I Drank MUD/WTR Every Day for a Week—Here’s What Happened

Updated: Apr. 22, 2024

People are turning to this adaptogenic hot beverage as a simmered-down substitute for coffee. Here, a week-long investigation of whether MUD/WTR delivered a comparable perk-me-up.

If you’re like most coffee drinkers, nothing settles you in for the day quite like having that first sip. Coffee’s been reported as one of the highest sources of antioxidants in the American diet—but that doesn’t mean more is better. That morning jolt can bring on issues like a nervous system in overdrive, higher blood pressure, urinary or digestive issues, and sleeplessness, just to name a few.

Research has suggested 400 milligrams of caffeine is a relatively safe zone for most individuals except those who are managing certain health conditions, such as pregnancy (when some obstetricians suggest 200 milligrams is the maximum), or as otherwise recommended by a licensed doctor. Some coffee lovers are heeding the cautions around caffeine by switching to innovative new beverages that provide an aid to wake up along with a dose of phytochemicals. One of these drinks is MUD/WTR.

MUD/WTR is a lot like mushroom coffee. It’s a unique brand of brew developed by a former coffee lover, headquartered in Los Angeles. MUD/WTR is a novel powder that dissolves quickly in hot water to form a drinkable brew of cacao, spices, and mushrooms.

As a longtime coffee lover, at first I was skeptical as I studied the ingredients and opened my MUD/WTR shipment. It contained a tall mohogany canister, packages of proprietary creamer and sugar, and a sleek frother. As I followed the instructions to make my first cup, I took a reluctant sniff. I was pleasantly surprised when what my nose took in was a deep scent of cacao and the subtlest hints of cinnamon and spice.

Keep reading to learn what I experienced from drinking MUD/WTR for a week.

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What is MUD/WTR?

The classic version of MUD/WTR is made with organic cacao, masala chai, a variety of mushrooms, and several warming spices. It comes in a canister as a superfine powder that dissolves in hot water.

In the classic blend, organic cacao provides the base with four distinct types of adaptogenic mushrooms: Chaga, cordyceps, reishi, and lion’s mane. These mushrooms were chosen for their reported therapeutic benefits, which are explained on the MUD/WTR website as the following:

  • reishi helps manage stress and support immune function
  • lion’s mane for mental clarity and focus
  • chaga and cordyceps for their antioxidant properties that support immunity

MUD/WTR also contains Masala chai—powdered tea with classic chai spices—and additional warming spices like turmeric and cinnamon that round out the flavor and may help lower inflammation, boost immunity, and even manage blood sugar.

The brand says a single serving of MUD/WTR has about 35 milligrams of caffeine, so somewhere around one-third to one-half the caffeine of a traditional cup of coffee, depending on the size and strength.

The health benefits of mushrooms, cacao, turmeric, and cinnamon

The cacao mixed with powdered mushrooms, turmeric, and cinnamon make this a supercharged brew with several potential health benefits.

In terms of mushrooms, a 2015 paper published in the International Journal of Microbiology touted multiple benefits of these fungi, theorizing that mushrooms possess over 100 medicinal functions including “antioxidant, anticancer, antidiabetic, antiallergic, immunomodulating, cardiovascular protector, anticholesterolemic, antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic, antifungal, detoxification, and hepatoprotective (liver) effects.” Not impressive enough? In addition these gifts of nature are low in calories and packed with vitamins and minerals.

Cocoa also has a long history of health benefits, especially when consumed as a powder without added sugar. A 2021 study published in the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal highlighted how numerous studies have found reduced cardiovascular disease risk, improved blood flow, and blood pressure with regular low-sugar cacao consumption. An article from Diagnostic and International Cardiolody stated that blood flow improved up to 47% after subjects in a study drank high-flavonoid cocoa drinks.

