Does Mushroom Hot Chocolate Taste Like Mushroom?

Does Mushroom Hot Chocolate Taste Like Mushroom

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Mushroom hot chocolate is the new drink that everyone’s raving about, along with mushroom coffee. But what is it? What benefits are to be had from drinking it? And does mushroom hot chocolate taste like mushroom? Because I’m not sure I’d be a fan of that.

Why don’t we find out?

What is Mushroom Hot Chocolate?

Mushroom hot chocolate is – quite literally – hot chocolate made with dried and powdered mushrooms plus cocoa/cacao powder. Other ingredients are often added, such as sugar or sweeteners and spices.

It is vegetarian-friendly (obviously), and it’s also vegan-friendly, too. You can use a variety of milk substitutes to make it, such as almond or soy milk. The usually powdered mixture doesn’t contain chocolate, only cacao powder, which means there are no dairy ingredients.

What is Mushroom Hot Chocolate

What Mushrooms Are Used in Mushroom Hot Chocolate?

One of the most common mushrooms used in mushroom hot chocolate mixes is the reishi mushroom.

Other types you might find in the hot beverage are:

  • Chaga mushrooms
  • Lion’s mane mushrooms
  • Turkey tail mushrooms

What Are the Benefits of Mushroom Hot Chocolate?

The benefits of mushroom hot coffee largely depend on the type of mushroom used in the mixture, as well as other variables.

– Reishi Mushrooms

Also known by the scientific name Ganoderma lingzhi or just lingzhi, is known locally as the “mushroom of immortality,”. More studies will need to take place before it can be said, one way or the other, whether or not the mushrooms help (or hinder with) health, however.

If reishi mushrooms are used in mushroom hot chocolate, one of the reported benefits is said to be improved functioning of the lymphocyte system. This is the system that helps keep you healthy, warding off things like cancer, bacterial infections, and viral infections using white ‘killer’ blood cells.

Other reported potential benefits of reishi mushrooms include:

  • Reduction in depression and anxiety symptoms
  • More energy/less fatigue
  • Possible positive results with blood sugar and cholesterol problems

Important: It must be stated that many of these studies are in their infancy. Further evidence is required to properly evaluate the links between improved health and reishi mushrooms, mushroom hot chocolate, etc. 

Healthline has a very interesting, evidence-backed article on the reported benefits of the fungi:

Recommended reading: 6 Benefits of Reishi Mushroom (Plus Side Effects and Dosage)

– Chaga Mushrooms

Chaga mushrooms, also known scientifically as Inonotus obliquus, is commonly used in tea in eastern European regions, as well as Northeast North America.

Just as with reishi mushrooms, a great deal of further experimentation is necessary before we can say, one way or another, if they are worth consuming for medicinal reasons.

Chaga Mushroom Hot Chocolate

According to some reports, consuming chaga mushrooms (in hot chocolate or tea) can:

  • Improve the function of the immune system
  • Prevent and fight cancer
  • Improve liver health
  • Reduce inflammation
  • And more

In fact, Web MD has a very useful article on exactly this subject: Health Benefits of Chaga Tea.

– Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

According to Medical News Today, lion’s mane mushrooms, also known by the scientific name Hericium erinaceus, offer a potentially impressive list of benefits. These include:

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Improved gut health
  • Reduction of depression and anxiety symptoms
  • Reduction of menopause symptoms
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Improved heart health
  • Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Leveling blood sugar levels (diabetes)
  • And many more! (The article is well worth a read.)
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Hot Chocolate

Again, many of these results are from early-stage studies. A lot more research is necessary before it can be said, one way or the other, whether consuming lion’s mane and other mushrooms are beneficial to health.

– Turkey Tail Mushrooms

Turkey tail mushrooms, also known scientifically as Trametes versicolor, come in a wide variety of colors and shades. This is, in fact, what gives the fungus its name. Versicolor literally means “of many colors”.

Chinese cultures have been using this mushroom for medicinal purposes for many years, and they’re not the only ones. If you were to travel to Japan, for example, you would see cancer occasionally treated with main treatments (such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy) alongside what are known as adjuvant therapies.

Turkey Tail Mushroom Hot Chocolate

Polysaccharide-K, also known as PSK, is extracted from turkey tail mushrooms, and used as a type of adjuvant therapy. Once extracted, PSK is known as roof tile mushroom (kawaratake) and is sometimes used as a dietary supplement.

Alongside potentially bolstering the effects of cancer treatments, turkey tail mushrooms are also said to have benefits such as:

  • Boosting immune function
  • Relieving symptoms of lung conditions
  • Treating viral infections
  • Improving liver function

Is Mushroom Hot Chocolate Good or Bad for You?

