Is Mushroom Coffee Worth the Hype? An Expert’s Take

Is Mushroom Coffee Worth the Hype? An Expert’s Take

According to online sources, mushrooms were used as a coffee substitute in Finland during World War II, when coffee beans weren’t available. There’s also an extensive history of culinary and medicinal use of mushrooms in Asian countries, specifically in Chinese medicine, for their nutritional and health benefits.

This article delves into the evidence surrounding mushroom coffee and provides an expert evaluation of its purported health advantages.

What Exactly is Mushroom Coffee?

If you’re picturing a cup of coffee with mushrooms bobbing on the surface, fear not – that’s not what we’re talking about here.

Mushroom coffee is a subtle fusion of ground mushrooms and coffee beans, yielding a rich, smooth, and slightly nutty brew.

In general, medicinal mushroom extracts rather than culinary varieties like shiitake and portobello are used in mushroom coffee. Common medicinal mushrooms include:

  • Chaga
  • Turkey’s tail
  • Lion’s mane
  • Reishi
  • Cordyceps

Consumer reviews often suggest that the taste of mushroom coffee isn’t too far off from regular coffee. However, it’s the suggested health perks that give it a unique appeal.

How’s It Made?

To brew mushroom coffee, the fruiting bodies of mushrooms are extracted and turned into an organic powder free from fillers and additives.

Through a dual extraction method, the mushrooms are dehydrated, finely ground into powder, and then blended with ground coffee beans. This usually follows a 1-to-1 ratio.

Mushroom coffee is available in various forms:

  • Instant coffee packets
  • Ground coffee blends
  • Coffee pods

It can be prepared just like regular coffee, whether you prefer mochas, lattes, or a simple black coffee.

Lower Caffeine Content

One of the selling points of mushroom coffee is its lower caffeine content compared to regular coffee.

Caffeine, a natural psychoactive substance found in coffee beans, cocoa beans, and tea leaves, can cause adverse effects in certain individuals, such as pregnant or lactating women, children, and those with underlying heart conditions.

Although consuming up to 400 mg of caffeine daily is generally considered safe, those sensitive to caffeine may experience symptoms like anxiety, rapid heart rate, and upset stomach even with lower doses.

In mushroom coffee, the addition of mushroom powder halves the caffeine content compared to regular coffee. However, this might vary among different brands, as the caffeine content is often not listed on product packaging.

Potential Health Benefits

Medicinal mushrooms, a staple in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, contain compounds known as adaptogens, which may help the body cope with stress.

While studies on medicinal mushrooms have shown promising results in animals and lab settings since the 1970s, there’s a lack of well-designed human trials. Consequently, it’s premature to draw definitive conclusions about their effects on humans, particularly in combination with coffee.

Here are some purported health benefits of medicinal mushrooms:

  • Improved immunity
  • Potential cancer prevention
  • Antiulcer properties
  • Anti-allergenic effects
  • Heart disease risk reduction


Despite its allure, mushroom coffee has its drawbacks. Human studies confirming its health effects are scarce, and most research has been conducted in vitro or on animals.

Furthermore, mushroom coffee comes with a hefty price tag, often double that of regular coffee due to the scarcity of medicinal mushrooms.

The Bottom Line

Mushroom coffee, a blend of regular coffee and medicinal mushroom extracts, holds promise for various health conditions, although much of the evidence remains unverified. While it may be safe for most individuals, it’s wise to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you’re on medication or have underlying health concerns.

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