No, not the psychedelic type. Get the lowdown on mushroom tea, the latest trend taking over health food markets and green cafés everywhere.
Café culture has its ebbs and flows. One week people are guzzling caffeine-packed espressos, and the next, they’re sipping on flowery chamomile tea. Social media enables these trends to reach a much wider base of consumers, and with a Starbucks and Teavana on every corner, people are getting way more adventurous with their daily drink choices.
We would have never guessed that in 2018, our beloved green tea, matcha, and other healthy hot beverages would take a backseat to none other than—a fungus.
Yes, that’s right. Mushroom tea is here to stay.
Mushroom mania: a brief history
In the Far East, medicinal mushrooms have been used in tea-making for centuries. Depending on the specific variety, steeped fungi support plenty of health functions, promising everything from boosted immunity to brighter skin.
Of course, trained herbalists understand each kind and can ‘prescribe’ the perfect extract to help with hormone regulation, trouble sleeping, anxiety—even cancer prevention.
How did the practice finally hit the States?
We’re all familiar with magic mushrooms and the likes of Timothy Leary. But today, people’s renewed interest in medicinal fungi is less about the spiritual journey and more about wellness. In fact, pharmaceutical manufacturers have used mushrooms for over 100 years. If you take medication for high cholesterol, or ever needed a round of antibiotics, you’ve likely ingested a trace of the very same mushrooms popping up in supermarkets.
From organic, gluten-free and non-GMO food products to sustainable farming, zero-waste living, and tiny houses, green practices are all the rage. It’s only natural that mushrooms would finally make their move into our kitchens.
So, what does mushroom tea taste like?
To start, the drink itself isn’t exactly prepared like tea or coffee, since wild mushrooms aren’t found in leaf or ground form. Similar to matcha, preparers grind the fungus flesh into what is called an ‘extract powder,’ which can then be dissolved into water or another hot liquid base. This is a popular method for reishi tea, a variety used for sleep and stress, as well as cordyceps tea, known for enhancing energy, stamina, and immune function. The latter is a favorite among athletes.
Other manufacturers, specifically of the chaga mushroom, sell the product in chunks. Drinkers can then steep the bark-like pieces multiple times, making the purchase super economical. When it comes to taste, mushroom tea has a subtly sweet flavor, but it’s overwhelmingly bitter and earthy. Some have described it as ‘a forest in a cup.’ Of course, you can always add sugar and other typical tea and coffee fixings.
Where can I buy mushroom tea?
If you’re in NYC, Chicago, LA or another big city, you’ll find boutique restaurants, cafés and wellness shops carrying the stuff. In particular, herbal specialists with an eye for the East will know all about mushroom tea.
However, you don’t have to travel far to experience the woody wonder yourself. Shoppers have spotted pouches of powder everywhere from Whole Foods to Walmart. The problem is, this trend is super new. So it’s difficult to know if your store will have it.
To avoid the wild goose chase, we recommend Amazon. The etailer boasts an awesome assortment of popular mushroom powder brands, including Four Sigmatic, Terrasoul, Om, Sacred 7 and more.
Ready to swap out your typical spot of tea? Shroom out, and let us know how it goes