Mushroom coffee. You may not associate the two flavors together, but that’s about to change. The perplexing beverage has been taking over cafes and can even be found in supermarket aisles, thanks to brands like Four Sigmatic and Longreen. This trendy drink is being touted for its supposedly amazing health benefits, which is probably why it’s starting to take off in the commercial realm. But even though its been around a lot longer than you think, what’s this fad really all about? Let’s find out!

So what exactly is mushroom coffee? If you think it’s about mixing portobellos in your espresso, you’re wrong. Most mushroom coffees contain fungi that’s not typically found in the produce aisle. The beverage typically utilizes fungi like chaga mushrooms (a parasite found on birch trees), reishi, and cordyceps (which is found on insects). If those namessound familiar, it’s because they’re sometimes used in skincare products and have traditionally been used in Chinese medicine.

The aforementioned mushrooms are usually pulverized into a powder and mixed in with coffee grounds to create the drink. In terms of taste, most are said to be unsurprisingly earthy and rich. Considering its use of fungi, it sits somewhere between tea and coffee in terms of flavor on the breakfast beverage spectrum.

People in Northern Europe have been drinking the stuff since at least the 1940s. However, one reason mushroom tea is having a trendy moment now is because of its supposed health benefits. It allegedly works as an anti-inflammatory, boosts metabolism, increases energy, and maintains blood sugar levels. However, there are very few actual scientific studies to back up these claims.

That hasn’t stopped marketers from tapping into these claims though. The official description on Longreen’s reishi coffee‘s Amazon product page claims it “helps support a healthy immune system.” Four Sigmatic’s mushroom coffee also touts its inclusion of Lion’s Mane mushrooms as a means “to support your productivity and focus.” And as a result, its reputation as a miracle health drink persists. 

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with drinking mushroom coffee, just be aware theres’s nothing to verify all claims in favor of it. So you might want to take them with a grain of salt, or if you prefer your lattes on the sweeter side, sugar.

Header image courtesy of Amazon.

Jessica is a former Associate Editor at Chowhound. Follow her on Twitter @volume_knob for updates on snacks and cats.
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