In today's fast-paced world, many of us rely on a daily cup of mushroom coffee to kick start our mornings. But have you ever wondered if there's a healthier alternative out there? Well, look no further. Today, we'll explore the age-old debate of "Mushroom Tea vs Coffee'' and help you make an informed decision about what's best for your health.
Table of Contents
Mushroom Tea offers holistic health benefits, gentle energy, and stress relief.
Mushroom Coffee provides quick energy, sensory satisfaction, and a wide range of flavor options.
Ultimately, choosing between mushroom tea vs mushroom coffee comes down to your personal preferences and priorities.
The Magic Brews: Mushroom Tea and Mushroom Coffee
Mushroom tea is a unique infusion made from medicinal mushrooms like Chaga, Lion's Mane, and Reishi. These fungi have been cherished for centuries in traditional medicine for their potential health benefits.
Mushroom tea was, at one time, the most common way to take functional mushrooms–before supplements, tinctures, and capsules took over the modern wellness market. Today, mushroom tea still offers a convenient, potent, and highly-medicinal method for consuming functional mushrooms, especially when brewed correctly.
Mushroom coffee combines the goodness of coffee with the benefits of medicinal mushrooms, creating a unique brew that's gaining popularity.
Before we dive in, we want to clarify: There are two different “types” of mushroom coffee–those that contain coffee and mushrooms, and those that contain only mushrooms. The latter is still sometimes marketed as a “coffee” because of its bold, rich flavor, though it doesn’t necessarily apply the same benefits (because it lacks the coffee component.
For the scope of this article, we are talking about mushrooms+coffee, a unique combination of medicinal mushrooms and instant coffee that results in a rich, energizing, therapeutic beverage.
Mushroom Tea vs Coffee–A Look at the Similarities
We know you’re here for a deep dive into the differences in mushroom tea vs coffee, but we feel it’s also important to look at the way these two therapeutic beverages overlap. They have many, many similarities, and both are truly a good choice for reaping the general therapeutic properties of functional mushrooms in beverage form.
Here are the primary qualities that both mushroom tea and coffee share:
They both offer functional mushroom benefits (when high-quality and brewed correctly).
Mushroom extract is chock full of beta-glucans and other bioactive compounds. This is true whether you purchase a mushroom coffee extract or extract them yourself when making tea–as long as you do it correctly.
Thanks to these beta-glucans and other mushroom polysaccharides, both mushroom coffee and tea are superfood beverages with some outstanding potential benefits, including:
- boosting the immune system
- reducing inflammation
- improves cognitive function
- increasing energy levels
- supporting digestive health
Read “Functional Mushroom Benefits: What to Expect from Lion's Mane, Cordyceps, and More” to learn more.
They can be enjoyed hot or cold.
Coffee and tea are exceptional choices for serving both hot and cold. If you’re looking for a cold mushroom coffee beverage, try instant mushroom coffee. It can be added to cold water or milk to create an instant cool beverage.
Mushroom tea can also be served cold, but it needs to be steeped hot and then chilled. The process is longer, but creates an equally delicious and potent brew.
They offer incremental dosing opportunities.
Mushroom tea and coffee can be consumed by the cup, offering you the opportunity to drink several throughout the day. Unlike capsules, you can easily increase or decrease the amount of mushroom extract you add to your cup, making it easy to adjust your dosage.
They can both be made from a diverse selection of mushrooms.
Mushroom Tea vs Coffee Differences
Mushroom Tea Has a Milder Flavor
When looking strictly at flavor, mushroom tea and mushroom coffee have a very obvious difference–one of them contains coffee, which is bold in flavor and usually paired with cream or sweeteners.
Mushroom tea, however, is a steeped infusion that can be made with various medicinal mushrooms, so it usually has a slightly milder flavor and thinner consistency. The actual flavor will vary based on the mushrooms you use. Tea can still take on cream, sweetener, or even other herbs or fruits for additional flavor.
Mushroom Coffee May Be More Potent Than Tea
Mushroom coffee is usually a combination of mushroom extract and instant coffee. Assuming you’ve purchased a high-quality mushroom coffee, the mushroom extract is a concentrated version of mushroom polysaccharides, making it optimal for therapeutic use. A high-quality mushroom extract will have a beta-glucan content of 20% or higher.
Mushroom tea, on the other hand, is brewed from fresh or dried mushrooms. You need to use water at a certain temperature and steep for a certain amount of time in order to break the beta-glucans free from the chitin, the layers of tissue that make up the mushroom body. Chitin is indigestible, and, if they aren’t properly extracted, beta-glucans cannot be used by the body when consuming mushroom tea.
Mushroom Tea is Trickier to Brew
Because of what we said above, mushroom tea is a bit trickier to brew. Whether using dried or fresh mushrooms, you want to steep them in water that is at between 130 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit because research indicates that the water soluble medicinal components can degrade at higher temperatures.
Then, steep the mushrooms for 3-5 minutes and strain them out to get a potent cup of tea. You can consume this tea hot or allow it to cool and serve over ice.
Mushroom coffee, usually, just requires you to mix the extract coffee powder with water, hot or cold, and consume.
