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Chagaccino: Potential Benefits, Recipe, and More

People have been interested in the potential health benefits of mushrooms for thousands of years. Many mushroom varieties are believed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit the immune system. Brewing or steeping dried mushrooms is a convenient way to get their nutritional benefits. Now, people add them to their coffee by brewing a 'chagaccino.' Keep reading to learn more about this coffee beverage and how to make one at home.

What is chagaccino?

A chagaccino is a warm coffee drink with frothed milk and chaga mushroom powder. It’s an ideal beverage for mushroom lovers who want to add more fungi-based ingredients to their diet. Many people are interested in incorporating more chaga mushrooms into their foods and beverages because it’s believed to have nutritional properties that support the immune system, potentially reduce inflammation, and support overall health.

The key ingredients of a chagaccino are:

  • Dried chaga mushroom steeped in water. Alternatively, some people buy chaga powder instead, which can be quicker and more convenient. You can easily find this at most health food stores or online.
  • Espresso shots or ground coffee. Again, this is a personal preference, and you should choose your preferred coffee ingredient.
  • Frothed milk. You can use dairy milk or an unsweetened plant-based alternative.
  • Some type of sweetening agent (this is optional). People often add honey, maple syrup, or agave.

For more flavor, add a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or cocoa powder before drinking. In the summer or hot months, serve a chagaccino over ice for a refreshing, cooling beverage.

Chaga fact
Some people drink hot, steeped chaga mushroom beverages as a coffee alternative. You can do this, too, if you don’t want a chagaccino but still want potential mushroom benefits.

Potential benefits of chagaccino

The ingredients of a chagaccino, particularly the dried chaga mushroom powder, may have health benefits. Although more research is needed, the following potential health benefits are suggested on chaga mushroom powder or fermented chaga mushrooms (rather than a mixture of coffee and chaga mushrooms).

The following research studies were done on animals, and more research is needed for human studies.

May support immunity

Chaga mushrooms contain antioxidants and other bioactive compounds that may support your immune system. Experimental animal studies found that chaga mushroom extract may support essential immune cells and cytokine development — key players in immune function. Most scientific studies that support these findings have been done on animals, and further research is required on humans to support potential chaga benefits to immunity.

May support heart health

In another animal-based study, researchers found that fermented chaga mushrooms may help lower free fatty acids, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels in diabetic mice, which may aid with overall heart health. The researchers attribute these changes to the antioxidants naturally found in chaga mushrooms.

May lower blood sugar levels

High blood sugar levels can increase the risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetic mice given chaga mushrooms appeared to have better glycemic control. While human scientific evidence on the effects of chaga mushrooms and blood sugar control is limited, experimental animal studies suggest that chaga may be a promising functional food that would benefit from more scientific research.

Homemade chagaccino recipe

To prepare a chagaccino at home, you will need a French press, dried chaga mushroom powder, ground coffee, and your favorite type of milk product. First, you can make a dry mix by combining two parts of ground coffee with one part of chaga mushroom powder. Add this to a sealable container and stir with a spoon to fully combine.

When you’re ready to make a chagaccino, add one or two tablespoons of your coffee chaga mix to a french-press and steep with hot water for five minutes (or longer if you prefer stronger flavors). Once steeped, pour into a coffee mug and drizzle in honey, maple syrup, or agave. Top your chagaccino with frothed milk and ground spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice, and enjoy while hot.

Chagaccino vs. regular coffee: which is better for you?

A chagaccino (without cocoa) will have a frothy, creamy, milky texture that tastes like a nutty coffee drink. Of course, if you have a sweetener or spices, they will also impact the taste. Most people can’t tell that chaga is used in their chagaccino because its earthy, sweet notes pair perfectly with coffee. The nutritional value of a chagaccino and regular coffee depends on the specific ingredients and amounts used. There’s no additional caffeine in a chaga mushroom, so the potential stimulating effects are from the coffee beans.

Some people may opt to drink a chagaccino over plain coffee because they believe that chaga mushrooms may have ayurvedic adaptogenic properties (ayurveda is a form of alternative medicine) that are believed to help with stress relief. Unfortunately, there is limited scientific evidence available to support these potential health benefits, so it’s unknown whether they’re true.

While comprehensive human clinical trials are needed to confirm the safety and efficacy of chaga mushrooms, it is recommended to use chaga in moderation and monitor for any potential side effects. Be sure to practice other healthy lifestyle habits that reduce stress, like mindfulness practices, getting high-quality rest, and keeping your caffeine intake moderate (less than 400 mg/d for a healthy adult).

Is chagaccino worth the hype?

A chagaccino is an antioxidant-rich beverage that perfectly blends chaga mushrooms, frothy milk, and coffee. It can be served hot or over ice and is a versatile drink that makes consuming fungi easier. Although much still needs to be understood about the potential health effects of chaga mushrooms, it’s generally known that they contain some micronutrients and bioactive compounds that may support overall health when combined with other health-promoting practices.

If you have any concerns about including mushroom products in your diet, such as if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or managing a health condition, ask your pharmacist or family physician if chagaccinos are safe to enjoy.

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