Best Mushroom Beverage | A Quick Review Of Our Favorites

Best Mushroom Beverage | A Quick Review Of Our Favorites featured image

If you are really steeped in the wellness scene, chances are that you have heard about a functional mushroom beverage, maybe even tried a little bit of it yourself. Unlike the mushrooms you would toss into a salad–like oysters, crimini, and white buttons–this subset of mushrooms has specific health properties.

But unlike psilocybin mushrooms, they are not psychedelic. Also called adaptogenic mushrooms, or medicineal mushrooms, functional mushrooms may help your body cope with stress, especially when taken regularly over time.

The most common ones are Lions Mane, Chaga, Reishi, Turkey Tail, and Shiitake. While all of these have adaptogenic properties to help your body cope with stress better, they do have a few differences amongst each other, making each of them unique.

While functional mushrooms are often mentioned as a trend here in the United States, it is important to note that in many other cultures, they are not seen that way.

In Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine (a practice of holistic medicine originating from India), these mushrooms have been used for centuries in medicine.

Well+Good first covered functional mushrooms way back in 2015, when adored indie brands such as Moon Juice and Sun Potion started including them in their product lines. Before that, the biggest name in functional mushrooms was Four Sigmatic.

Given how stressed out everybody seems, you would think that any product promising to combat stress would take off fast. But even when medicinal mushrooms started popping up in new ways — such as in beauty products and granola bars — the ingredient never gained much traction with mainstream people. But this year, a new grad class in medicinal mushroom drinks and powdered products is looking to change that.

Functional Mushroom Beverages

While the functional mushrooms stayed on the fringe, you know the one that went fully mainstream. As the alternative-milk scene has boomed, health drinks brands took the next logical step, and started selling ready-to-drink lattes, either in bottles or in cans.

La Colombe, Starbucks, and Rise are just some of the brands selling ready-to-drink dairy-free lattes. And the latest on the market has the mushroom blend right there.

Erica Huss and Zoe Sakoutis, the founders of the Earth+Star Functional Latte Brand, are hardly newcomers to the wellness scene. The duo also founded BluePrint, an organic juice and veggie smoothie blends that has been hugely popular.

The Earth+Stars line includes canned coffee, Matcha, a turmeric latte, and cacao lattes. Each contains a mix of Lions Mane, Chaga, Reishi, and Cordyceps.

All four mushrooms have specific medical properties, and they did not want consumers to have to pick between them. While all four are linked to reduced inflammation and improved immune function, chaga is linked to improved intestinal health, reishi is linked to reduced fatigue, and cordyceps is linked to improved cardiovascular health.

One of our disappointments [in the drink space] was seeing a few brands simply sprinkle adaptogenic mushrooms into their products to say that they were in there, but that was not really enough for you to experience the effects. Then, when people try it, they don’t see the effects, they write it off.

They decided to put 2,000 mg of mushrooms into all of their products – a dose that, they said, is in line with what is typically studied in clinical trials. But that dose does not give the drinks an earthy flavor, as one would expect.

In fact, you don’t actually taste any of it. They were happy they were able to get to the flavor, which doesn’t really taste like mushrooms. Another brand of functional, ready-to-drink mushroom lattes is Taika, founded by Kal Freeze (a barista and world-championed coffee connoisseur) and Facebook veteran Michael Sharon.

Sharon says that while working for Facebook, he got very involved with coffee, but did not like some of the side effects, such as feeling jittery and anxious. To counter those, he started taking a L-theanine supplement, along with adaptogens including ashwagandha, lions mane, reishi, and cordyceps.

Freezes background is in the nutritional sciences. Originally from Finland, she got her first job working in a Michelin-starred restaurant at age 14. Moving to New Zealand when he was 15, he got really involved in the cafe scene, starting winning cafeteria competitions.

But, like Freese, coffee tends to give him the jitters, leading him to find out about the very herbs that Freese was pursuing. “We wanted to create a coffee drink that would be incredible tasting, but also provide all of the benefits of other powders we used to add to coffee, all in a single mix,” says Freese. The lineup includes macadamia nut lattes, oatmeal latte, and black coffee, all of which feature their own blends of coffee and mushrooms.

We went through between 30 to 40 different iterations until we got the mix just right, Freeze says, saying that they wanted to ensure it did not just taste good, but people felt that the herbs worked. “We knew how it made us feel, but we wanted to make sure that other people felt the same effects, so we sold 50,000 units of the stuff in different startups around San Francisco,” says Sharon. “That served us as a fairly robust beta; that is on the scale that I saw Facebook do. . After a cycle of listening to feedback and adjusting their mix, they have reached a final product.

The Evolution of Functional Mushroom Powders

Besides popping up in lattes, functional mushroom powders – the stuff that started this trend really – evolved, too. Four Sigmatic founder Tero Isokauppila, who was among the first to introduce functional mushrooms to the masses. The obvious way that it is growing is that the product is getting bigger in this space. That is a good thing, a lot of ways, because that makes finding and getting the mushroom products that are useful, easier.

But it can also be the biggest downside. Like everything that becomes a hit, there are brands who just throw little things into products just to say it is in there, echoing the sentiments we mentioned previously. Not all companies are using science-backed dosing.

Even Four Sigmatic itself has evolved over time. Most recently, the brand released their protein powder ($40-$108), which Isokauppila says came out of demand directly from customers. “So, you can have all of what you wanted to put into a smoothie or coffee, in a single mix,” says Isokauppila.

He also says a couple years ago, they added ground coffee infused with functional mushrooms to the line, in response to cold-brewings growing popularity. To Isokauppilas point, functional mushroom powders are more available for sale now.

Some of the new additions are functional mushroom cacao powder, Hekate ($59), mushroom cups ($11.16), and Rritual ($39-$39.9). Mushroom Cupss PR person, Ana Mari Resic, says in addition to cordyceps, lions mane, and chaga, the brand is incorporating wild chanterelles, which are rich in iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin D.

Rritual, launched in October, is a line of functional mushroom powders, featuring three blends, all of which are formulated by a team of doctors and scientists. “Since adaptogenic mushrooms are most effective if taken over a period of time, we really wanted to make it so they are in a form that could easily be incorporated into somebody’s daily ritual,” says the brands chairman, Dr. Mike Hart. The three ritual products, which are available in small, separate packs, include: Reishi Relax, which contains ashwagandha, cacao, and cinnamon ($39.99),

Chaga Immune, which contains eleuthero, astragalus, and Schizandra berries ($39), and Lions Mane Focus, which contains rhodiola, bacopa, and lucuma ($39.99).

So, are functional mushroom drinks and powders finally getting their moment in the hot health sunshine? Only time can really tell, but if this is something you would like to give a shot, there is no better time than now. There is definitely not any shortage of options.

About the author

Bruce Wilson

I've studied Mycology and Forest Pathology and love creating content to help other learn more about my passion. Follow along as I continue to explore the amazing world of functional fungi!

Copyright © 2022. All Rights Reserved. Information provided by this website or this company is not a substitute for individual medical advice. Results may vary. Featured products Label information subject to change. Please check the label of your product for up-to-date information. Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The featured products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Links to products featured on this site will help us earn a commission, if purchased. This helps us continue to create new content and pay website expenses. We appreciate your support!