Bring on the Mushrooms

I’m fanatical about my morning coffee. Which is confusing because I’m not even sure that I like it.

I’ve started off my day with coffee for as long as I can remember. Not black–I’m not simple and neither is my coffee–but a dark, rich blend topped off with a flavored, non-dairy creamer. While I often occasionally worry about being a bit high maintenance after hearing the person in front of me order “large coffee, black,” it’s still a pretty simple concoction, I’ve been told.

My oldest daughter works at Starbucks, and it took her a full four minutes to recant but one order she received the other morning. Most surprising to me was that the drink needed to be at a specific temperature. It’s a sensitive palate that can discern the difference between hot enough and 165 degrees.

I don’t even consider whether or not coffee itself tastes particularly good. Its role in my routine is to provide sheer comfort, and the mere thought of it is what gets me out of bed most days (even before thoughts about my dream life, which, according to 94.2% of social media posts, are supposed to get me out of bed).You can therefore imagine my horror when I realized a month or two ago that standard coffee was no longer agreeing with me. I switched to decaf–despite declaring not long ago and with very little shame that decaf is for losers. Add me to your group, all ye losers, and may you be awesome people.

Whether it’s the caffeine or the acidity of regular coffee, I’m not sure. What I am sure of is, I had to retire the habit. Because a morning spent jumpy and nauseous wasn’t compelling me to do any of the things on the road to the goals that were supposed to have me leaping out of bed before the sun comes up.

People, a thing has happened.

Many months ago, I purchased a one-serving size packet of Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee Mix. It was another one of those “this is supposed to be good so I’m going to get it and keep it at the front of the cupboard right next to the top-quality Vitamin D3 and Selenium I invested a fortune in but take only now and then. After all, having it in the house is one step above not having it in the house, which is akin to not caring at all.

Yes, this mushroom concoction has a smidge of instant coffee in it. But it also has ingredients called chaga and cordyceps, which sound equally dangerous and nutritious, likely because they’re hard to pronounce and, in my experience, most hard-to-pronounce ingestibles are either dangerous or nutritious. Sometimes both.

This morning, in a moment of extreme sadness over not having coffee on a crisp fall morning (it was a chilly 92 degrees in Phoenix when I awoke), I opened the cupboard, saw the little packet, and thought, “Well, why the hell not…”Honestly, “mushroom coffee mix” does not sound good. At all. One of the reasons I’ve kept this packet behind a cupboard door all this time is, I assumed I’d be drinking hot water with a smattering of dirt stirred in, and who the hell wants that? Maybe Darin Olien, but that’s about it.

I heated up my seven ounces of water and poured in the powdered brew, watching with curiosity tinged with a smattering of delight as it began developing a frothy top layer as I stirred. Cautiously, I bent over to take in the aroma, wondering whether it would send me (and the mug) right to the drain.

To my great surprise and joy, it smelled…good!

In the interest of full transparency, I did add some of my hazelnut almond milk creamer to it. I don’t know if that’s “allowed,” but it’s my house and my mushroom coffee, and I make the rules.The fact that this packet of magic has sat in my cupboard for seven weeks too long provides a multi-layered learning opportunity for us all.

✅ First, we all put off things that we think we won’t like but, in the end, we might like more than the routine we’ve been committed to for eons.

✅ Second, we make up stories about things we haven’t even tried because doing so allows us to stay committed to something else. We believe that there is no way this new thing can be better than what we’ve become used to. We like our comfortable habits—even when they make us uncomfortable (i.e., dizzy and afraid to leave the house).

✅ Third, mushrooms in a beverage can taste good.The only problems are, the package says I can only have one per day. Is too much chaga or cordyceps extract perhaps dangerous? Also, there isn’t a Four Sigmatic pop-up within three miles of my house, and I’ll have to travel to Finland to meet the team and learn more about their backstory.

But maybe that’s not really a problem after all.

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