Mushrooms: They’ll enhance the flavor of your pizza, complement your chicken marsala, or send you into the stratosphere.
What now – apparently – what if you dry them out and serve them in a java chip frappuccino? They will solve all your health problems.
That’s right, readers. We’re talking about the new mushroom cafe (seemingly everywhere). So, if you’ve ever wondered if the Instagram-famous concoction really works? Continue reading.
Here’s everything we know about the secret to hipster immortality.
What is mushroom coffee?
Mushroom coffee is a coffee blend that includes equal parts ground mushrooms and coffee beans. To get the mushrooms in this blendable form, they are first dehydrated and ground into a fine powder.
“There are a lot of different mushroom coffees, and they’re all made of different things,” said Abdul Ismail, manager of Olive May Natural Foods in East Orange. “We sell one that has coconut milk, MCTs, cinnamon, vanilla, bromine and lion’s mane, for example, but we have another with five different types of mushrooms: like turkey tail, cordyceps, reishi, chaga and lion’s mane.”
According to many coffee brands, each of these distinct mushrooms has distinct health benefits. Some are believed to reduce stress or cure inflammation, while others will put you to sleep or boost your immune system. Products from some companies, like Brain Brands, could even make you smarter by improving your concentration and mental performance.
“The benefits of coffee depend on the mushroom mixed in it,” Ismail explained. “Because the benefits are different depending on whether they come from turkey tail, lion’s mane or chaga.”
However, whatever their effect, mushroom-infused drinks and powders are flying off cafe and grocery store shelves; every buyer hopes to get immunity boost, peace of mind or eternal life.
But here’s the problem: the famous elixir, you know, is it In fact work?
Does mushroom coffee actually work?
According to studies from UCLA and Outside Magazine, mushroom coffee do fall asleep; but only because it has half the caffeine of a normal cup of coffee. This 50% reduction may also reduce stomach upset (due to caffeine irritating the digestive system), which could suggest that one’s immune system has improved.
The Cleveland Clinic adds to this skeptical view, saying that “not enough research has been done to truly understand whether the benefits (of mushrooms) manifest in coffee form.”
New Jersey healthcare professionals support the above sentiments.
“Although mushroom coffees have many health benefits,” said Vanessa Montesano, certified Precision Nutrition coach of Kenilworth, “it is important to understand the true validity without additional studies.”
These “additional studies,” as the Cleveland Clinic wrote, simply do not exist at this time.
“It is also important to note,” Montesano continued, “that drying, extracting and brewing mushrooms” – that is, changing their chemical composition – “may not leave the benefits intact proposed for health.
To get the most out of a mushroom, many doctors therefore suggest simply consuming it separately from coffee, as it occurs naturally.
So, the verdict? Drink mushroom coffee only if you enjoy it.
Otherwise, you’re probably better off just crushing a Portobello panino.
Kara VanDooijeweert is a food editor for NorthJersey.com and The Record. If you can’t find her at Jersey’s best restaurants, she’s probably running a racetrack in the mountains. Find her on Instagram: @karanicolev & @northjerseyeatsand sign up for it North Jersey Eats Newsletter.
This article was originally published on NorthJersey.com: Mushroom Coffee Trend, Will It Cure Your Health Problems?