- Mushroom Coffee- Is It Really Worth the Hype?
- Is Mushroom Coffee Worth It?
- Price Of Mushroom Coffee Vs Regular Coffee
- Are Mushroom Coffee Benefits Worth It?
- What are some of those benefits?
- Can a Caffeine Addict Survive on Mushroom Coffee?
- Mushroom Coffee: Is the latest superfood worth your money? — Jennifer Ostman
Mushroom Coffee- Is It Really Worth the Hype?
All things don’t taste pizza and cupcakes. Duh. It’s not a huge surprise that some of this health craze stuff really tastes feet. I mean, it is healthy for a reason.
Off my adaptogen high from last week, I have been sprinkling my Moon Juice Brain Dust wherever I can, and that healing potion may be revamping my insides but it is not smooth going down. So, when Anja mentioned to me that mushroom coffee does wonders (but tastes dirt), of course I was all in.
I am a sucker for pain in the name of gain. Luckily for me, the Shroom Room, the first ever mushroom coffeehouse, is located right here in Venice Beach.
Self-proclaimed “funguy”, Tero Isokauppila grew up foraging mushrooms in rural Finland and started the brand Four Sigmatic, finally discovering the medicinal mushroom advantages after a generations-long family tradition of mushroom picking. With a complete line of shroom-infused beverages, Four Sigmatic launched an all out mushroom coffee cult. Obviously, I want in.
I know what you are thinking – mushroom coffee is going to give me a hallucinogenic coma. Or even yucky mushrooms floating in your cup of joe. Nope, none of those mushroom stigmas here.
For the most part, the coffee is already blended into mixes that just need some hot water, a magical adaptogenic Nescafe. Appearances aside, science has seen the advantages of mushroom adaptogens, such as Cordyceps, boosting immune function and improving brain cells.
In that cup of mushroom joe, you are getting all the benefits of coffee with the bonus points of mushrooms.
Topping the charts in rich antioxidant content, Cordyceps, Chaga, Lion’s Mane, Turkey tail, and Reishi have shown to have higher disease fighting and anti-aging antioxidants compared to their competitors, cocoa and green tea. These shrooms also contain ergothioneine and glutathione, the mother of all antioxidants.
You all know where I am heading with this. Drum roll please…with all those mega antioxidants, mushroom coffee provides defense against those pesky free radicals that produce so much oxidative stress.
Digestive help needed? Mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides, which act probiotics for your digestive system, giving you that boost you need to get things moving.
And the verdict? Oddly enough, it actually did not taste dirt. I’m not sure if it is my lack of sweet tooth when it comes to my coffee, but it really did taste a bit a black coffee. Ok, don’t get me wrong, you can tell there is something in it, but it wasn’t I was swallowing mushrooms. Honestly, it was quite enjoyable, nothing in comparison to my adaptogen potions.
I hauled my butt over to Venice Beach – which no one in their right mind does in the middle of the afternoon without a good reason – and was charmed by the little corner called the shroom room.
The guy working behind the counter asked, “What are you doing after this?” Pleasantly intrigued by the question, I asked in return if I would have some crazy energy onset from my mushroom coffee. His reply was, “Your stamina will definitely be elevated.
” And I must say, it gave that extra bit I needed for the hour and 15-minute drive home I had after my shroom coffee. Only in LA!
Photos Courtesy of Four Stigmatic
Is Mushroom Coffee Worth It?
Is mushroom coffee worth the premium? It costs more than regular coffee, that's for sure. It can't really be worth the extra expense.
Or Can It?
“Worth it” is relative. What's something worth to you? Let's go over this a little more.
Price Of Mushroom Coffee Vs Regular Coffee
The thing is that you can get very decent coffee for not much more than the mass-produced stuff, but it's hard to get mushroom coffee for a comparative bargain.
The standard 12-oz bag of Starbucks, Seattle's Best or Tully's, for instance, or something that isn't that much more – often a little less – than the standard 31 oz tub of Folgers.
