Moms and coffee are a pretty perfect pair (cue the “may your coffee be stronger than your toddler” memes)—especially because java contains chemical compounds that research suggests can lower your risk of certain diseases. But there’s a buzzy (literally), supercharged version of coffee called mushroom coffee (stick with us here) that’s supposed to boost your focus and energy, thanks to the inclusion of nontoxic healing herbs called adaptogens.
Foods like ginseng, rhodiola rosea (golden root) and certain mushrooms all fall under the adaptogen umbrella, and fans believe they boost your energy and focus by altering your hormones and buffering oxidative stress to level set the body. A home-run idea—except we don’t have good hard data to prove they truly have any effect on how we feel. “All of these foods are good for us, so it’s important to include them in the diet, but the idea that they are magic bullets for stress or fatigue is not supported by science,” says registered dietician Sharon Palmer, author of The Plant Powered Diet.
“That said, mushrooms and herbs are very powerful plant foods with unique compounds. We are still exploring all of the benefits these foods have, so some day we may have science to support more effects they have,” says Palmer. Data or no data, brands like Four Sigmatic, which makes coffee with mushrooms like Lion’s Mane (meant to support focus and attention) and Cordyceps (meant to keep your energy levels steady) are gaining a fast following of fans who say (at least anecdotally) the stuff works. (One solid perk: a cup of Four Sigmatic coffee has about half the caffeine of regular coffee if you’re trying to cut back on the caffeine jitters.) Like all new foods, we suggest talking with your doctor about mushroom coffee if you’re pregnant or nursing.
We had some of the M+A team give mushroom coffee a try (#not-sponsored, just curious) and here’s what our reviewers had to say:
Cecilia, Brand Experiences and Sales Coordinator (first-timer)
- The Taste: Really good, much better than expected! Sort of like a really light chocolate, ginger beverage!
- The Feels: I don’t think I felt different…I think I had good energy! I usually drink two cups of coffee a day but I didn’t have that afternoon slump and feel the need to drink a second!
Monica, Founder and CEO (regular mushroom coffee drinker)
- The Taste: I love the taste (I always have a shot of vanilla soy creamer in my coffee, but even without it, it is smoother than regular coffee…) You do have to be careful with how much water you add and follow the guidelines on the package or it can be too watered down. For the record, it does not in any way taste like mushrooms. It tastes 100% like coffee!
- The Feels: On many days I have had both mushroom coffee and regular coffee—so that’s probably not the point. However, I have noticed a big difference with the mushroom matcha drink in the afternoon and the mushroom bedtime hot cocoa (it is not sweet at all but very relaxing?) I feel like it has helped me to have a more balanced day when I have the coffee, the matcha and the hot cocoa.
Melissa, Senior Director of Business Development (first-timer)
- The Taste: Mild compared to coffee, it almost felt more like the “texture” of hot chocolate, without the chocolate!
- The Feels: I don’t think I noticed a difference. But honestly, I was up at 5am and took a yoga class at 6. Usually by 2pm (or earlier) I’m crashing and getting a coffee. But I didn’t even think about it. I had a pretty productive day, that started very early and went late. I’m pleasantly surprised!
Lisa, Director of Marketing (first-timer)
- The Taste: The taste was better than I expected. It was rich and creamy but I found I had to drink it slowly and there was a slight aftertaste.
- The Feels: Now that you mention it I did feel less bloated yesterday. I would want to try it again to really see if it had a positive effect on digestion for me.
Elizabeth, Visual Merchandiser (first-timer)
- The Taste: I really enjoyed the taste of the Mushroom Cacao Mix. It definitely had a slight cinnamon taste to it, but it wasn’t overpowering at all. It tasted a lot like a rich hot chocolate! I added some almond milk to mine to help cool it down, and liked the taste of that combination as well.
- The Feels: I felt a lot more alert, and ready to take on the day! I had an easier time focusing and staying alert throughout the afternoon, which is typically when I start to feel a little sluggish.