Whenever I start to do research on a new subject, I first look at what respected sources have to say, then I look at popular opinion, then I go directly back to origins. The first use or first sighting or first whatever. My journey to precisely define mushroom coffee gave me anxiety. My system didn’t work.
I first got stuck on the fact that everyone defines mushroom coffee as being a blend of coffee bean coffee with a blend of powdered functional mushrooms. That is the one and only popular opinion on the definition of mushroom coffee. However, the same organizations and people who define it that way, give recipes without coffee bean coffee. In other words, to a whole lot of us out there using it, and to even those establishments writing and researching it, mushroom coffee is its own thing. It doesn’t need instant coffee in it. In fact, we would never offend our coffee cups with instant coffee, so all of that surprised me.
We are now an enclave of mushroom coffee drinkers and those of us who do still put regular coffee in our morning drink (combined with mushroom powder), do so sparingly. We are in the minority. Most of the Sisters have their mushroom coffee morning drink without coffee. Some folks might spike their coffee with mushroom powder, but we spike our mushroom powder with coffee. Did I lose you?
According to Coffee Dorks, for thousands of years, mushrooms have been used by the Chinese and Japanese in traditional medicine. In fact, for about 2,000 years, mushrooms have remained a mainstay of ancient traditional Chinese medicine. However, it’s only recently that coffee lovers have joined the mushroom bandwagon.
During World War II, it’s reported that serious coffee rations forced people throughout the Scandinavian region to turn to other food traditions like brewing tea and coffee using Chaga mushroom. When brewed, even Chaga tea tastes more like coffee, but with more beneficial antioxidant properties.
Even Martha Stewart weighed in. She discusses both traditional coffee versus mushroom coffee (as if it has no coffee bean coffee) and then goes on to discuss the health benefits of adding mushroom coffee to your coffee bean coffee. Why pit them against each other in a chart, and then go on to talk about the health benefits of combining them? Maybe Martha is just being illustrative, but maybe the whole industry is a bit word-challenged.
Yes, perhaps it’s the naming convention that has me bugged.
Mushroom coffee can remain meaning ‘coffee bean coffee mixed with powdered mushrooms’, but maybe we need a new phrase to describe the hot drink that is made of just a mushroom powder blend and spices. Maybe that could be called ‘mushroom powder’ instead of mushroom coffee, but I fear that horse is out of the barn. Mudwater and every mushroom powder blend maker are calling it mushroom coffee and people are consuming it as they will, with or without coffee bean coffee.
Wikipedia, disappointingly, has no entries for mushroom coffee.
Regardless of the language challenges, there are five mushrooms that are considered the staples of mushroom coffee.
Reishi – known to aid in alleviating depression, an anti-oxidant, improves heart health and the immune system, as well as improving sleep, and reducing anxiety. It is also known to have anti-cancer properties and helps to regulate the body’s blood sugar levels.
Lion’s Mane – known to alleviate depression, recognized as an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory; improves brain health, heart health, strengthens the immune system. Also known to reduce anxiety, improve sleep and stomach health. Regulates blood sugar levels, neuro-protective, anti-cancer
Cordyceps – also known to alleviate depression, recognized as an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant; improves heart health and regulates blood sugar levels. Also a neuro-protective and reduces the symptoms of asthma, promotes lung health.
Turkey Tail – recognized as anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, improves immune system and stomach health, as well as having cancer fighting properties.
Chaga – recognized as anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and known to improve cholesterol levels, boosts the immune system, regulates blood sugar levels and is neuro-protective.
Our Super 17 blend contains those five staples as well as Shitake. For a long-time and still, for many, shitake is overlooked as a medicinal mushroom. In fact, shitake mushrooms are known to help with weight loss, to act as an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory. It improves heart health, skin and teeth health, acts as a neuro-protective, and as an agent of fighting cancer.
The Sisters mushroom coffee blend also has ashwagandha root, which isn’t a mushroom, but is a powerful mood-stabilizer.
This is a ten-question survey that takes approximately 3 minutes to complete. Before you take this survey, have this chart open on your desk. It’s not cheating. It’s helping you master the content. It’s good reference material. Good luck on testing your mushroom coffee IQ.