Granted, it's not that Folgers is BAD, per se, it's just that the premium product is just that good.
It's buying a car. Is a Toyota really so bad? Not at all, and in fact they've gotten swankier in recent years. It's not that driving a Camry is bad, far from it; it's just that driving a Mercedes S-Class is that good.
Think of mushroom coffee the same way. Is it that regular coffee is sub-par? Not at all. You can find some pretty amazing small-batch roasted coffees that are absolutely incredible. However, it's more that mushroom coffee is so amazing on its own.
Are Mushroom Coffee Benefits Worth It?
Are mushroom coffee benefits worth it? Is the expenditure actually going to be worth it in terms of benefits for you?
Well, your mileage may vary. Exactly what benefits you'll get from mushroom coffee might vary. You might only get a more interesting breakfast drink. We don't make medicine; we only make the highest-quality coffee we can, including mushroom coffee that may or may not have benefits for you.
Compounds within various mushrooms – such as Lion's Mane, chaga and cordyceps mushrooms – are known to have health benefits, which you may experience if you begin drinking mushroom coffee.
What are some of those benefits?
What are the health benefits of mushroom coffee? Increased focus and cognition is possible, as compounds in these mushrooms are known to stimulate neural activity. Granted, the caffeine helps too! However, this is a benefit many people who have begun drinking mushroom coffee have noticed.
You also won't get the jitters or irritable some people do with regular coffee. The reduced caffeine level is responsible for this effect. Is being a little less grouchy, and having a cooler, more focused demeanor worth it to you?
Since mushroom coffee is less acidic, you can drink it on an empty stomach without issues. You'll get less yellowing of your teeth, and your tooth enamel will also be better off for it. That may be worth it to some people; the sour stomach that sometimes comes with that first cup can be quite upsetting to some, especially those with sensitive stomachs.
Do these benefits sound worth it to you? That's entirely up to you. However, a lot of our customers have found that it is completely worth it to them.
Get a bag of Defiant Coffee Mushroom Coffee and find out for yourself. You have nothing to lose but the jitters!
Can a Caffeine Addict Survive on Mushroom Coffee?
Let’s get the big thing the way: mushroom coffee tastes pretty much the same as regular coffee.
I drank only Four Sigmatic’s dark-roast mushroom coffee blend for two weeks straight and I can vouch for its palatability.
I wouldn’t call myself an aficionado, but I’ve consumed coffee pretty much every day for the past decade. And mushroom coffee is fine! It doesn’t taste a cup of steamed chanterelles, I promise. It is not poison.
On a usual day, my brain is essentially scrambled eggs before my morning mug. I thought this was very adult and cosmopolitan of me until I was about 25, when I discovered that I get splitting headaches when I skip my fix. Addiction, even when not so crippling, never feels emotionally good. I also wondered if coffee was partially to blame for my ever present generalized anxiety.
I initially heard about mushroom coffee in 2018, from targeted Instagram ads and clickbait-y health story headlines. (For the uninitiated: it’s a blend of regular ground coffee and powdered mushrooms—yes, there’s real coffee in there.
) Four Sigmatic attributes a whole host of health benefits to their product: it can help you focus, make you less jittery, support your immune system. They also claim it can even improve your sleep habits and give you more energy.
All this piqued my interest.
According to Four Sigmatic’s (very hunky) founder, Tero Isokauppila, mushroom coffee’s roots date back to 1940s Finland. When rations ran low during World War II, the Finns brewed chaga mushrooms, native to Scandinavia, as a substitute.
Four Sigmatic, founded in 2012, was the original modern brand and remains the most popular, but other companies including Life Cykel and Neu Roast also brew their own fungi java. Four Sigmatic sells a variety of mushroom-blended products, including ground coffee and lemonade.
I decided to go with the ground dark roast, which includes lion’s mane and chaga mushrooms. Because, honestly, mushroom lemonade is a bridge too far.
