Food fads in the social media age are inevitable and this time it’s coffee’s turn to get a makeover. Thanks to a new superfood company called Four Sigmatic, everyone from athletes to models are all about adding a double-extracted mushroom powder to your brew.
Sure, at first read, it might sound unbelievable that a food you’ve had access to all along has such power, but not when you look at the endless positive studies and how other societies have and continue use them: They’re used daily in Asia, and have been used for centuries in Slavic countries for their proven ability to increase energy, fight tumors and support immunity. Ancient Romans actually used to refer to them as the “Food of the Gods.”
The powders listed on Four Sigmatic’s website are divided into, you guessed it, four options: (1) Reishi for better sleep, relaxation and fighting sickness; (2) Chaga for skin, hair and stress management; (3) Lion’s Mane for memory, concentration and digestion; and (4) Cordyceps for athletic performance, energy, sexual performance and libido. “That said, proceed with caution,” Four Sigmatic founder, Tero Isokauppila, jokes.
Isokauppila is a Finnish-born, LA-based 13th-generation farmer who grew up foraging with his mother and later studied plant-based nutrition and chemistry at Cornell University. He credits a steady diet of mushrooms for keeping him from being sick for over a decade and also mentions that he naps on a mat made from nails, a modern form of acupressure, that helps him stay energized. Just like his product, Isokauppila is eccentric, but that seems to be what today’s consumers are into – going beyond the normal prescription medications and doctor’s visits in hopes maintaining a their youth. That’s why Moon Juice is an entrepreneurial force and kombucha is in such high demand it is even available in some gas stations now. Really, it’s not much of a surprise that just four years after its launch, Four Sigmatic’s retail products have spread to 55 countries and currently beat out the cold brew category in Amazon sales.
Four Sigmatic has become so popular, that it now has a brick and mortar location in the pseudo-hippie haven known as Venice, CA. Nestled in the Abbott Kinney enclave–betweenice cream shops, clothing boutiques and artisanal stores–is the world’s first ever mushroom coffee shop, The Shroom Room. Packets of mushroom coffee can be ordered to go with mild Central American Arabica beans. There’s also mushroom hot cocoa and a mushroom smoothie enhancer said to better sleep and boost brainpower and energy. Ceramic mushroom mugs and ninja pants line the shelves atop mushroom stools. While it’s all a bit gimmicky to the naked eye, Isokauppila opened the shop in a sincere effort to promote community inspired by his forest-covered birthplace. The staff is friendly—like genuinely friendly—and eager to tell customers about how mushroom can alter their daily lives.
In case you can’t make it to southern California, Isokauppilia also has a book called Healing Mushrooms: A Practical and Culinary Guide to Using Mushrooms for Whole Body Health (Penguin Random House). It’s got an average of 5 stars from 145 customer reviews and yes, as the title suggests, it too is all about his favorite fungus, with tips and a guide to the ten specific types of mushrooms that enhance whole-body health and sustain wellness. It also includes 50 recipes for mushroom-heavy salads, soups, cake and even bacon.
Obviously, Isokauppilia is mushroom obsessed, and his staff is mushroom obsessed too. Some could say maybe a bit too obsessed, but talk to anyone of them and we dare you to not at least question why you haven’t invested in some Reishi powder sooner. At the very least, we suggest you don’t knock it until you try it. The results of fungi consumption just might astonish you.