As a digital editor in the food realm, not a day goes by where I’m not faced with something bizarre and ‘out there’ – like the guy who used an apple to re-create a human ear or London’s naked pop-up restaurant that had a waiting list of (reportedly) 40 000 people. Weirdos.
With the big global focus on health and wellness that’s spread in the last few years and the incredible spike in functional foods (I’m looking at you, turmeric and matcha), we’re starting to see more ostensibly healthy substances becoming mainstream ingredients in coffee. Enter: Chaga medicinal mushroom powder. And before I go further, quash any thoughts about trippy hallucinogenics – because this is way different.
I first got wind of mushroom coffee last year while browsing a local health shop’s website. At first, I was super skeptical – wouldn’t you be? However the health benefits jumped out at me and before long I was convinced I needed to try this wonder drink, but it took me more than a year to pluck up the courage (mushroom flavoured coffee just sounds gross, right?).
So last month, after being pretty much bombarded with various online posts about this superfood mushroom trend, I ordered my first batch of the powder. You have to steep it like a tea and then strain it because the powder is quite ‘grainy’. From there you simply add your milk and/or preferred sweetener.
So, what’s the big deal?
Among a plethora of other things, medicinal mushrooms are known for their highly adaptogenic properties, meaning they are able to adjust to the variety of different stressors in your life by naturally and gently supporting your body’s adrenal system (which manages the body’s hormonal response to stress and anxiety). Pretty much the opposite of what regular coffee does to the body. And if you’re someone like me who can’t go a day without a delicious cup of Joe but hates its negative effects, it was a no-brainer to seeing if I actually a) liked the taste and b) felt different.
I can happily say yes to both of the above. It has an unsurprising earthy flavour that’s almost chocolatey with subtle notes of cinnamon (which I adore) and a rich and full mouthfeel. I add almond milk to mine but I’m sure cow’s milk would make it taste a bit creamier and sweeter from the lactose.
Now just so you know, I still drink a cup of regular coffee during the day but I enjoy this mushroomy blend early when I wake up and truly find that I feel a lot more grounded, calm and in control of any physical or mental pressures. And now as we head into the run-up to Christmas and the silly season, I could use some calming of the nerves. In fact, I’m heading out on my first Christmas shopping mall expedition tomorrow so I need all the zen vibes I can muster.
Have you tried medicinal mushroom coffee? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or email me!