Originally seen on TheHomestead.Guru
What is ‘mushroom coffee’, and why on Earth would anyone want to drink (what basically amounts to) fungus juice?
The answers might surprise you!
If you can get behind brewing kombucha (fermented tea) as a soda replacement, you’ll be excited to learn about chaga mushroom “coffee”.
Maybe you want to cut back on caffeine consumption, or maybe you’ve noticed that coffee just doesn’t do good things to your body. Either way, the wellness and immune-boosting benefits of mushrooms are finally starting to be recognized by science.
Chaga and reishi mushrooms, particularly, are full of antioxidants. Their health and longevity benefits have made these mushrooms revered as super-foods in Asia for thousands of years.
So how do you make tea and coffee out of mushrooms?
Short answer–there’s several ways. First, you can simply buy mushroom coffee pre-made. It’s typically a blend of coffee, powdered chaga, and other mushrooms like Lion’s mane, reishi, and cordyceps.
It typically comes in single-use bags, and you brew it just like herbal tea, then add milk or cream, honey, maple syrup, or even spice it up like chai.
However, my favorite way to make chaga mushroom tea or coffee is in a crock pot, so you can have a continuous brew - and turn it into anything you like.
First, you’ll need a crock pot that can be used for several weeks at a time without being missed in your cooking rotation. I use a 4-quart size.
Get some chaga mushroom in chunks, ideally wild-harvested. Powdered chaga works too, but then you’ll need to strain it, which is less convenient.
Put several chunks or pieces of chaga in the bottom of your crock pot, fill it up with water, and set it to WARM.
The temperature of most crock-pots gets to 165-175 degrees F on the Warm setting, which is below boiling point, and ideal for chaga. As chaga is a living substance, you don’t want to use water that’s too hot and destroy the antioxidant properties.
The water will gradually turn dark over several hours (or overnight), and voila! Now you have chaga tea.
I use a wooden ladle that attaches to the handle of my crock pot, and I just ladle out what I want, cup by cup, over several weeks.
Chaga mushrooms are naturally antimicrobial, so you don’t really have to worry about the brew going bad.
Also, since you’ll be brewing with the same pieces of chaga for a long time, you’re really able to extract the most from each one. Very cost-effective!
As the level of liquid in the crock pot gets low, you’ll need to replenish the crock pot by adding more water. Make sure to do this right after you take out some chaga tea, and not before–so that you’re not watering it down right before you drink some!
Once the brew begins to lose its oomph, you’ll know it’s time to add more chaga pieces.
When your chaga tea starts to take more than a few hours to return to a rich, dark color after adding more water (usually 2-3 weeks), that’s when you should add another piece or two of fresh chaga. The old pieces can be removed and composted, or left in the pot to break down further.
How to use continuous-brew chaga to make yummy drinks…
To make TEA–you can ladle out a cup and drink it straight, or add in a bit of honey and/or cream. Chaga tea looks like it’ll taste strong and bitter, but it’s actually very mild on its own.
To make COFFEE–simply add one-fourth to one-half of a cup of cold or hot coffee to a cup of chaga, and flavor as usual. This is a great way to cut back on your coffee consumption, and add extra health benefits. A little bit of coffee carries its flavor a long way, so it’ll just taste like you’re drinking regular coffee.
You can even make HOT CHOCOLATE by replacing the water in your favorite cocoa recipe or mix with continuous-brew chaga!
If you need to stay away from coffee completely, you can also experiment with a product called Teeccino, which is also delicious and amazing either mixed with chaga or alone.
Teeccino is made from roasted grains and chicory. It’s caffeine-free, with a very convincing coffee flavor - but roasted grains may also be an issue for some who are sensitive to oxalates and acrylamide.
Where to get chaga? I think Etsy is best, personally. Look for wildcrafted, and check the seller’s ratings + the rest of their store.
Take advantage of mushrooms’ healing properties without giving up your morning brew, and try making continuous-brew chaga tea!
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