Health Benefits Of Mushroom Coffee: The Caffeine Alternative

  • Angus Sinclair Master's degree, Ethnopharmacology/ Ethnobotany, University of Kent

Introduction to mushroom coffee

Mushroom coffee is an innovative beverage that blends the traditional elements of coffee with the claimed health benefits of mushrooms. It has emerged as a promising alternative for those seeking the comfort of a warm drink without the full intensity of caffeine found in regular coffee. As we delve into this topic, rest assured we're here to guide you through every sip and fact, ensuring a clear understanding of what mushroom coffee can offer.

Definition and Overview

Mushroom coffee is made by infusing ground coffee beans with powdered mushrooms, typically medicinal varieties known for their health-boosting properties. This fusion creates a unique drink that not only energises but also provides various wellness benefits. The mushrooms commonly used include species such as Chaga, Lion's Mane, and Reishi, each bringing its unique blend of nutrients and bioactive compounds to the cup.1 For you, this means a beverage that stands out with additional health benefits while still providing that familiar coffee taste.

Historical background

The use of mushrooms for their medicinal qualities dates back centuries, with ancient civilizations recognizing their potential to promote health and longevity. Mushroom coffee, however, is a relatively modern creation, drawing inspiration from these traditional uses. It was popularised in Finland, a country with a rich mycological heritage (studying mushrooms and yeast), and has since captured the attention of health-conscious consumers worldwide.2 Understanding its roots enhances appreciation for the drink and provides insight into its cultural significance.

Comparison to traditional coffee

When compared to traditional coffee, mushroom coffee often contains less caffeine, which makes it a suitable option for those who are sensitive to caffeine's stimulatory effects. The inclusion of mushrooms is also said to temper the sometimes harsh effects of coffee, such as jitters or digestive discomfort, while potentially offering additional cognitive and immune benefits.3 This means you can enjoy a cup of coffee with potentially fewer downsides and more healthful upsides.

Composition of mushroom coffee

Mushroom coffee is more than just a regular cup of Joe; it's a blend that brings together the best of both worlds: the rich taste of coffee and the robust nutritional profile of mushrooms. Let's break down what makes this beverage a standout choice for those looking to sip their way to better health.

Types of mushrooms used

The most commonly utilised mushrooms in these blends are Chaga, Cordyceps, Lion's Mane, and Reishi. Each of these fungi is renowned for its health-promoting properties. For example, Chaga is celebrated for its immune-boosting potential, Cordyceps is favoured for energy enhancement, Lion's Mane is reputed for cognitive support, and Reishi is known for its stress-relieving qualities.4

Nutritional profile

Mushroom coffee is praised for its nutrient density. These mushrooms are low in calories yet high in fibre, making them an excellent addition to a health-conscious diet. They also provide a range of B vitamins, essential minerals such as selenium, copper, and potassium, and important polysaccharides and beta-glucans.5

Active compounds and antioxidants

The active compounds in these medicinal mushrooms include polysaccharides like beta-glucans, which are known to support immune function, and triterpenes, which are attributed to anti-inflammatory properties.6 Additionally, mushrooms are a rich source of antioxidants that protect against cellular damage. Antioxidants, such as the ones found in mushroom coffee, are substances that can prevent or slow damage to cells. The cells can be harmed by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to stress coming, for example, from the environment.6

Health benefits of mushroom coffee

The rise in popularity of mushroom coffee is not just due to its unique taste but also because of the health benefits it is thought to offer. From strengthening the immune system to enhancing mental clarity, let's explore how this blend might just be the boost your body needs.

Immune system support

Mushrooms like Chaga and Reishi are rich in beta-glucans, a form of soluble dietary fibre (a fibre that dissolves in water). It has been found to help stimulate the immune system, enhancing the body's ability to fend off pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses. Regular consumption of mushroom coffee might, therefore, offer a fortifying effect on your immune response.7

Energy levels and caffeine content

While mushroom coffee contains caffeine, the levels are typically lower than in traditional coffee. The mushrooms' adaptogenic properties can help balance the body's stress response, potentially offering a more sustained energy boost without the energy crash commonly associated with caffeine consumption.8

Mental clarity and focus

Lion's Mane mushroom, a common ingredient in mushroom coffee, contains hericenones and erinacines, compounds that have been shown to stimulate the growth of brain cells and potentially improve cognitive function.9 This may translate to enhanced mental clarity and focus without the overstimulation that can come from regular coffee.9

Potential anticancer properties

Some studies suggest that the polysaccharides and triterpenes found in medicinal mushrooms may exhibit anticancer properties.10 These substances might work by activating various cell-signalling pathways that induce programmed cancer cell death apoptosis and inhibit tumour growth.10

Stress and anxiety reduction

Reishi mushrooms have been traditionally used for their calming properties. The triterpenes they contain may have a natural anxiolytic effect, helping to reduce stress and anxiety levels.11 Incorporating mushroom coffee into your routine could potentially help maintain a more relaxed state of mind. 

