What is a Chagaccino? A chagaccino is an earthy variation on the cappuccino, a milk and espresso drink infused with chaga mushrooms, which grow wild on the side of birch trees. Chaga mushrooms are believed to be both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and are typically consumed in powdered form mixed into a hot beverage like coffee or tea. Chaga is also categorized as an adaptogen, meaning it is thought to help our bodies restore balance, focus, and calm.

Like all supplements, you will see varying claims about chaga’s powers depending on which sources you consult. And like all supplements, you should bring a healthy dose of skepticism to the table with anything that promises things like stress relief and anti-aging benefits with no side effects.

Does a chagaccino always have coffee in it?

Chaga on its own is considered an acquired taste, so many enjoy its potential benefits dressed up in coffee. A typical chagaccino will contain chaga powder and espresso, along with steamed milk (or plant-based equivalent), and spices like vanilla, cinnamon, and cocoa. It’s a way to mushroomify your health and have a treat all at the same time.

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Wait, I thought we DIDN’T want fungus in our coffee?

Though some microfungi are known to produce mycotoxins, those are specific toxigenic fungi (such as Aspergillus, Penicillium and Fusarium) and they are not the same as putting ground up chaga powder in your coffee.

My friendโ€™s cousin is a nurse and told me that these kinds of supplements can cause liver damage. Is that true?

Sprudge is not a doctor, but we do recommend speaking to one before adding any supplement to your diet. Even if it’s decorated up with cocoa and cinnamon in your favorite and most trusted cafe, it’s always a smart idea to check with your physician regarding any interactions it may have with your existing conditions or medications. Internet research or barista word-of-mouth isn’t always enough: you’re just as likely to find sources that say chaga inhibits liver cancer as studies warning of its dangers to the liver and kidneys and its effect on blood thinners and blood sugar.

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OK, I think I still want to try it but…can you taste the mushroom? What does a chagaccino taste like?

Chaga is said to have an earthy taste with a little bitterness, which is why a lot of coffee places add sweeteners and sweet spices to their drinks. (Of course, you could also just order a mocha.)

Where can I drink a chagaccino?

Loads of cafes have chagaccinos on their menu these days. You may need to look under specialty drinks, near the turmeric lattes and so on. Some folks may call this drink simply “mushroom coffee”, so try both if you’re searching the internet for a cup near you.

Can I make a chagaccino at home?

You certainly can! While many chagaccinos are made like cappuccinosโ€”with espresso and steamed milk or milk alternativeโ€”you can mix up any chaga/coffee combo at home using the chaga powder of your choice and coffee drink of your choice. Bear in mind you’ll probably still want to temper its fun-gal taste with honey, maple syrup, cinnamon, or even pumpkin spice mix.

Liz Clayton is the associate editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Liz Clayton on Sprudge.ย