The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Ideal Mushroom Coffee for Your Lifestyle

Mushroom coffees have been around for over a decade now, but they’ve become increasingly popular over the past year for various reasons. This has largely been driven by an increasingly health-conscious population looking for healthy, functional foods. Mushroom coffee certainly didn’t gain a following for its flavor, with early varieties described by some as having an almost earthy, dirt-like taste! However, today’s products are much higher quality, delivering great-tasting smooth coffee without odd tastes. Quality can vary greatly between brands and specific products, making it important for you to do a lot of research before making a pick. Since you’re probably switching to mushroom coffee for health reasons, it’s important to consider what health benefits you’re specifically looking for and if the product delivers. Food and beverage products, including nutraceuticals, are poorly regulated and not subject to the same scrutiny as medications; you may not even get what you’re paying for. You can choose from these dietitian-tested mushroom coffees or do your research using the guidelines below. 

How To Choose The Right Mushroom Coffee

Look At The Type Of Mushrooms Used To Make Your Coffee

Mushrooms have long been a part of human diets, and we know that edible mushrooms are incredibly healthy. Some of them are even therapeutic. However, not all mushrooms are the same, with each type offering different health benefits. If you’re looking to improve your nutritional intake and want general health benefits, look for a blend with various mushrooms. Commonly used mushrooms include Lion’s mane for improved cognitive function, cordyceps for endurance, shiitake for heart health, maitake for immunity, chaga for digestion, etc. Decide on your health goals and look up the health benefits of the ingredients to be sure a product is right for you. 

What Part Of The Mushroom Does The Coffee Contain?

This is an important consideration as you’ll want a good quality coffee with real health benefits. Mushroom coffees can be made from the mycelium, the stalk and root-like structure that goes into the ground, or the fruiting body, the distinctive umbrella-like structure you see above the ground.

While there’s nothing wrong with consuming the mycelium, they don’t contain the same compounds as the fruiting bodies, which are the main source of healthy beta-glucans. All the health benefits of mushroom consumption are linked to these compounds.

Check The Mushroom Concentration

Always look at the concentration of mushroom extract on the label. Any good product will specify the percentage or ratio of mushroom extract to coffee. High-quality mushroom coffees typically contain a significant concentration of mushroom extract, indicated by a 10:1 or higher extract ratio, meaning that 10 parts of the mushroom were used to produce 1 part. You can also check for the presence of bioactive compounds like beta-glucans, which are often listed on the label.

Consider Product Safety And Brand Reputation

Mushroom coffees are expensive, so you must look for more than the cheapest products. Of course, high pricing alone is not a guarantee of quality and safety. Look for third-party certifications that attest to the purity of the product so that you’re not exposed to contaminants.

Products from brands with a long history, good safety record, positive customer reviews, and transparent information about their production process will always be a better choice. 

Check For Caffeine Content, Sugar And Additives

Most people opt for mushroom coffee because of its lower caffeine content, which can reduce stimulant effects such as sleeplessness and anxiety. So, whether you’re looking to cut back, find out how much caffeine the product contains to ensure it reflects your needs. Similarly, pay attention to the sugar content or presence of artificial sweeteners because you should ideally have control over your choice of sweetener and how much you wish to use. Be wary of products containing flavor enhancers that are usually made from chemicals. 

Sometimes, the best thing you can do when choosing a mushroom coffee is to look out for red flags and exclude those products. Some warning signs that a product is best avoided could include the absence of information on ingredients and sourcing or vague information, the use of ‘proprietary blends’ to hide ingredient proportions, lack of certifications, significantly lower pricing than most brands, and over-the-top health claims.