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Magical mushroom: How does it taste?

When mushrooms become a healthier alternative to coffee and leather

Magical mushroom: How does it taste?
Developed by California-based material solutions company Bolt Threads, Mylo is certified bio-based unlike most synthetic leathers.

What do you do when a new drink haunts your social media timeline? Images of people sipping on a warm coffee-like drink, which is actually a mushroom coffee, leave us with a question: how does it taste?

Not just social media influencers, but most coffee lovers would relish the taste as it is similar to the original brew. However, many may think this drink is being marketed as a healthier version of regular coffee. Mushrooms actually have health benefits: boost immunity, lower cholesterol levels, and work like an antioxidant, promote the growth of healthy hair and can enhance gut health or check cancer in certain cases. So what better than adding it to your morning cuppa.

As per a recent study published in Science Direct journal, mushrooms might be doing more for the gut as it contains high bioactive compounds, and a good source of prebiotics to stimulate the growth of gut. Besides a healthy drink, the process to make mushroom coffee is rigid. It follows a dry and extraction process of beneficial compounds from mushrooms and these get blended into regular coffee. Some common compounds of mushroom are medicinal — cordyceps, lion’s mane, Turkey’s tail, reishi and chaga – and known to lower oxidative stress, stimulate nerve growth, support and boost liver function, when blended with ground coffee beans for a drink.

The unique offering populating this segment of coffee comes in instant coffee packets as well. Like Gurugram-based Rooted Active Naturals mushroom coffee brand has shiitake mushroom extract powder, and the mushroom coffee is instant Arabica coffee infused with lion’s mane and chaga. Los Angeles-based Four Sigmatic brand sells mushroom coffee with chaga while Bengaluru-based Irisz Health sources its ingredients from Coorg and the Himalayas. Their bestselling mushroom coffees are the tan roasted Arabica mushroom coffee and the monsoon green decaffeinated mushroom coffee.

From edible uses as well as an alternative to leather, the fungi have been put to good use. In a rapidly changing world, going green, consuming less and using resources optimally are taking centrestage. For instance, English fashion designer Stella McCartney introduced the world’s first clothes made with Mylo mushroom leather, a sustainable leather alternative made from mycelium, the infinitely renewable underground root system of mushrooms. Developed by California-based material solutions company Bolt Threads, Mylo is certified bio-based unlike most synthetic leathers.

Also Read: Vegetarian vs Vegan lifestyle: Everything you should know

Luxury fashion house Hermès, too, introduced (March 2021) a bag made from fine mycelium (the network of threads forming the vegetative part of the organism that produces mushrooms). Interestingly, mycelium grows best in a lab with mulch, air and water, and is designed to have minimal environmental impact. It takes days, not years like raising cattle, helping save water, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and protecting vital ecosystems like the Amazon from deforestation.
MycoWorks, a company that develops and sells mushroom leather, worked with Hermès last year, and Bolt Threads, another mushroom leather company, began supplying mushroom leather to Adidas and Lululemon.

In the mushroom dietary supplements, mushroom daily gummy and sprays make it convenient to consume mushrooms. Available online, wellness brand SuperMush introduced three functional mushroom supplements in a convenient spray that can be sprayed directly into the mouth. Earth & Star, introduced its new super multi-mushroom gummy, a product intended for daily use and inspired by daily multivitamins.

The boom in fungus has led to a concept of e-commerce venture Shroomboom for mushroom enthusiasts in Los Angeles. It launched a variation of mushroom-made foods such as burgers, bread, chips, sparkling drinks, lattes, fondue, gummies, and more. Its mushroom-inspired clothing taps into the growing mushroom boom as well as the mushroom-based innovations in beauty, health, food, fashion, sustainability, offering fashion, beauty and wellness products made out of mushrooms.

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First published on: 09-10-2022 at 03:30 IST