Medicinal mushrooms like reishi or cordyceps are popular today, but they are not used yesterday, especially in Chinese medicine and in several other traditional medicines. In Quebec, many people have discovered in recent years chaga, a fungus that grows in our forests and that can be eaten like a latte. As a result, we find more and more by-products featuring these mushrooms: DavidsTea has marketed a chai herbal tea with chaga; at Machina SmartBar, in the Mile End, we suggest adding reishi mushrooms or cordyceps to their “Super Lattes”. This is without counting the medicinal mushroom powders which are more and more present on the market, like those of Mush Superfood, an Amsterdam company.
Combine coffee and mushrooms
Where MushUp sets itself apart is by incorporating medicinal mushroom extracts directly into the coffee beans. The two founders of the company, Maëva Costedoat and Rachèle Pouliot, are first coffee lovers and wanted to launch their small business in this very competitive sector. While thinking about their project, they left for Colombia to do an internship in herbalism and mycology. It was there that they discovered medicinal mushrooms. “We were really passionate about it! Medicinal mushrooms have virtues that have been used for thousands of years by other cultures, but not ours, ”says Maëva Costedoat, met at the vegan restaurant Tendresse. An idea was born: why not combine the two?
“By mixing mushrooms with coffee, we succeed in countering the harmful effects of caffeine, such as palpitations, while adding properties to the drink,” explains Maëva Costedoat.
A unique triple extraction
It was when the two women met the seasoned mycologist Geoffroy Renaud-Grignon that the project came to fruition. With him, the duo developed their extract recipes. “Our recipe is quite unique, because we are the only ones to do a triple extraction of the mushrooms, which allows us to extract all the active properties”, assures the one who was “disappointed” by the taste of the mushroom powders ( generally double extractions) offered on the market. According to the fungus, MushUp will combine alcohol and oil extractions, decoctions and calcinations, the final step to “fetch whatever is left”. Ultimately, the liquid extraction takes the form of an oil “very similar to natural coffee oil,” explains Maëva Costedoat, which is naturally absorbed by the coffee bean. “What we want is to offer people to integrate the consumption of mushrooms into their daily lives, to make it hyper accessible, without changing their habits. “
A local product
All of the mushrooms in MushUp coffee blends are organic, locally produced, harvested and processed – four of the five varieties (cordyceps, reishi, voriolus, and lion’s mane) grow in culture, in the lab, and chaga, which feeds on of white birch essence, is responsibly picked by seasoned pickers.
For its coffee beans, the company works with various Montreal roasters. “Our coffees don’t taste like mushrooms. We have done “reverse engineering”, starting with our mushroom extracts and then choosing a roasting that combines with the taste. Our extracts have a slightly sweet taste, which is reminiscent of cocoa, peanut butter, ”explains Maëva Costedoat. To have tasted them, we confirm: MushUp coffees taste… coffee!
MushUp currently offers three types of coffees, Vital, Spark and Vigor, infused with medicinal mushrooms. Each has its properties: the first would invigorate the immune system thanks to chaga and coriolus; the Spark would support the neurological system, would help concentration and improve memory thanks to the lion’s mane; as for Vigor, it would be particularly indicated for athletes who want to improve their performance and physical endurance thanks to cordyceps. All coffees contain reishi, nicknamed the “King of Mushrooms,” an adaptogenic mushroom widely used in Chinese medicine that is believed to help support the immune system, promote sleep and relieve anxiety.
If the virtues of medicinal mushrooms do not achieve consensus among the scientific community and it is obvious that some brands are riding the wave of the trend, some studies still tend to demonstrate their health benefits. “We have great testimonials from our customers who are feeling the effects, who have stopped drinking coffee and can drink MushUp! “, Enthuses for her part the young entrepreneur.
MushUp products are available online and at several points of sale in the Montreal area. You can also drink MushUp coffees at Tendresse, in the Village, and at Les Impertinentes, in the Mile End.