Medicinal mushrooms have been enjoying a lot of buzz lately and I am not immune to the hype. Back in the fall, a local vendor was selling chaga mushrooms at the farmer’s market and I jumped at the chance to start incorporating this superfood into my daily routine. Chaga, known as “the King of the Mushrooms” is one of the most potent superfoods known to man at this time. It contains many vitamins (D, K and B), minerals (zinc, iron, calcium) and antioxidants and has been proven to boost the immune system, helps reduce stress and balance hormones. (see chagatea.org for more nutritional information). Chaga mushrooms are a type of fungi that grow on birch trees and have been used in Eastern Medicine for centuries. It grows in the Northern hemisphere and is found in forest in Canada, Russia, and Europe. The mushrooms are foraged and dried and are most commonly decocted in water to make chaga tea. If you’d like to learn more about the origins and benefits of using this fascinating mushroom please check out ChagaHQ and Chaga Mushroom Canada.
More and more companies have been coming out with different medicinal mushroom products; most notably Four Sigmatic and their easily accessible mushroom coffees. Buying pre-made mushroom coffee is an easy and convenient way to enjoy all of the many benefits of mushrooms like chaga, but unfortunately often comes with a pretty high price tag. If you’re interested in adopting this versatile fungi into your everyday life, I would recommend picking up some dried chaga chunks from your local health food store, farmers market or find a reliable vendor online. Making chaga coffee is by far the simplest and fastest way of using the chaga, as it does not require decocting the chaga tea beforehand. You simply break off a small chunk of chaga and grind it in your coffee grinder along with your coffee beans and brew as ususal. You get to enjoy your regular cup o’ joe, with the added bonus of the immune boosting adaptogens from the chaga.
- Coffee Grinder
- French Press or Drip Coffee Maker, etc (I use a Zevro Coffee Dispenser)
- Small chunk of dried chaga (about one inch in size)
- 2 tbsp Coffee beans of your choice
- 1/2 L of boiling water
*Double these quantities if you are using a 1L French Press or conventional sized coffee maker.
- In your coffee grinder, grind the small chunk of chaga. Once it is mostly ground, add the coffee beans and grind until the beans and the rest of the chaga are coarsely ground. *my friend let me know that her coffee grinder was wrecked when she tried to grind Chaga, so make sure to break them into small pieces. I tend to only grind chunks that have already been decocted once so they are softer. (More on that in my next post). She suggested putting the Chaga into a bag and using a hammer to break it up. Do whatever method serves you and your coffee grinder best.
- Add the grounds to your drip coffee maker or french press.
- Pour over boiling water and let brew for 5 – 10 minutes, or longer depending on the desired strength of your coffee.
- Serve black or with creamer and sugar. Enjoy!
*I’ve heard that it is best to use non-dairy milk or creamer when using chaga as the lactose interferes with the absorption of the nutrients, however I heard this from a video and cannot confirm their source, but just something to keep in mind.