Impact on digestion and gut health

Mushroom coffee is a source of prebiotics due to the polysaccharides found in the fungal cell walls. These prebiotics feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut, possibly improving digestion and contributing to a healthier gut microbiome, which is crucial for overall health.12

Scientific research and studies

The booming interest in mushroom coffee is backed by a growing body of scientific research. These studies not only help us understand the potential health benefits but also the underlying mechanisms of mushroom action that make mushroom coffee a subject of interest in the wellness community.

Overview of relevant studies

Recent research has focused on examining the health impacts of mushroom coffee, particularly its effects on cognitive function, immune response, and overall well-being. Studies often involve so-called randomised controlled trials, where participants consume mushroom coffee over a set period to determine its effects compared to a control group.13

Analysis of findings

The findings from recent studies suggest that the regular consumption of mushroom coffee can lead to improved markers of health. For instance, participants in some studies reported enhanced alertness and cognitive performance, as well as a more robust immune response after drinking mushroom coffee regularly.14 It's important to note that while the results of ongoing research are promising, they should be viewed as part of an emerging field of study. Further research is needed to confirm those encouraging results about potential action and applications of mushroom coffee. 

Expert opinions and endorsements

Nutritionists and health professionals have begun to endorse mushroom coffee, recognising its potential as part of a balanced diet. Experts in the field of mycology (study of fungi) and integrative medicine are particularly interested in the role that the bioactive compounds (compounds with an effect on the body, found during research) found in medicinal mushrooms can play in supporting overall health.15

Comparing caffeine effects

In the world of caffeinated beverages, mushroom coffee is gaining attention for its potential as a healthier alternative to regular coffee. Understanding the effects of caffeine in these two different drinks can help consumers make informed decisions about what to include in their diets.

Mushroom coffee vs. regular coffee

While both mushroom coffee and regular coffee contain caffeine, the former typically has a lower content. The presence of adaptogenic mushrooms can modulate the stimulating effects of caffeine, providing a more balanced energy boost without the highs and lows often associated with traditional coffee consumption.14 This means that mushroom coffee might be a suitable choice for those looking to reduce their caffeine intake without giving up the ritual of a warm beverage.

Side effects and health concerns

The side effects associated with mushroom coffee are generally fewer due to the reduced caffeine content. However, it's essential to consider that mushrooms can also carry their own set of side effects, especially for those with mushroom allergies or sensitivities.16 Additionally, individuals with certain health conditions should consult with a healthcare provider before consuming mushroom coffee.

Recommendations for sensitive individuals

For individuals who are sensitive to caffeine or those who are exploring coffee alternatives for health reasons, mushroom coffee might offer a solution. It is recommended to start with a small amount to gauge tolerance and to select mushroom coffee blends from reputable sources to ensure quality and safety.8


What is the downside of mushroom coffee?

The downside of mushroom coffee may include its taste differing from regular coffee and potential side effects for those with mushroom allergies or sensitivities.

Can you get mushroom coffee without caffeine?

Yes, mushroom coffee can be found without caffeine, as some brands offer completely caffeine-free options.

Who should not drink mushroom coffee?

Individuals with mushroom allergies, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or people with certain health conditions should consult with a healthcare provider before drinking mushroom coffee. 

Does mushroom coffee improve gut health?

Mushroom coffee contains prebiotic fibres that could potentially improve gut health by nourishing beneficial gut bacteria. 12


We have seen mushroom coffee’s potential to support immune health, provide a balanced energy boost, enhance mental clarity, offer stress relief, and possibly contribute to gut health. The adaptogenic properties of the mushrooms, coupled with a lower caffeine content, make mushroom coffee a compelling choice for those seeking a healthier alternative to traditional coffee.

The market for mushroom coffee shows signs of significant growth, driven by increasing consumer interest in functional foods and natural health products. As awareness of the beverage's potential benefits spreads, its popularity is likely to continue to rise.

In conclusion, adopting mushroom coffee as a caffeine alternative could be a wise move for those looking to enhance their health regimen. While more research is needed to fully understand its benefits and limitations, the current evidence suggests that mushroom coffee is more than just a trend — it's part of a burgeoning wellness movement that marries traditional knowledge with modern health consciousness.


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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Angus Sinclair

Master's degree, Ethnopharmacology/ Ethnobotany, University of Kent

With a focus on medical writing, I bring a background in Ethnopharmacology and a Master's degree from the University of Kent. As a Medical Writing Intern at Klarity Health, I specialize in translating complex clinical data into accessible articles for diverse audiences. My skills include medical writing, research, and regulatory knowledge. I've previously held roles in engineering and marketing, showcasing my versatility. Committed to professional development, collaboration, and fostering inclusivity, I thrive in environments that value continuous learning and employee well-being. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
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