Mushroom coffee. That may be a foreign phrase to you, but it has been a trending drink for a few years. Many coffee lovers who support this drink claim it has numerous health benefits, while others say that it’s just a better alternative to coffee or marketing tricks to increase the cost of your morning cup of joe.
So what is mushroom coffee, and should you drink mushroom coffee?
What is Mushroom Coffee?
Though the name may conjure an image of hot mushroom juice instead of regular coffee, mushroom coffee isn’t quite that extreme for a rising trend.
Mushroom coffee typically combines ground mushrooms or mushroom extracts with traditional coffee. This combination usually is around a 50/50 mix between the specific blend of mushroom powder and the ground coffee beans that a brand chooses.
Each brand has a different recipe they follow, so there’s no set list of ingredients you’ll find for mushroom coffee in general. But you can expect a mix of ground medicinal mushrooms to be in each.
Some brands add other ingredients that have supposed health benefits, like oils or herbs. Others may add things that improve the taste of the product.
When searching for what mushroom coffee to buy, it is important to read the list of ingredients to know exactly what you are getting.
How is Mushroom Coffee Made?
For most mushroom coffee products, the body of the mushroom gets dried and then ground into a powder that is added to ground coffee. So don’t worry about getting a chunk of mushroom in your first sip.
Extraction may be used to make the possible benefits of the mushroom more potent.
After all the extraction and blending that goes into readying the mushrooms and coffee, it can be sold in a variety of forms. You can find instant mushroom coffee, ground mushroom coffee blend, and mushroom coffee pods for Keurig or other pod coffee makers.
What Types of Mushrooms Used in Mushroom Coffee?
Mushroom coffee uses medicinal mushrooms rather than ones we may typically find at the grocery store. Medicinal mushrooms may have several health benefits depending on the type though none of these benefits are proven. However, healthy mushrooms have been commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.
Mushrooms you’re most likely to see in mushroom coffee are lion’s mane, reishi, chaga, and cordyceps.
- Lion’s mane: a white, shaggy-looking mushroom. Its taste is said to resemble crab or lobster, making it a popular substitute in vegetarian recipes.
- Reishi: has been a popular medicinal mushroom in Eastern cultures. It grows in hot and humid climates. This mushroom has a very bitter taste on its own.
- Chaga: these mushrooms grow on trees in colder climates and have a bitter, slightly vanilla taste.
- Cordyceps: these mushrooms are hard to harvest; therefore, many supplements containing cordyceps use a synthetic version called cordyceps CS-4.
What Does Mushroom Coffee Taste Like?
Most mushrooms used in mushroom coffee have a more easily hidden flavor profile. While the mushrooms themselves don’t taste particularly good—many might say they taste slightly of soil—most are rather bland. The strong taste of coffee overwhelms any mushroomy taste you may be concerned about.
Some reviews do state that some brands may taste more earthy or bitter. Variation among different companies’ techniques and blends will probably produce a more noticeable mushroomy influence.
In general, mushroom coffee will taste like regular coffee, but check the reviews of a specific product before buying to ensure you aren’t surprised by the flavor of your morning coffee.
Potential Health Benefits of Mushroom Coffee
While many advocates of this trend claim that these medicinal mushrooms can treat or cure several ailments, there are no mushroom coffee benefits that have been scientifically verified yet. There is no standardized way to prepare these mushrooms, which makes studying their benefits difficult.
No research has been done on the effects of mushroom coffee specifically. Though research has been done on the mushrooms used, the addition of coffee may reduce any possible benefits.
Drinking mushroom coffee could be risky for those with diabetes or who are on prescription medications. Most of these mushrooms can lower blood sugar levels. As with any herbal supplement, consumption of these mushrooms should be discussed with your doctor to ensure they won’t react negatively to medications.
Common claims for each mushroom:
- It could protect against mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease due to compounds within the mushroom that may stimulate brain cell growth. 
- Studies show some promise in its ability to boost the immune system, particularly in cancer patients. It may increase the activity of natural killer cells and other white blood cells that fight disease. 
- It is high in antioxidants, therefore, it could lower inflammation.
- It could slow the growth of cancer cells, but more research is needed to verify. 
- It may improve heart health. Studies in rats showed it reduced heart injuries due to kidney disease. China has approved this mushroom for treating arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). 
Side Effects of Mushroom Coffee
The side effects of drinking coffee with mushrooms will likely vary for each person and by brand and product.
Those with dietary sensitivities may want to avoid this trend, as mushrooms are known to cause digestive issues—especially among those with kidney problems or grain intolerance. Some mushrooms, especially Chaga mushroom, can also increase the possibility of kidney stones.
