Before we get into the relative merits and limitations of coffee as a vehicle for the delivery of mushroom supplements, let’s put things in context.
Historically, the beverage more closely associated with mushrooms has been tea.
Teas made with Chaga mushrooms, Cordyceps, Reishi, Lion's Mane and Maitake have a long history of use, mainly for medicinal purposes.
Why tea? Because a hot water infusion has always been one of the best ways to draw water-soluble compounds, like beta-glucans, out of the dried mushrooms.
The whole idea of adding mushroom powders to coffee is much more recent.
If you’re selling the benefits of functional mushrooms, and you suspect your potential buyers might not be ready to take them as capsules, it makes sense to add them to something familiar, like coffee.
Also, if your market is North America, there’s less of a tea-drinking tradition here. But a few hundred million people start their day with a cup or two of coffee. There is a huge coffee culture in North America.
Separately… mushroom powders aren’t exactly delicious. Some of them, like Reishi and Chaga, are very bitter.
So it makes sense to add the powders to a beverage like coffee, which is bitter anyway.
Throw in some cream and sugar and you’re good to go.
It’s a far better match than adding mushroom powders to a beverage with a more delicate taste, like jasmine tea, for example.
The brands we chose are just three among many.
We chose them because they all take slightly different approaches to how you can add mushroom supplements to coffee.
We’re not suggesting these three are the best. There are plenty of mushroom coffee products we haven’t even tried.
Let’s take a look at each of them.
Of the three brands we tried, this is the most prominent and famous.
Four Sigmatic was founded by Tero Isokauppila, who tells the story of how his grandparents used Chaga mushrooms as a substitute for real coffee in Finland during World War II.
Tero is something of a celebrity in the world of medicinal mushrooms. You’ll find him as a featured guest on mushroom podcasts and YouTube videos. He’s also the author of the book, Healing Mushrooms, which I have on my desk right now.
The product we tried was their Mushroom Coffee With Lion’s Mane. Mind you, if you look at the ingredients label, you’ll see it also includes Chaga mushrooms.
The coffee base itself is described as instant coffee powder. In other words, it isn’t ground coffee beans. It’s an instant coffee like you’d find in a jar at your local food store.
Why does this product feature Lion’s Mane on the front of the box, but not Chaga? Well, if you drink coffee is a way to wake up your brain in the morning, Lion’s Mane has complementary benefits. It’s famous for its role in supporting brain health.
And, of course, coffee has plenty of health benefits itself.
As for the taste of the coffee, we’ll talk about that a little further down the page.
As with Four Sigmatic, PureShrooms offers a variety of different mushroom and coffee combinations.
The one we tried contains coffee, Lion’s Mane, Reishi and Cordyceps mushrooms.
But there are a couple of points of difference too.
While the Four Sigmatic product comes in ten sachets per box, the PureShrooms is a loose powder. They suggest one to two teaspoons per cup.
Another difference is that the coffee base in this product isn’t instant coffee, it’s finely ground Arabica coffee beans.
I can’t offer an opinion as to which of these two delivers greater health benefits, but I do like that the PureShrooms product is a loose powder. Having individual sachets adds a level of packaging I don’t feel I need.
And the PureShrooms product is a lot less expensive per cup.
Again, this is a mix of coffee and mushroom. In this case, the only mushroom in the mix is Chaga. And, as with PureShrooms, it’s made with regular ground coffee, not instant coffee.
As you can see, this is a K-Cup product, which can be used only with Keurig brewers.
If you use a Keurig and want to add a little Chaga to the mix, this might hit the spot for you.
For myself, I find myself bumping up against that extra layer of packaging again. I’m not a big fan of using K-Cups once, and then sending them off to the landfill.
The good news is that Sollo Wellness also offers a Drip Coffee Bag option for this blend, and its other products. That’s a better way to make coffee, with a lot less waste.
This depends on the kind of taste you are looking for when you brew a cup of coffee.
Myself, I’m a gourmet coffee fan. I love the subtleties of fine coffees from different parts of the world.
As a result, I keep my coffee and mushroom habits separate. I enjoy quality coffee, and take my mushroom supplements in capsules. Better still, I include wild mushrooms in my diet.
The thing is, several mushrooms have a strong taste. So it doesn’t matter the quality of the coffee you start with. Once you add the mushroom extract, the subtleties of the coffee’s flavor are completely overwhelmed.
Put simply, if you love fine coffees, you probably want to keep your mushroom supplements separate.
I’m not sure anyone falls in love with mushroom coffees for the taste.
But I know a lot of people appreciate the convenience.
It’s a one-and-done kind of thing. Grab your coffee and mushroom supplement in one cup at the start of the day.
Not for me.
But I get why mushroom coffees are so popular.
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