Mushroom coffee has piqued the interest of java lovers who find their favorite morning beverage overstimulating, as well as those curious about the purported health benefits of various fungi. According to Healthline, mushroom coffee is a combination of ground mushrooms and coffee beans that brews into an earthy, nutty cup of coffee containing adaptogens, which are known to reduce stress and provide nutrients that may provide protection against certain diseases.
Despite the barrage of social media ads and images claiming ownership of the current mushroom coffee trend, Food 52 reports that fungi was used as a coffee substitute as recently as the 1940s. As a result of food shortages caused by World War II in Finland, people began brewing chaga mushrooms as a substitute for coffee due to the variety’s dark color and earthy flavor.
Today’s mushroom coffee blends go beyond color resemblance to include medicinal blends that may provide multiple health benefits in addition to a complex flavor profile. Today’s fungi-based alternatives primarily consist of lion’s mane, chaga, reishi, cordyceps, and turkey’s tail mushrooms, each of which has its own distinct flavor and health benefits. Despite the fact that a mushroom-based beverage may not sound like your cup of coffee, learning about the potential health benefits and unique flavor profiles of fungi found in this trendy beverage may convince you to make it your go-to beverage.
People who can’t function without their morning coffee may find a similar focus-inducing effect from a mushroom coffee containing lion’s mane that has been fortified with nutrients. This fungus is a sight to behold with its long, dangling white spines that grow in a shaggy fur-like clump from hardwood trees, much like its namesake, the king of the jungle (per Cascadia Mushrooms). Its remarkable and distinctive appearance is matched by its nutritional value.
Traditional Chinese medicine has long recognized the benefits of lion’s mane, chief among them a mental boost. While the majority of research on this medicinal mushroom is still in its early stages, Verywell Mind reports that a few small studies have shown significant improvement in cognitive and memory function, suggesting that compounds in lion’s mane may reduce the brain plaque linked to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.