Anyone with a preexisting condition or prescription medications should ask their healthcare provider if the mushrooms may have adverse effects. Those who will have surgery soon should also avoid this drink, at least until after the operation, because some mushrooms may reduce the ability to form clots.
Cancer patients currently going through chemotherapy should avoid these mushrooms as well. Despite any potential benefits they may have, it is unknown whether these mushrooms would affect the way chemo works on cancer cells. 
For most people, mushroom coffee probably will not produce any noticeable side effects so long as it is not drunk in excess. However, it likely will not have many benefits either.
Does Mushroom Coffee Have Caffeine?
On average, most mushroom coffees have less caffeine than a traditional cup of coffee.
Because most brands cut the coffee with mushrooms in a 50/50 mix, the average mushroom coffee has around half the caffeine of the regular stuff. That isn’t to say all mushroom coffees will have less caffeine.
Among the regular types of mushroom coffee, there are also decaffeinated options that (obviously) have less caffeine than regular mushroom coffee. Decaf does not always mean caffeine-free, check out our guide for decaf coffee for more details.
Some companies have a coffee-free version of mushroom coffee, which does not contain any actual coffee. So these mushroom drinks are likely to be caffeine-free aside from any potential additives, making them a good coffee substitute.
Best Mushroom Coffee Brands
These are some of the most popular mushroom coffee brands.
1. Four Sigmatic
Four Sigmatic offers a variety of mushroom products (including hot chocolate). Their coffee is split by different benefits it is supposed to have. The benefits they claimed include:
- Think: meant for focus in the mornings.
- Defend: meant to help support health.
- Chill: meant for relaxation.
Within these different benefits, they offer a variety of roasts for forms of coffee. Four Sigmatic coffee comes in grounds, whole beans, and instant. They have dark and medium roasts, decaf, and a coffee latte option.
Once you decide on a product, the product page will state if it is vegan, gluten-free, keto-friendly, and how much sugar it contains. Their website states that their products also get third-party lab testing to ensure quality. Scrolling down leads to more information about each ingredient included and the amount of mushrooms per serving.
They’ve gotten a lot of five-star reviews, and most say that their products taste how they’re supposed to—that is, not like mushrooms.
RYZE started as a project to make coffee better.
They do not have a large variety of products. In fact, they only have one. Each order of RYZE mushroom coffee contains 30 servings and goes for about $36 at the regular price. The website offers either a monthly subscription to just the coffee or a starter pack (which contains 60 servings and comes with a free recipe booklet). Either product you order comes with a free acacia spoon and gratitude journaling app.
Their coffee is made with 100% organic ingredients, contains California-grown mushrooms, has 15 calories, and has no sugar. It comes in completely recyclable packaging.
While the company doesn’t offer any flavor or roast varieties, they do say that their coffee is entirely customizable in terms of preparation and encourage their customers to send them recipes.
On the website, you will find a section of recipes for not just types of coffee drinks, but smoothies and baked goods that you can make with the RYZE coffee.
The purpose of this company was to offer convenience. Combining vitamins with coffee and superfoods makes health more convenient.
VitaCup offers coffee pods with various flavors. Their other coffee products include single-serving instant packs and grounds. Not all of these flavors are mushroom coffee, though the brand adds superfood and vitamins to all of its products.
The only product that lists mushrooms as a core ingredient is Focus coffee, which only comes in pods and grounds.
The Focus coffee pods come in several sizes, from 16 to 128 counts.
Lion’s mane and Chaga mushrooms are the two listed for this product. At the bottom of the product page, you can find more information about the taste and caffeine content. Each cup contains 110 mg of caffeine. They describe the taste as smooth and rich.
MUD\WTR was developed due to the founder’s dissatisfaction with the drawbacks of regular coffee (caffeine dependency, the mid-day crash). And is an alternative to coffee that is supposed to be better.
On the website, you can take a quick quiz to see which product is recommended for your needs, goals, and taste preference.
They offer two main blends of their coffee alternative, along with many different products you can add for various benefits.
Coffee alternatives are :rise and :rest. Both come in two size options: 30 servings and 90 servings, which are $40 and $100 respectively.
MUD\WTR :rise is the caffeinated option meant to give you energy, improve focus, and boost your immune system.
MUD\WTR :rest is caffeine-free and meant to promote calmness and a good night’s sleep.
Both product pages include information about the ingredients in each serving at the bottom.
While mushroom coffee may not provide many benefits—aside from generally having less caffeine—for the average person, it won’t hurt to drink it. You will probably get more nutritional benefits from adding mushrooms to your diet the old-fashioned way.
And there’s no harm in trying an alternative to coffee, especially if you want to reduce your caffeine intake.