Mushrooms have a distinct taste, and for some, aren't the most palatable.
But, despite what you might think of the taste, mushrooms have been proven as powerful adaptogens that promote healing with strong anti-inflammatory properties. Some types of mushrooms – such as lion's mane, maitake and cordyceps – have even been studied for their ability to improve mental focus, enhance nerve growth in the brain and protect against degenerative diseases like dementia or Alzheimer's.
With that in mind, what if I told you that your daily cup of coffee could incorporate a dose of medicinal mushrooms? And for those with a mushroom aversion, what if I told you it didn't taste like mushrooms – not even a little bit? Wouldn't that make you just slightly curious to try this coffee?
Recently, I did exactly that, putting Finland-based mushroom connoisseurs Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Coffee Mix to the test. I'm a fan of mushrooms, and have to say, I can't detect any flavor resembling mushroom in this coffee, even though it contains two different types – organic chaga and cordyceps mushroom extracts.
Chaga, which is found in many different teas – some of which I've sampled – is said to improve the immune system, digestion, heart and skin health and protect against inflammation in the body. While Cordyceps have many similar benefits, they are also known to promote energy levels.
The coffee’s flavor, in my opinion, was generally really good. It's crafted with organic coffee beans, along with the mushroom extracts, which have been evaporated and dried into an instant powder.
But I also wanted to go deeper than just flavor – what are the actual differences that exist between mushroom and regular coffee? Looking at nutritional values of the Mushroom Coffee Mix, the first thing I noted is that this blend is low in caffeine, clocking in at only 50 mg per serving. A typical 8 oz cup of coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine, so that's quite a difference.
The reduced amount of caffeine is intentional in Four Sigmatic's beverages, according to Founder Tero Isokauppila, who explains that the mushroom coffee is supposed to give you a sustained burst of energy without making you jittery like other blends.
As a moderate coffee drinker, and someone who is easily affected by caffeine – i.e. you won't catch me drinking a cup after 3 p.m. – this sounds appealing. Extremely appealing. My first instinct was to try mushroom coffee at the office, right when that after-lunch-slump strikes.
I found some truth in the non-jittery results, but still felt caffeinated through the afternoon to a degree that didn't necessarily suit my needs. In order to balance out the test, and because I usually don't drink an afternoon cup of joe, I decided to have a cup of the mushroom coffee in the morning, and see how my energy levels dispersed throughout the day.
What I discovered was a good middle ground between the organic french roast I make at home every day, and the mushroom coffee. Both give me a boost of energy in morning, and both are similar in flavor, but I like the idea of getting an extra dose of superfoods whenever possible.
They’ve also piqued my curiosity with a combination of other flavors and mushrooms, including a Lion’s Mane coffee to encourage productivity, and a green coffee bean and maitake mushroom blend to support glycemic balance and metabolism.
And for those who don’t like coffee, but want the benefits of mushrooms, there’s mushroom hot cacao and elixirs. This mushroom-lover is looking forward to trying all of them.
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