Pounding coconut water? OK, we’re game. Cactus water? Sure, why not. But mushrooms? Woah there. It turns out, drinking ‘shrooms isn’t such a bad idea — and no, we’re not talking about the psychedelic kind.
Finland native Tero Isokauppila grew up on a farm, foraging for mushrooms, and is now spreading the gospel of the "superfood" with the power to reduce stress and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Humans are essentially mushrooms
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When we hung out with Isokauppila recently, he told us that most people are surprised to learn that nearly half of our genetic makeup is the same as a mushroom’s. Because of that, we share the same survival methods. So if we’re feeling a bit sick because our immune system isn't functioning properly, eating mushrooms can help us recover faster. Another surprising fact Isokauppila tells us: Mushrooms are in 40 percent of medicine. Now you know why.
Bringing the craze Stateside
There are different kinds of mushrooms, and not all are created equal (some are even poisonous). There are four kinds that Isokauppila says are especially healthful: Reishi, Cordyceps, Chaga and Lion’s Mane. And it is these four types that his beverage line of mushroom-infused coffees and hot chocolates, Four Sigmatic, revolves around.
Lion’s Mane helps with concentration, making it the perfect ingredient for his coffee mix. Reishi is a big stress-reducer, so he uses it as the base ingredient in one of his hot chocolate mixes. Cordyceps and Chaga are both high in antioxidants and good for your immune system.
Isokauppila tells us mushrooms are more common to eat and drink in Finland, but he knew that to get Americans on board he needed to sweeten the deal, so to speak. Isokauppila snuck the superfood into hot chocolate and coffee mixes, which are sold at Whole Foods, Urban Outfitters and Amazon. A couple New York City cafes have also started selling mushroom-infused drinks too, including Brooklyn’s Botica and Caravan of Dreams in the East Village.
But how does it taste?
A tasting of the different mushroom-infused beverages at the Metro offices received mixed reviews. Some downright didn’t like it at all, some said it got better as you drank it, while a few genuinely liked it. “I had one of the coffee mixes and it made me feel alert, like a normal cup of coffee, but didn’t make me feel jittery,” one staffer reported.Hey, you can always just eat the mushrooms.
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence