I Had Mushroom Coffee Every Day for a Week—Here’s What Happened
One health reporter (and self-confessed coffee devotee) drank mushroom coffee every morning to monitor the effects on her mood, attention and energy—and noticed some staggering results.
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After last week’s experiment when I added superfood powders to my diet every day and experienced impressive results, I was curious what would happen if I were to make a superfood the very first thing I consumed in the morning. As a dedicated coffee drinker, I decided that the most daring way to do that was to replace my regular morning coffee with mushroom coffee. The product couldn’t be ordinary: I opted for a bag of Think Ground Coffee with lion’s mane & chaga mushrooms from Four Sigmatic—the company that brought medicinal mushrooms to the mainstream.
Despite not being the soundest sleeper, I don’t generally need coffee to get going and start my day. I also often drink more than one cup—in part because I like the taste, but I also love how coffee helps my ADHD brain focus.
Mushroom coffee purports to help even more, with the Cleveland Clinic reporting some of the potential benefits of mushroom coffee. They include better sleep, reduced stress and inflammation, and a stronger immune system and memory. The one commonly mentioned downside to coffee, even among coffee lovers, is its risk for causing the jitters. Think Ground Coffee describes their product by saying it offers “all of the things you love about coffee, none of the things you don’t.”
Some mushroom species are considered part of the trendy set of “adaptogens,” which are compounds that can help the body adapt to stress. I set out to observe how mushroom coffee would affect me. Lion’s mane and chaga are among the list of adaptogenic mushrooms.
Is there coffee in mushroom coffee?
If you’re a coffee lover like me and you’ve been curious about mushroom coffee, here’s the answer to a basic question: Yes, there is actual coffee in mushroom coffee. The lion’s mane and chaga mushrooms are added to the coffee itself, which is sourced from Honduras and roasted to bring out notes of chocolate and nuts. I was relieved to learn that it’s not as though someone dried out the mushrooms, ground them, and then used the pour-over method on them. If you’re not a huge mushroom fan, there’s still a good chance you’ll like the taste of mushroom coffee.
As for the lion’s mane, the brand says it is “your brain’s best friend when you want to get stuff done.” They report that they extract their lion’s mane “from log-grown fruiting bodies: fully organic, with no fillers, grains or carriers.” The label’s nutrition facts state that one four-tablespoon serving of Think Ground Coffee contains 250 milligrams of lion’s mane.
On the chaga mushroom content (also 250 milligrams per serving), the brand reports that this mushroom was actually used as a substitute for coffee in their native Finland during World War II. They add that chaga supports the immune system, and it’s “sustainably wildcrafted on birch trees, just as nature intended.”
Altogether, the combined 500-milligram mushroom content in one serving of Think Ground Coffee converts to around 0.02 ounces of mushroom. Not too ‘shroomy.
Mushroom coffee helped me feel alert
Caffeine doesn’t affect us all the same way, but I get a dopamine boost from it. After you feel that lift in mood and cognitive performance, it’s hard to resist. ADHD is notoriously complicated to treat, but there’s mounting evidence that caffeine is a viable tool. It works for me, but the tricky part is knowing how much is enough (and how much is too much).
So, to start, the effect of drinking mushroom coffee every day for a week yielded one noteworthy effect. If I didn’t care so much about hydration, I’d drink coffee all day, so I was shocked when I realized what happened after my first cup of Four Sigmatic’s Think blend: I didn’t crave a second or third cup, which was remarkable because I always want more coffee.
I asked Tero Isokauppila—the 13th generation Finnish mushroom farmer who founded Four Sigmatic—why this could be, because it wasn’t a fluke. It happened every time I drank mushroom coffee for the past week. “There’s a synergy between coffee, lion’s mane and chaga,” Isokauppila says. “Many of our customers share that they feel the mental ‘wake-up’ after just one cup, and definitely after one week of daily use.”
Isokauppila explained that mushrooms help the body normalize and adapt to stressors, and coffee infused with these mushrooms brings the benefits of “clear mental focus; smooth, balanced energy; and stress management without losing the artisanal coffee taste.”
Mushroom coffee helped me focus
What blew me away was how I always seemed to chase the buzz of coffee with more than one cup, but the mushrooms added what I really needed for focus. Therefore, one cup did the trick, and I could move on to other beverages I need, like water.
BreAnna Guan, ND, a naturopathic physician in Boston, loves mushrooms for everything from immunity to cognition to physical performance. “I highly recommend regular daily mushroom consumption for immune health, and medicinal mushrooms like chaga and reishi have unique benefits that are great if you’re looking to get that sharper edge in a specific area of performance, like cognition or physical feats,” she says.
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- Tero Isokauppila, Founder and CEO of Four Sigmatic
- BreAnna Guan, ND, a naturopathic physician in Boston