As we draw 2017 to a close, and look ahead to 2018, we’re already stocking our cupboards with the newest and most exciting food trends. We’ve researched far and wide to see what experts are saying we’ll all be eating over the coming year, some sound appetising, others…. Not so much! Over the next month, we’ll be sharing just how you can infuse your diet with 2018’s hot list, for today, we’re discussing second on our list, mushroom coffee!
I see that wrinkled nose and furrowed brow, mushroom coffee? Surely, mushrooms belong on your dinner plate, not in your morning brew? Not so, nutritionists are singing the praises of mushroom coffee, stating that mushroom infused coffee provides your daily caffeine kick, without the jittery side effects of coffee. But how is mushroom infused into your brew, and more importantly, what does it taste like? Read on to find out.
How it works
The most prevalent producer of mushroom coffee is Four Sigmatic, a brewer in Finland. Four Sigmatic liquefy and dry different types of mushrooms to create an extract which is added to instant coffee. The preparation process for coffee drinkers, therefore, is simply to add hot water to enjoy their mushroom beverage!
The mushroom we choose
Different varieties of mushroom can be used in this process, and we’ll briefly touch upon these;
The Maitake mushroom is native to China, Japan, and North America, and is valued in Chinese and Japanese traditional medicine, as a medicinal mushroom. The Maitake mushroom has been correlated to a number of beneficial medical outcomes. A 2009 human trial, showed that Maitake could stimulate the immune system cells of patients suffering from cancer.
Maitake also has a hypoglycaemic effect, and may be beneficial for the management of diabetes as it lowers blood sugar levels. However, care should be taken when consuming the Maitake mushroom, as it can interact with certain medications.
The Chaga mushroom can be found on birch trees in Russia, Canada, Korea, Japan, Europe, Alaska, and the US. Traditionally, it has been considered a medicinal mushroom in Russian and Eastern European folk medicine. Chaga mushrooms are alkaline, and are often chosen to add to coffee as they counterbalance the acidity of coffee, supporting digestive health. However, it is hard to scientifically support any medical benefits of the chaga mushroom.
Found at altitudes of over 14000 feet, in Nepal, China, Japan, Bhutan, Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand, the cordyceps mushroom is a delicious sounding combination of caterpillar and fungus. Traditional healers describe the mushroom as an ‘illness’ tonic, and prescribe it for energy, stamina, and higher sleep quality. In terms of scientific evidence, research is scant. Some studies have found that cordyceps may benefit individuals with kidney damage, and may benefit individuals with hepatitis B.
The taste test
Coffee connoisseurs, far braver than us, have been trialling the coffee, and the general consensus is that mushroom coffee has a mellow yet rich flavour. This may originate from the caffeine content of mushroom coffee. Where a standard cup of coffee contains 150-200mg of caffeine, a cup of mushroom coffee can contain between 9-75mg – a significant difference.
Have you tried mushroom coffee? Will you be stocking up? Let up know in the comment section!