Is Mushroom Coffee a Good Coffee Substitute?

Coffee has health benefits and so do mushrooms, so mushroom coffee should be good for you, right? Mushroom coffee is not really a coffee substitute, it’s ground up mushrooms added to regular coffee.

Mushroom coffee is dried medicinal mushrooms ground into a powder and added to regular ground coffee, so it is still partially caffeinated.

© Gulsina | Getty Images

Mushroom coffee does not sound like anything you would want to drink, but is actually a drink that tastes pretty much like regular coffee. The idea behind mushroom coffee is to add the health benefits of mushrooms to the health benefits of coffee.

What Is Mushroom Coffee?

Mushrooms have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. The mushrooms in mushroom coffee are medicinal mushrooms that you would not ordinarily eat. They have names like Chaga, turkey’s tale, Lion’s mane, and reishi. The mushrooms are dried and then ground into a powder. They are then added to regular ground coffee at about a one-to-one mixture. You can get mushroom coffee as an instant coffee, or a brewing coffee. You can even get it in a brewing pod.

What Are the Benefits of Mushroom Coffee?

People say that mushroom coffee reduces stress, boosts memory, increases energy, reduces inflammation, and strengthens the immune system. Unfortunately, there are very few studies on mushroom coffee to support those claims. Mushrooms, however, have lots of nutrients for health. If you check the nutrition label for mushrooms, you will find lots of antioxidants, vitamins, calcium, and potassium.

Mushroom coffee will give similar benefits to fully caffeinated coffee without the jitters that you might sometimes experience. “Mushroom coffee drinks have about half the amount of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee but significantly more caffeine than decaffeinated coffee,” says Dr. Linda G Strause, Principal and Founder of Strategic Clinical Consultants. “Mushroom coffee blends are lower in caffeine than regular coffee due to fewer ground coffee beans used in each coffee blend.”

Another benefit of mushroom coffee is that you’ll typically consume fewer calories (if you don’t typically take your coffee black). “Mushroom coffee commonly replaces artificial sweeteners and high calorie creamers with its mushroom flavor,” says Trista Best, registered dietician and licensed dietician at Balance One Supplements.

Benefits of Regular Coffee vs Mushroom Coffee

Unlike mushroom coffee, the benefits of regular coffee have been studied a lot and there are well-documented benefits. So, these benefits will also be in mushroom coffee. They include improved heart health and a lower risk for death from heart disease. Coffee also reduces your risk for type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, and cancer. The main benefit probably comes from antioxidants in coffee.

Mushroom Calories and Other Drawbacks for Mushroom Coffee

Regular black coffee has no fats, cholesterol, and almost no calories. Adding mushrooms can add calories, saturated fats, and cholesterol. The food label for mushrooms says you get about 55 calories in a 100-gram serving. You also get one gram of saturated fat and two grams of cholesterol. On the bright side, you get some healthy carbs with over one gram of dietary fiber.

Mushrooms are fungi and some people have digestive issues with fungi. They are also high in a plant substance called oxalate that could increase your risk for kidney stones. The biggest drawback is that you may not like the taste and effects of mushroom coffee as a coffee substitute for your regular brew if you’re looking for higher caffeine content. But if that’s the case, you can still get all the benefits of mushrooms by adding fresh mushrooms to your diet. You will get all of the antioxidants and even more fiber.

Want to learn more about the health benefits of mushrooms? Head over to our article Are Mushrooms Good for You? A Look at the Many Mushroom Health Benefits.

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Chris Iliades, MD

Dr. Chris Iliades is board-certified in Ear, Nose and Throat and Head and Neck Surgery from the American Board of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery. He holds a medical … Read More

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