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February 2022

What’s all the Buzz Around Coffee Alternatives?

Coffee alternative beverages are increasingly popular. They’re promoted on social media and stocked in grocery stores. So what’s in these products? And do they actually give you an energy boost similar to coffee?

MUD\WTR and The Mushroom Latte by Everyday Dose are two growing brands. Like many coffee alternative products, they contain a variety of mushroom ingredients, including chagareishicordyceps, and Lion’s Mane. MUD\WTR also contains cacao, or cocoa, while The Mushroom Latte contains coffee extract. The mushroom ingredients are promoted for enhancing immune function and other benefits, while the cacao and coffee extract are promoted for enhancing mood and energy without the jitters or crash associated with coffee.

But what does the evidence say? Any energy boost that these products offer likely comes from the coffee extract and cacao ingredients – both contain small amounts of caffeine. As for the mushrooms, many species have been used traditionally for a variety of conditions, but there isn’t any good scientific evidence supporting their use. Lion’s Mane is increasingly marketed for its ability to enhance cognitive function, but it’s not clear if it actually helps. And research shows that cordyceps doesn’t seem to help with athletic performance. Overall, evidence of benefit is limited, but so are safety concerns – in general, these mushrooms are likely well-tolerated in these small amounts.

If you get questions about these coffee alternative products, explain that it seems to come down to personal preference. Most of the marketing claims aren’t backed by supportive evidence, but there’s no reason to recommend against them if consumers enjoy them. Price may be an important consideration, though – 21 servings of The Mushroom Latte will set you back $80, and 30 servings of MUD\WTR cost $60.

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