Mushroom Coffee Contains Caffeine
This one seems obvious, but it’s worth mentioning–coffee contains caffeine, which offers a significant energy boost for many. It’s also a natural nootropic, so it may help to enhance focus, too. However, caffeine can have downsides as well, like jitteriness and dependency.
It’s worth noting that mushroom tea could be brewed with a black or green tea bag, which would add a small caffeine kick, too.
Mushroom Tea is Often More Cost Efficient
Mushroom coffee, because it’s been extracted and processed, usually costs a bit more than the dry or fresh mushrooms needed for mushroom tea, especially if you can find the mushrooms you need locally to avoid shipping.
Comparing Benefits of Mushroom Coffee vs Tea
Mushroom Tea: The Hidden Gem
1. Health Boosters Galore
2. Stress Relief
The adaptogenic properties of certain mushrooms found in mushroom tea can help combat stress and anxiety. Mushroom coffee, especially when caffeine is consumed in excess, can sometimes lead to increased stress levels and jitters.
3. No Caffeine Crash
Mushroom tea provides a gentle, sustained energy without the notorious caffeine crash that often follows mushroom coffee consumption. Mushroom coffee can give you a burst of energy, but too much caffeine may be followed by a dip in energy levels that can leave you feeling drained.
5. A Mood Enhancer
Some mushrooms in the tea, like Lion's Mane, have been linked to improved cognitive function and mood regulation. When the tea is brewed with a green tea, it may also include L-theanine, a calming amino acid associated with relaxation and boosted mood.
Mushroom Coffee: The Time-Tested Favorite
Mushroom coffee, our tried-and-true companion, also has its merits.
1. Quick Energy Fix
2. The Aroma and Ritual
3. Endless Varieties
4. Convenient and Ready to Brew
Mushroom coffee products are readily available and are easy to brew. Most are an instant mix, meaning the extraction has already been done for you–and a high-quality brand guarantees a certain beta-glucan content. It’s easier to ensure that a mushroom coffee mix that’s commercially prepared and lab tested will provide the benefits you are after compared to brewing your own teas at home.
Best Types of Mushrooms for Coffee and Tea
Cordyceps is known as the “athletes mushroom,” but it can provide energy and stamina support for everyday life. This mushroom is known for its ability to stimulate oxygen flow throughout the body which may be linked to an array of physical benefits, like increased endurance and improved physical performance.
Cordyceps also contains cordycepin, which, according to a review published in 2020, may have anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, antioxidant, and anti-aging compounds, among other benefits.
The Maitake mushroom is a powerful adaptogen, meaning it may "adapt" to the body's needs in order to resolve imbalances that cause various mental and physical challenges. It’s most well known for its immune-regulating benefits.
Maitake contains D-fraction, a beta-glucan known to have a strong effect on the immune system by boosting the production of lymphokines and interleukins that improve your overall immune response. One study confirms that both Maitake and Shiitake stimulate the immune system defense response.
The Verdict: It's a Personal Choice
So, which one should you choose? It all boils down to your preferences and priorities. If you're seeking a caffeine-free, holistic health booster, mushroom tea might be your go-to. But if you crave that quick energy kick and the ritual of mushroom coffee, then stick with your trusty brew.
Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all answer, and it's perfectly fine to enjoy both options depending on your mood and needs.
In the end, what truly matters is that you relish your daily mushroom beverage, whether it's a warm cup of mushroom tea or the invigorating aroma of mushroom coffee. Sip, savor, and stay healthy!
If you want to take full advantage of the "functional" side of functional mushrooms, consider a mushroom super-blend like our Lucid Coffee, Chai, or Matcha powders. It takes full advantage of the benefits of these superfood mushrooms by pairing Cordyceps, Maitake, Tremella, and Lion's Mane, plus powerful nootropics, like BCAA's, L-Theanine, Alpha-GPC, and more.
- “Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18844328/
- “Lion's Mane, Hericium erinaceus and Tiger Milk, Lignosus rhinocerotis (Higher Basidiomycetes) Medicinal Mushrooms Stimulate Neurite Outgrowth in Dissociated Cells of Brain, Spinal Cord, and Retina: An In Vitro Study” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26853959/
- “Effects of amycenone on serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-10, and depression-like behavior in mice after lipopolysaccharide administration” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26150007/
- “Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects through Modulating BDNF/PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β Signaling in Mice” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5855563/
- “Tremella fuciformis polysaccharide suppresses hydrogen peroxide-triggered injury of human skin fibroblasts via upregulation of SIRT” https://www.spandidos-publications.com/mmr/16/2/1340
- “Effect of Polysaccharide from Cordyceps militaris (Ascomycetes) on Physical Fatigue Induced by Forced Swimming” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28094746/
- “Cordycepin for Health and Wellbeing: A Potent Bioactive Metabolite of an Entomopathogenic Medicinal Fungus Cordyceps with Its Nutraceutical and Therapeutic Potential” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7356751/#__ffn_sectitle
- “Immune-modulating Effects of Maitake Mushroom Extract” https://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/immune-modulating-effects-maitake-mushroom-extract
- “Immune-enhancing effects of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) and Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) extracts” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4202470/
- “Suppression of inflammatory and allergic responses by pharmacologically potent fungus Ganoderma lucidum” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24948193/
- “In vivo and in vitro anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive effects of the methanol extract of Inonotus obliquus” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378874105002564?via%3Dihub