For many people, the real highlight of any morning is coffee. Whether it’s a slow, sleepy Saturday or the rush of Monday morning, coffee brings a sense of comfort — at least for a little while. But then, the zoomies kick in, and you’re wondering how you can simultaneously feel so exhausted yet so high-energy. Thankfully, Mushroom Cups has found a way to give you the warmth and comfort of a cup of coffee without all the jitters that come later.
Mushroom Cups blends mushrooms, a superfood we all know and love, with organic coffee. The result is a cup of joe that is smoother than standard coffee with a host of benefits, from energy to an immunity boost and more. The company actually makes several products geared toward a range of needs, whether you’re gearing up for a workout, needing to focus at the office, or trying to unwind at the end of the day.
There are plenty of coffees out there that boast sustainable labels, but it’s hard to find coffee that isn’t packaged in plastic. Mushroom Cups’ coffee and hot cocoa products are contained in 100% recyclable packaging, and the company even recommends repurposing these cylindrical containers into plant pots.
How did such a unique product come to be? It all started when Stipe Rezic, a professional basketball player in Croatia, was looking for ways to enhance his physical form. While trying just about every diet, supplement and exercise available, he ended up doing more harm than good.
“I’ll save you the details, but I spent a lot of time detoxing and even needed surgery to reverse negative side effects from artificial supplements that I thought were going to help my body and mind,” Rezic told Inhabitat. “Luckily at that time, I decided to try my first mushroom — Cordyceps. It was a game-changer. I felt extremely energetic and strong, but most importantly there were no side-effects. Seven years ago, success stories around my family and friend circle piled up so high, my friends and colleagues pushed me into starting my own business with mushroom extracts in the center of it.”
And so Mushroom Cups was born with a mission to make healthy, performance-boosting coffee and cocoa drinks that are sustainable from start to finish.
Organic coffee and reusable, recyclable packaging aren’t the only eco-friendly aspects to this company. It goes further by partnering with more than 80 independent mushroom hunters who sustainably harvest mushrooms for all of the company’s products.
“Our mushroom hunters sustainably harvest wild mushrooms by using the blade-cut methodology to remove the mushroom fruiting bodies,” Rezic explained.
That all sounds good, but you’re probably wondering, “How does it taste?” Mushroom-infused coffee might seem weird, even to people who love mushrooms and especially to those who don’t. As a vegetarian, mushrooms are a staple of my diet. As a coffee-lover, well, so is coffee. But combining the two doesn’t exactly sound appealing. Mushroom Cups sent over some samples of the immunity-boosting variety, and I was excited to give it a whirl. The Go Glow! coffee claims to improve immune support through the infusion of chaga mushroom powder, plus chanterelles for iron, potassium and vitamins B and D.
I was first impressed by the packaging. The single-serve packets aren’t encased in plastic; instead, they are held within a thick paper material. The 10 packets are then secured in a durable cardboard container that I plan to reuse as a small succulent planter once I am finished with the coffee.
Truthfully, I was worried this wouldn’t taste like coffee when I opened one of the packets. It didn’t smell like mushrooms, per say, but it didn’t quite smell like coffee, either. Coffee’s enticing aroma is one thing I deeply enjoy when making it every morning, so the smell of this product didn’t live up to my expectations.
But it did deliver in terms of taste and convenience. I’ll always prefer bulk packaging to single-serve options, but these packets of coffee are impressively not wrapped in plastic. The single-use sachet is great for making coffee on-the-go, too, so I’ll definitely be buying Mushroom Cups before future trips. All you have to do is pour the packet into a cup of hot water and stir it around a bit until the grounds dissolve.
I typically drink coffee with a splash of oat milk and maybe a little sugar or honey if I want some sweetness. I wanted to taste this plain first to get a feel for the flavor as it stands. I love bold, strong coffee roasts, and while this had a slightly weaker coffee flavor, it still tasted more like traditional coffee than any other instant coffees or espressos I’ve tried. There was not a trace of mushroom flavor. It was also much, much smoother than many coffees. It wasn’t bitter, nor did it feel acidic. With oat milk, it tasted nearly indistinguishable from my regular morning cup of coffee.
The trickiest part was evaluating how it impacted my energy. This specific variety promises to “boost cognitive and mental clarity” while also preventing jitters or crashes. As someone who wakes up at 4:45 each morning, I welcome the energy that coffee gives me, but the afternoon crash is dreadful. I didn’t notice much of an energy increase at all after drinking this product. But I also didn’t have the crash that comes later in the day. For comparison, each serving contains 60 mg of caffeine; one cup of coffee typically has 95 mg.
The other often unspoken truth of drinking coffee is that it can be rough on my digestive system, and I know I’m not alone.
Rezic said, “There are no jitters or any other digestive problems,” when drinking Mushroom Cups. “This resulted in a big chunk of customers with serious digestive problems who had to stop drinking coffee until they tried Mushroom Cups.”
So … did this coffee leave my stomach in knots? Did it cause some digestive troubles too gruesome to share with the world wide web? With typical coffee, I usually start feeling discomfort about an hour after drinking my first cup. Within a few hours, I have to make a trip to the bathroom. Within the first hour of drinking Mushroom Cups, I really didn’t notice any discomfort, a definite win.
The final factor to consider here is price. Each container, which holds 10 servings, is $13.95, or about $1.40 per cup of this mushroom coffee. I like to drink 1 to 2 cups a day, so this won’t last me long. Comparatively, my favorite budget-friendly organic coffee typically costs me about $6, my go-to Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee is around $10 and one of my beloved “splurge” coffees from a local roaster is between $15 and $20 (each of these prices is for a 12-ounce bag, out of which I can usually get three or four weeks’ worth of coffee). I plan to purchase Mushroom Cups for future trips or even really busy weeks when I don’t have time to mess with the coffee grinder and French press. But for daily use, it’s a little pricey.
All in all, Mushroom Cups is a great coffee option for its convenience, smooth taste and health benefits, like added vitamins and nutrients sans the coffee jitters or bellyaches. As far as coffee goes, the sustainable packaging is also hard to beat.
Images via Paige Bennett / Inhabitat