I tried to think of my two-week switch as the healthier version of something I already do—rather than seeking to introduce an entirely new good habit, or totally kick a bad one. Could this mushroom drink keep a habitual coffee drinker alert without tasting garbage? Could it really make me less anxious and jittery? I was ready to find out.
Unfortunately, the major difference between mushroom and regular coffee is something I learned the hard way: the mushroom variant has about half the caffeine. I definitely could have read this on the website before I started my two-week shroom spectacular, but, well, I didn’t.
By around 4:30 P.M. on days one and two, I felt I’d been run over by a train. My eyelids weighed Volkswagens on my face. I wanted to fold my entire body inside my laptop and never emerge.
Truly, all I craved was a nap, and maybe death. I had a date on day two! So around 6 P.M., I made an extra pot of coffee to prevent my body from hurtling directly into a REM cycle at the bar.
Thankfully, that worked.
On day three, exhausted, I checked the bag again. I discovered Four Sigmatic recommends three tablespoons of coffee per eight-ounce cup; I’d been using one tablespoon per five-ounce cup. (Mr. Coffee “cups,” as marked on the pots, are actually five fluid ounces each; the standard cup measurement is eight fluid ounces; a mug holds ten fluid ounces.
) I did a little math, and to brew my three daily mugs of coffee, I should’ve been scooping about 11 tablespoons. That meant on days one and two, I was getting about a quarter of my normal caffeine intake.
So I adjusted accordingly, and things improved from there: I felt awake, alert, and occasionally anxious—not all that different than when I drink fully caffeinated coffee.
According to Four Sigmatic’s own blog, the caffeine cutdown is one of mushroom coffee’s main appeals. Halving the caffeine of regular coffee, they say, can give you an energy boost without disturbing sleep cycles. But caffeine, in itself, isn’t necessarily bad for you—unless you’re overdoing it.
“Caffeine has actually been shown to improve focus, energy, and wellness,” nutritionist Abby Langer told me over email. Too much caffeine can cause issues including sleeplessness, jitters, and stomach problems.
While Langer concedes that reducing caffeine intake could help sleep cycles, she adds that’s only true “if you’re a person whose coffee habit is affecting their sleep.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, 400 milligrams of caffeine per day is a perfectly fine amount for the average, healthy adult. That’s four eight-ounce cups of (non-mushroom) coffee per day, 32 ounces total. Things get dicey, per Mayo, around 500 to 600 milligrams in one day—that’s when insomnia, irritability, upset stomach, and racing heartbeat can occur.
Of course, the exact tipping point varies from body to body. According to a 2017 study from E-Imports, a coffee and espresso consulting company, the average American coffee drinker consumes about 3.6 cups of coffee per day.
If a major benefit of mushroom coffee is simply that it has less caffeine, it seems suspiciously a well-marketed solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist.
Then there’s the much-touted fact that chaga mushrooms are adaptogens, a category of medicinal herbs. Adaptogens are the latest trendy supplement in beauty products, and as The Cut pointed out in March, they’re a part of Gwyneth Paltrow’s morning smoothie.
Some studies suggests adaptogens have anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve stress, but there really hasn’t been enough research conducted to say so conclusively. Four Sigmatic claims that the adaptogens in its coffee can make us feel less jittery, a normal side effect of drinking caffeine.
But Langer explains that most adaptogen research has been conducted on animals, or on cells in labs—so it’s not clear whether those benefits translate to humans. Langer says she sees lots of companies making “overblown claims” about chaga and adaptogens.
“With chaga, there’s really no compelling evidence that it has significant health benefits,” she says.
Four Sigmatic also says mushroom coffee may support digestion, thanks to the prebiotics and polysaccharides found in the fungi, which “may contribute to the production of healthy bacteria in the gut.
” Langer confirms prebiotics are great for gut health, generally speaking. “Although,” she adds, “we just aren’t sure how much prebiotic is in this product,” nor how much is necessary to see benefits or effects in our bodies.
Sounds another toss-up.
