The real difference between mushroom coffee and regular coffee

Mushroom coffee has joined the ranks of an ever-growing list of health food crazes in America. According to The Daily Chronicle, the global functional mushroom market is primed to reach $34.3 billion by 2024. The report points to companies that have been incorporating functional mushrooms into beverages like coffees and teas as lending to the market's growth, but what exactly is the "function" of mushroom coffee? Does it offer more benefits than your standard morning cup? Let's break down the differences.

We'll start with regular coffee. It provides that familiar morning wake up, is packed with antioxidants (specifically polyphenols, according to scientific journal Antioxidants), and tastes pretty darn good, even without whipped cream. Americans love coffee. In fact, the National Coffee Association reports that Americans are drinking more coffee than ever, with total coffee consumption up 5 percent since 2015 and 62 percent of Americans drinking coffee daily. So, can mushroom coffee really sway us away from our regular cup of joe?

The pros and cons of mushroom coffee

Let's get one big con relating to mushroom coffee out of the way immediately — mushroom coffee is not very tasty. Mushroom coffee has an earthy, acquired taste, according to FoodHow.com. If you're accustomed to grabbing a Caramel Macchiato on your morning run to Starbucks, mushroom coffee will not replace that in the flavor department. While we're on the topic of expensive coffees, you'll likely pay quite a bit more for mushroom coffee, too. And if you do enjoy coffee's caffeine jolt, mushroom coffee features half the caffeine of regular coffee — similar to what you'd get from drinking a cup of green tea.

Of course, there are benefits to this trendy concoction that has former mushroom haters chugging their morning Chaga. FoodHow.com says there are several mushroom varieties that can be utilized for mushroom coffee, but the most popular are Chaga, Cordyceps, and Reishi. Touted mushroom coffee benefits include overall wellness, balanced energy, increased focus, antioxidants, immune support, reduced anxiety, improved metabolism, stress relief, anti-aging benefits, and more. Are you game to make the switch?