Flavour Feed: The Mushroom Latte – Is Fungi Coffee Just a Fad?

April 22, 2018, 7:19 pm

In the past few years, we have seen coffee take on a whole host of new personae. Gone are the days when Nescafé, milk and a sugar would do the trick; nowadays, it seems the sky is the limit when it comes to caffeine. With turmeric, charcoal, beetroot and matcha lattes already on the menu, the latest ingredient to get its name on the list is mushroom.

The mushrooms on the classic English breakfast plate do boast some remarkable health benefits, including high amounts of B vitamins and selenium, which help to boost the immune system. However, this isn’t the same variety that the coffee connoisseurs are adding to their blends; instead, chaga, cordyceps and reishi are the trio of choice.

Chaga, which can be found growing on the side of birch trees in cold climates, have been used by native cultures in Siberia for centuries. Research conducted by the University of Malaya, in Malaysia, show that their anti-inflammatory compounds could help ease dementia. Cordyceps are found in the Tibetan mountains and were used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, while reishi, found in East Asia, are so revered for their alleged impact on longevity, they’re called ‘ling zhi’ or ‘spirit plant’. It seems the mushrooms known by our forefathers may offer the magical benefits people today are searching for: support for our immune system, reduction of our stress and an increase in our energy.

Fast-forward a few centuries and take a trip to hipster Shoreditch and the likes of the East London Juice Co and you’ll find a blend of coffee and powdered mushroom that fans claim draw on that ancient wisdom. But what does a ’shroom latte actually taste like? According to Tomé Morrissy-Swan, writing in The Telegraph, ‘earthy’. For some, this earthiness may be too powerful, but for others, the maltiness is a flavour to savour.

East London Juice Co’s owner, Charisse Baker, offers a down-to-earth view of the mushroom-latte trend. Although she’s been turning foraged ’shrooms into lattes since 2015, she makes no grand claims for her drinks being anything other than delicious: ‘There are studies showing the positive health benefits; however, there is also a lot of hype.’

By guest writer Jacqueline Turner


Image: Courtesy of Pixabay

Content: courtesy of Flavour Feed


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