Superfoodly, a site that offers detailed breakdowns of supposed health foods, took an in-depth look at mushroom coffee’s alleged benefits in 2017.
It ultimately concluded, “While the medicinal or health benefits of the coffee remain speculative, the vitamin D2 is good for immune system support and the low calorie count is a boon for weight loss.
” I’m not terribly concerned about what my three-calorie cups of coffee are doing to my pants size, but I suppose if you’re actively trying to lose weight, more D2 couldn’t hurt.
During my test, I generally felt the same on mushroom coffee as I do on regular coffee—just a little sleepier during the day. I didn’t notice any changes in my actual sleep habits, focus, or energy level.
Some days I felt jittery, some days I felt a little anxious, but those moments seemed to be unrelated to the coffee I was drinking. (In the interest of journalistic transparency: I did fart a ton on day one.
But it’s unclear if that was caused by my switch to mushroom java and an attendant boost in my gut health, or simply a result of the gobs of Super Bowl dips I’d downed the day prior.) Overall: not life-changing.
Health benefits aside, it’s also worth noting that mushroom coffee, many wellness-oriented products, is really expensive. Four Sigmatic goes for $21.50 per 12-ounce bag on Amazon, compared with $5 for the same size bag of Starbucks house blend.
If you’re trying to cut down on your caffeine intake but can’t kick the ritual, then sure, make the switch to mushroom coffee.
(Or, if you’re one of those people who’s always says things , “Coffee makes me so jittery!” when your deskmate goes out for a Starbucks run, maybe give it a shot for your coworkers’ sanity.
) But until the science backs up the claims from Four Sigmatic’s marketing team, I’m going to stick to my tub of Kroger breakfast blend—and, of course, to the $5 latte I feel pressured to buy when I’ve been camping out on my local coffee shop’s Wi-Fi for hours, thank you very damn much.
Mushroom Coffee: Is the latest superfood worth your money? — Jennifer Ostman
**Disclaimer- spoiler alert- I did decide to join the Organo company, and am now selling their Ganoderma coffee. It is what I recommend at the end of this blog post, and I will receive commissions from every sale. The post is still an honest evaluation of my own personal experience with mushroom coffee**
Mushroom Coffee. Have you heard of it? smoothie bowls, bone broth, and celery juice, mushroom coffee is Guaranteed to cure you of everything that ails you. It’s a miracle superfood that people have been using for millions of years, and you MUST drink it every day or you will die.
Are you getting an idea of how I feel about the hype around super trendy food crazes?
In all seriousness, it’s actually is really cool to see people get excited about food that supports their health, and companies that are doing their research to provide real, quality foods, instead of just quick weight-loss gimmicks. And while no, I do not think there is a single isolated food or nutrient out there that will fix all our problems, I do actually think mushroom coffee is legit. This is based solely on my own personal experience with it.
Okay, OKAY so I did try it because I saw it all over social media. I fell for the hype. But the hype was coming from fellow Nutritional Therapy Practitioners, so I thought there must be something good here.
Before I jump into my personal experience with mushroom coffee, let me give you some info about each of the brands I tried.
I tried their Mushroom Coffee with Cordyceps and Chaga
From the Four Sigmatic website:
Coffee: Our shade-grown, organic coffee is grown in the volcanic soil of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas highlands in Mexico.
After carefully roasting and brewing the beans, we concentrate the coffee by evaporation, and finish it off by spray-drying it into a pure instant powder.
As a final step, we run each coffee batch through a third-party laboratory to ensure the absence of mycotoxins. Contains 50mg of caffeine per serving.
Cordyceps: Our Cordyceps coffee is made by extracting the fruiting bodies of the Cordyceps militaris mushroom. Organic, and free from fillers and carriers. Suitable for vegans.
Chaga Mushroom: Recognized for their immune function supporting properties, these powerful mushrooms have been used for hundreds of years. Our wildcrafted chaga mushroom extract is made by extracting these wood-grown fruiting bodies, and then spray-drying the concentrate. Organic, non-GMO, and free from fillers and carriers.
