For caffeine addicts, it is hard to imagine giving up that morning cup of coffee or tea for something else, especially not for a beverage made of mushrooms.
But over the last few years, more and more coffee drinkers are jumping on board the trend of mushroom coffee.
The superfood drink is currently having a moment, and with the promise to offer even more benefits than your regular cup of Joe without the side-effects, people are swapping out their caffeine-laden beverages to sip on shrooms.
While the idea of a mushroom drink can seem odd to some, it's important to note that the fungi has been used in ancient medicine practices, especially in China, for thousands of years.
So what exactly is mushroom coffee?
Mushroom coffee is actually regular coffee combined with medicinal mushroom extracts.
"The extract is made by spray-drying key components of the mushrooms to produce a concentrated extract," explains Jessica Ivey, a registered dietitian and nutritionist.
No, you can't just juice mushrooms and add them to your coffee because you want the active compounds in the fungi but not the fibres. Plus, only certain types of mushrooms, like chaga, reishi, cordyceps, and lion's mane, are believed to have healing properties.
What are the benefits?
Research has shown that mushrooms contain high amounts antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and help clear the liver of toxins. It is also supposedly better for your gut health and can strengthen your immune system.
Some studies have found that mushrooms can help alleviate stress by helping maintain balanced hormones, regulating energy levels, emotions, and metabolism.
Mushroom coffee is also much lower in caffeine, so for those who are sensitive to the psychoactive substance, this is good news.
Joanna Townsend, a Washington D.C.-based licensed psychotherapist and holistic health coach, tried mushroom coffee after quitting regular coffee and she shared her verdict in an article for Fast Company.
"I feel energized and alert without feeling anxious, restless, or experiencing an accelerated heart rate," she wrote. "I feel grounded, too, and even find myself sleeping quite well, even on days when I have a cup of coffee at 3 or 4 p.m."
What does it taste like?
According to Food Republic, the mushroom's "earthy flavor complements bold, roasted coffee beans" and actually makes the flavor smoother.
They tried Four Sigmatic's mild Arabica mushroom coffee and apparently they "don’t have the same strong or bitter taste most associate with traditional coffee, and the mellow brews even lack the telltale jitters, energy crashes and rough-on-the-tummy acid."
While mushroom coffee won't do you any harm, it's important to consult with your doctor before you drink it, especially if you're pregnant, nursing, or taking medication.
If you do want to give mushroom coffee a try, you can grab a box of Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee Mix on Amazon.
Alternatively, if the thought of combining mushrooms and coffee is already making your stomach turn, you can buy the mushroom powder separately and add it to your meals and smoothies to reap the benefits.