The Truth About Mushroom Coffee

Move over, CBD coffee, there's another coffee "cool kid" on the scene, and coffee-drinkers are taking notice. Mushroom coffee has been around for decades, but it's become more popular over the last few years. Mushrooms might seem like an odd pairing for coffee, but more and more coffee drinkers are exploring the fungi's properties for a healthier cup of joe.  

The earthy flavor of mushrooms actually works pretty well in coffee form, and if you're looking for a way to enjoy coffee without those caffeine jitters, mushroom coffee might do the trick. 

Mushroom coffee's health benefit claims

Finnish mushroom coffee entrepreneur and founder of Four Sigmatic, Tero Isokauppila, attributes mushroom coffee's emergence from the brewing of chaga tea during World War II when coffee rations were limited. Chaga is a mushroom that thrives in cold climates, and when brewed, tastes similar to coffee — but with more antioxidant properties. Mushroom coffee is a combination of powdered chaga or similar mushrooms — lion's mane and cordyceps are also used — and coffee grinds. 

Besides simply telling people, "I'm drinking mushroom coffee," some folks claim that it helps with a host of drawbacks commonly associated with regular coffee. People attribute mushroom coffee to keeping caffeine jitters at bay and even benefiting their sleep. Writer Grace Perry of Outside magazine tried switching to mushroom coffee for two weeks to determine if it lived up to the buzz.

Perry said that she felt sleepier during the day while drinking it — probably because it only has 50 percent of the caffeine in a normal cup of coffee — and gave it a rather meh rating of "not life-changing."  As for mushroom coffee's claims of promoting digestive health, Superfoodly's health breakdown of mushroom coffee's benefits concluded that they were only "speculative," though it did provide a good dose of vitamin D2 which can support immune system health.   

Is mushroom coffee right for you?

While the above might not sell you on ditching your regular coffee for mushroom coffee, other people seem to like it. Fast Company writer Joanna Townsend gave it a shot for a month after kicking regular coffee for six months and found it to be a good substitute. Regular coffee was giving Townsend a spike in anxiety, but she said that she found mushroom coffee to be much more pleasant. "I feel energized and alert without feeling anxious, restless, or experiencing an accelerated heart rate," Townsend said regarding the switch. 

If you thrive on strong jolts of caffeine, mushroom coffee might not do it for you. If you're not quite ready to go full-decaf though, it's worth giving it a shot.