As the Healthline article above outlines, this hot chocolate drink isn’t suitable for everyone.

Studies seem to suggest that benefits are minimal for people who are fit and healthy, with the best or most obvious results coming from those with pre-existing medical conditions.

Reishi mushrooms are not considered safe for people with liver problems, pregnant people, breastfeeding people, those with blood problems/disorders, those with low blood pressure, and those expecting to undergo surgery.

As with most things in life, especially those targeting health, negative side effects can sometimes arise.

Chaga Mushroom Powder Hot Chocolate Coffee

With reishi mushrooms, one of the common ingredients for mushroom hot chocolate, an upset stomach, stomach gurgling, excess gas, nausea and vomiting, and diarrhoea are noted as the most common unwanted side effects.  

Turkey tail mushrooms can come with side effects such as darkening of the fingernails, diarrhoea, and odd-coloured poop. (Sorry!)

It is vital to read up on the potential side effects of these fungi before consuming them. And as the experts always say: always read the packaging!

Does Mushroom Hot Chocolate Taste Like Mushroom?

No, mushroom hot chocolate doesn’t taste like mushroom.

It does have a slightly different taste to what you’d usually expect from a ‘regular’ hot chocolate, but it’s not unpleasant, nor is it mushroomy. (I know that’s not a word but just go with it.)

When the powdered mixture is made with good quality cacao (or other ingredients), the cocoa taste far outweighs the mushroom one.

Here’s my advice to you, if you’re thinking of buying and trying mushroom hot chocolate for yourself: take a peek at the reviews first.

One review, for example, suggested adding a little creamer or milk to make the drink taste more like a regular hot chocolate.

Another review was very clear in stating that another product (not one I’ve listed) tasted like garbage no matter how much you tried to dress it up.

The reviews will tell you a lot more than the company ever will, that’s all I’m saying.

Four Sigmatic Mushroom Cacao Mix with Reishi

Four Sigmatic is perhaps the most well-known brand of mushroom hot chocolate, and one of the highest rated. This particular brand’s drink contains reishi mushrooms (just as the name suggests), along with cacao powder, coconut sugar, cinnamon, cardamon, and stevia – all organic, of course!

Four Sigmatic says this about their hot chocolate:

“When drank in continuous doses, reishi has been shown to support your body’s sleep cycles.”

Four Sigmatic

Although the packaging states to mix with water, people have also used milk and several plant-based milk substitutes with great results. These include oat milk, almond milk, soy milk, and others.

As well as being caffeine free, it is also gluten free, suitable for vegans (with water/milk substitutes), and vegetarians/meat-eaters.

Other mushroom hot chocolate brands and types you could look at include:

Homemade Mushroom Hot Chocolate Recipe

You can make your own mushroom hot chocolate mix. It is simply cacao powder with powdered mushroom, after all.

There are plenty of recipes you can copy, the majority of which use cacao powder along with already-powdered mushroom blends. Again, there are many different types and brands of mushroom powders, more so than mushroom hot chocolate mixes.

The following recipe, by Grow Forage Cook Ferment, uses a blend of mushroom powder, cacao, cinnamon, and honey: Mushroom Hot Chocolate with Reishi and Lion’s Mane

If you’d prefer one without the honey, you might like this one, by Mama Jeans Market: Mushroom Hot Chocolate Mix.

Can You Make Mushroom Hot Chocolate in a Velvetiser?

I talk about the things you can and can’t create in a Velvetiser in one of my previous blog posts: What Does a Velvetiser Do?

You cannot use anything other than Hotel Chocolat-branded chocolate flakes in a Velvetiser.

That’s what Hotel Chocolat says, anyway. According to their website:

“Powdered hot chocolate should never be used as this can also create the same ‘hot spots’ which can also clog up the whisk and even damage that Teflon coating…”

Hotel Chocolat

By using non-Hotel Chocolat branded (and Velvetiser-specific) ingredients, you run the risk of voiding the warranty. If your device then breaks, you will need to pay for repairs or a replacement because the guarantee/warranty won’t cover you.

However, many people have used powdered hot chocolates and home-flaked chocolate with great success – and no damage to the Velvetiser. Emma over at Kitchen Mason has a few interesting things to say on the matter, just in case you’re interested: Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser Review.

Use powdered and non-Velvetiser-specific ingredients in the device at your own risk, that’s all I’m saying.

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By Buzzy Kitchen

Lovers of food, owners of opinions, pleased to share!