi as being health promoters. Medicinal mushrooms may help improve blood glucose control, diabetes, and weight management.

Some benefits depend on the types of mushrooms used to make the coffee since each mushroom variety boasts unique potential health boosters. In general, medicinal mushrooms are thought of as adaptogens, which are plants that are considered to help combat the effects of stress. 

Reishi

Reishi mushrooms have been studied for their potential fatigue-fighting effects. It’s also been studied for its anti-cancer effects, including boosting immune response, preventing tumor formation growth, and spread.

Some of reishi's health effects are due to a group of compounds called ganoderic acid, which has a chemical structure similar to steroid hormones. Beta-glucans are also present in reishi mushrooms which are thought to provide glucose and cholesterol regulating effects.

Chaga

Chaga mushrooms are a popular medicinal mushroom that has been used for over 500 years in Russia, Poland, and the Baltic States, mainly for treating tuberculosis, liver disease, gastritis, gastrointestinal cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. 

As a functional food, Chaga is appealing due to its range of polyphenols and flavonoids, making it a powerful antioxidant. Like reishi, it also contains beta-glucan, which is known as an immune system booster and tumor suppressant.

Lion’s Mane

Lion’s mane is widely used in Asian countries for nutritional and medicinal purposes. This mushroom has been researched for its antibiotic, cancer-fighting, antidiabetic, and antifatigue effects. It’s also thought to help protect the heart, kidneys, and brain and improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

Cordyceps

Cordyceps are a commonly used medicinal mushroom and have been studied regarding their ability to lower blood pressure. Additionally, a compound in cordyceps called cordycepin has been researched for potential benefits, including antitumor, boosting the immune system, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-leukemia, anticancer, antidiabetic, and anti-obesity effects.

In a small 2010 study on 50 to 75-year-olds, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a daily cordyceps supplement seemed to increase exercise performance. More research is necessary to determine if cordyceps can boost athletic performance.

Potential Risks


Some mushrooms may interact with certain pharmaceutical drugs, so it’s wise to check with your doctor before drinking mushroom coffee. 

People taking medications for diabetes may need to avoid cordyceps since together, they may cause an extreme drop in blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).

Reishi mushrooms may act as a blood thinner, leading to easy bruising or nosebleeds. This effect could be exacerbated if you are already on blood-thinning medication.

Additionally, mushrooms can cause digestive issues in some people. Chaga mushrooms, in particular, are high in oxalates which can increase the incidence of kidney stones. If you have problems with your kidneys or digestion, it’s best to speak to your doctor before consuming mushroom coffee. 

How to Prepare Mushroom Coffee

You can prepare mushroom coffee much in the same way as you make your regular cup of coffee. If you purchase the instant variety, simply adding the powder to a cup of boiling water will suffice. Other types can be brewed in coffee machines—either drip or pod. 

You can also use mushroom coffee to make adaptogenic beverages with other medicinal and functional foods such as maca, collagen, or turmeric. Blend it up with cream or coconut milk, cinnamon, or any spices you like, perhaps with a splash of honey or maple syrup for a delicious latte.

A Word From Verywell

Medicinal mushrooms may provide a wide array of health benefits. Consuming them in the form of coffee creates a delicious way to enjoy these benefits. For some people, using mushroom coffee that's lower in caffeine may be useful for weaning off or lessening caffeine intake.

The research on medicinal mushrooms is ongoing, and not all potential benefits are guaranteed. Speak to a healthcare professional if you have digestive or kidney issues, or take drugs that may interact with mushrooms.

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