Organic Eleuthero: Also known as Siberian ginseng, eleuthero is an adaptogenic root native to Northeastern Asia. Used in traditional Chinese medicine and Russian and Korean folk medicine for hundreds of years, eleuthero could support stamina, endurance, and overall wellbeing.
I tried the Organo Black Coffee.
From the Organo website:
Coffee: One of the most popular beverages in the world and the number one source of antioxidants in most people’s lives. Instant black coffee may contain even more antioxidant benefits. Organo™ uses medium dark roasted arabica and robusta beans, for an easy to mix instant black coffee that is bold and flavorful.
Ganoderma lucidum: Also known as the red Reishi mushroom. The powerhouse of mushrooms, has been used for over 2,000 years for its ability to support a healthy immune system because it can help support the growth of your body’s own active immune system cells.
My personal experience:
Let me give you a little context. BEWARE POOP TALK AHEAD. I love coffee, just many people. I don’t think it’s terrible for you, in general.
I think the worst part about coffee is the cheap creamer and tons of sugar people put in it.
But I have been putting grass-fed butter, Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, and cinnamon in my coffee for a while now, so I’m all set there. It’s delicious, you should try it.
BUT, the biggest problem I have with coffee is it’s effect on my digestive system! And this is super common, coffee’s got a solid reputation of making you poop! But it was not comfortable for me. I was having BM’s #6-7 every day, 2-3 times all morning.
And of course, I thought this was normal, because that’s just what coffee does. Until I was OVER IT. Some people’s bodies get used to coffee and this doesn’t happen anymore, but mine just didn’t. I did not want to spend all morning in the bathroom anymore.
But I also didn’t want to give up my coffee.
So, with all the hype around how this mushroom coffee fixes EVERYTHING, I figured I’d give it a try. I did a 30 day trial with Organo, and almost immediately felt a difference. Not an overnight, all-is-now-right-with-the-world, miracle cure, but definitely a difference.
I noticed my BM’s were slowly getting better. My tummy wasn’t gurgling after my coffee any more. I also started to notice that I just felt really GOOD after drinking this coffee. Energized, but calm. I often wake up a little achy (my toddler ends up in bed with us often, don’t judge).
It felt my morning coffee was helping with that achy-ness. I also noticed that my sugar cravings were getting better! I actually didn’t really realize this until towards the end of 30 days, when someone posted about their sugar cravings, and I was ..
wait! I haven’t felt the NEED for dessert in a while!
So my 30 day trial ends, and I go back to regular coffee. Again, it's not an overnight reaction. It’s not on Day 1 of regular coffee, I was right back to being on the toilet all morning. That’s what’s hard about monitoring how you react to food—it’s not always obvious. But slowly, I did notice that I was having the same exact digestive issues again.
So, while I’m researching my options for joining the Organo company, I decided to try Four Sigmatic. I bought 10 servings at the grocery store, and again my BM’s started improving.
You can imagine that I'm pretty much sold on these mushrooms by now! For anyone who experiences digestive issues often, it is worth making the switch for that reason alone.
Here’s where I’m going to be 100% transparent with you. I love BOTH Four Sigmatic and Organo. I have chosen to go with Organo for 2 reasons. First is that Organo tastes better, in my opinion. That’s a simple reason. The second, and more important reason, is that this coffee is more expensive than normal coffee (as it should be, if it’s got high quality mushrooms in it, right?).
By joining the Organo company, I can purchase it for myself at wholesale prices. And I love the way I feel when drinking this coffee daily, so it was a pretty easy decision for me to make sure I could continue to keep it in my daily diet. I think Four Sigmatic is great as well, and you can purchase it at many health-conscious grocery stores Whole Foods, Sprouts and Natural Grocers.
If you are interested in trying the Organo, I sell samples! Try it for 5 days before you commit to an entire box.
I think you will find that upgrading your coffee is going to be totally worth it.