Turmeric and cinnamon are also well studied as spices with beneficial flavonoids and healthy compounds. A double-blind study published in the Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome journal in 2019 showed that supplementation with curcumin, the active component of turmeric, reduced fasting blood glucose and weight in people with type 2 diabetes. Turmeric has also been found to reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, improve heart health, fight cancer, and more.

Several studies have also linked cinnamon with a reduction in blood sugar levels. A study from January 2024, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming small amounts of cinnamon twice a day significantly reduced blood sugar levels and resulted in reduced fluctuation in glucose levels throughout the day.

Turmeric and cinnamon are also well studied as spices with beneficial flavonoids and healthy compounds. A double-blind study published in the Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome journal in 2019 showed that supplementation with curcumin, the active component of turmeric, reduced fasting blood glucose and weight in people with type 2 diabetes. Turmeric has also been found to reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, improve heart health, fight cancer, and more.

Several studies have also linked cinnamon with a reduction in blood sugar levels. A January 2024 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming small amounts of cinnamon twice a day significantly reduced blood sugar levels and resulted in reduced fluctuation in glucose levels throughout the day.

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How to drink MUD/WTR

Drinking MUD/WTR is a “choose your own adventure experience” says Elizabeth Limbach, director of communications for the brand. Limbach says some customers use the drink to wean off coffee completely, but the company recommends you do so slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Others find it works in tandem with their current coffee ritual.

I went the tandem route and replaced my occasional third cup of coffee with the MUD/WTR. I drank it in its purest state, taking a tablespoon of the powder blend and coconut creamer, respectively, and dissolving those in hot water. With the cup half-full, I used the included frother to add texture to the cup.

Finally, I added some water to the top to help dissolve more of the powder, giving the mixture a nice consistency that gave it weight. Then I sipped the brew.

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hands holding mug of MUDWTR in a bedcourtesy MUDWTR

What does MUD/WTR taste like?

MUD/WTR tastes just as the company describes it on the website: “Like your mug of hot cacao met a chai latte and they had a baby.”

I would equate the taste and experience to a grown-up hot chocolate—deep, satisfying chocolate was the dominant flavor. I did not taste mushrooms at all. I could taste undertones of cinnamon and turmeric, but neither too strongly. Both can be aggressive spices so I was please to see that I enjoyed the hints of them.

I didn’t find that MUD/WTR was bitter, but instead was balanced and nuanced. Many people add sweetener, Limbach says, but as a black coffee drinker I loved it on its own.  The coconut creamer added the smallest wisp of creamy coconut that brought everything together. I dug it, when I really thought that I wouldn’t.

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Unexpected effects of drinking MUD/WTR every day

A great way to warm up

My favorite part of drinking MUD/WTR once a day was the warming effect. It quickly became a perfect mid-winter ritual, as I could feel the full-volume liquid move down my throat into my stomach and then almost felt it radiate into my fingers. It warmed me up like a good soup would on a chilly day.

After my initial trepidation, I ended up looking forward to my daily cup. Using the frother added a fun element to the daily ritual.

MUD/WTR made me more regular

There’s no delicate way to say this: MUD/WTR made me use the bathroom a few times after drinking it. I don’t know if it was the spices or the cacao, but I literally felt it move through my intestines and half the time I drank it, it made me go. Maybe this was just from the little bit of extra hydration, or maybe it was those anti-inflammatory spices delivering an added cleanse to my system.

I felt more relaxed and satiated

Unlike when I drink coffee, I felt a sense of relaxation long after I drank MUD/WTR. I was unrushed, even on my daily news deadline, and felt focused and calm. It filled me up almost like a mini-meal.

That could be that along with the positive effects of the mushrooms and the vasodilating effects of cocoa, both cinnamon and turmeric are known to have blood sugar regulating properties.

I am a convert

I am not giving up my coffee, but I also look forward to my mid-morning break with MUD/WTR. Stirring, mixing, frothing are now part of my daily routine

While I didn’t try any of the other blends to only write on the effects of the original MUD/WTR product, I am excited to try the Matcha, Gold (turmeric), and Rooibos blends.