Chaga tea is by far the most consumed form of Inonotus obliquus mushroom. The raw black chunks of Chaga mushrooms can be soaked in hot water (similar to the commercial process of hot water extraction). All the water-soluble bioactive compounds, such as beta-glucans and polyphenols, will be extracted into the water. This can then be enjoyed as a tea.
The flavor of Chaga tea is unique, unlike any other medicinal mushrooms you have tried so far. Although Chaga's tea taste is hard to describe, most people agree that it has a distinct earthy flavor, with even a hint of bitterness.
Now, if you are worried about not liking the taste, we will give you little tricks and tips about things that you can add to make the tea even more delicious. So, keep reading this article to know all about Chaga tea, including its benefits and how it makes you feel.
What Does Chaga Mushroom Tea Taste Like?
Chaga mushroom does not taste like a typical mushroom purchased from the grocery store. Instead, the mushroom tea has an earthy, slightly bitter flavor. This is because it contains a plant metabolite called vanillin which also occurs naturally in vanilla beans. This gives Chaga its mild earthy taste with a hint of bitterness from vanillin.
The taste of Chaga tea also depends on the concentration. The higher the concentration of the mushroom in the tea, the stronger it will taste.
When enjoying medicinal mushrooms, we want recipes that make us appreciate the products. However, even in cases where the taste is not too pleasing, we tend to forego the taste to enjoy the benefits.
The good news, however, is that you do not have to suffer through the taste of this fungus to enjoy the health benefits of Chaga. You can enjoy the antioxidants, immune system boost, and more without having to deal with the woodsy taste of Chaga.
However, how do you do this? We show you how to do it below!
How Do You Make Chaga Tea Taste Better?
The taste of Chaga tea is not a universally loved flavor and may not appeal to everyone. If the taste of Chaga tea is not to your liking, you can make Chaga Mushroom tea in ways where the flavor is less potent. This way, you won't have to worry about an unappealing taste when using Chaga tea for weight loss.
Like coffee, you can add sugar and dairy to make the drink taste sweeter and milder. Alternatively, when using Chaga tea for blood pressure, you can add the following to change up the taste:
- Maple syrup.
- Birch syrup.
- Unsalted butter.
Instant coffee powder can also be added to Chaga tea. You can test various ratios of coffee and Chaga tea until you find it according to your taste.
Keep in mind that you do not have to worry about consuming too much caffeine when you combine Chaga and coffee—after all, Chaga does not have caffeine.
Additionally, you can combine Chaga with other herbs and spices (like cinnamon and turmeric), bone broth, or smoothies.
If your Chaga tastes like dirt or has any strong flavor, it is most likely contaminated by microbes or has significant amounts of bark or wood (or some other additive) included in your tea.
Factors Influencing Chaga Tea Taste
Several factors determine the taste of Chaga mushroom tea (especially those made from wild-harvested mushrooms). For this reason, if you know how to identify Chaga and harvest it, you may have some control over its taste.
Now, for those mushroom foragers making Chaga tea from their wild harvests, here are some tips for you!
Time Of Harvest
Chaga mushrooms grow on Birch trees, and the best time to harvest is during the fall months around Autumn. So now you might be wondering what this has to do with the Chaga mushroom taste.
The trees go dormant in the winter; in response to this, the Chaga mushroom stores more nutrients than usual. Therefore, when Chaga is harvested during this time, the mushroom will be nutrient-rich, affecting the flavor.
While we are not saying that the mushroom will be sweet, caramel, or nutty when you harvest it during the fall, we are telling you that the taste of the mushroom species will be more impressive, and you will enjoy more health benefits. The best Chaga mushroom powder is often manufactured from Chaga harvested in the fall.
Before making your powdered Chaga, ensure that you clean the mushroom thoroughly. If the mushroom is clean enough before using the Chaga powder or Chaga extract to make your tea, you will enjoy a unique taste.
Cleaning will take care of microbes and will prevent you from getting any unwanted extra flavoring in your tea. Also, cut away any bits of tree bark that come with the mushroom, as this will give your tea a dirt-like taste!
Even as you consume Chaga, properly store the Chaga harvested in the golden fall months. Leaving your Chaga chunks or powder exposed in your kitchen will cause it to attract external smells and flavors. Also, make sure you store your Chaga away from coffee, as it has a strong aroma.
The best way to store the mushroom is in an air-tight container or a cloth bag (this will allow it to breathe). Regardless, do not forget to keep it in a cool, dry, dark place.
Remember that you must keep the mushroom 100% dry. If water gets in your powder, it will encourage mold growth, which will destroy your Chaga powder. Anyone who knows how to use Chaga mushroom powder would tell you to throw away moldy powder as soon as possible—in addition to having a bad taste, moldy Chaga could harm your health.
When consuming Chaga, it is recommended to finish the mushroom powder within 12 months. This is because this mushroom that grows on white or golden birch trees tends to lose its nutrients and taste over time.
So, if you are still using the same powder one year later, you will probably not enjoy the maximum benefits from the mushroom. However, if you have too much golden birch tree mushroom powder in the house, you can take advantage of the Chaga benefits for dogs. This will allow you to finish the powder before it losses all its value.
What Is Chaga Tea Good For?
Drinking Chaga tea has many health benefits(1). The king of medicinal mushrooms is renowned for its following health-boosting effects:
- Immune-modulating properties
- It helps combat inflammation and oxidative stress
- Has antimicrobial properties
- Lowers blood cholesterol and sugar levels
- Chaga offers skin benefits, assisting users in fighting common skin problems
- Chaga prevents and treats cancer, with the mushroom products helping with all types of cancer
One of the most popular reasons to drink Chaga tea is to sleep like a baby. So drinking a hot cup of this mushroom tea right before bed will help you get a night of good sleep.
Who Should Not Drink Chaga Tea?
Although Chaga is generally considered safe for consumption, those with the following conditions should avoid Chaga tea:
- Bleeding disorder.
- On anti-diabetes medication.
- Prone to kidney stones.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Below, we will look deeper at why you may want to avoid Chaga mushroom if you have the above issues:
The mushroom from birch trees is known to affect blood clotting. It tends to interfere with platelet aggregation, slowing down blood clotting.
People with bleeding disorders need blood clotting capabilities to operate at optimum levels. This, however, is generally made impossible by Chaga.
In addition to people with bleeding disorders, people using anti-clotting medications may also want to avoid using Chaga mushroom powder. This is because the mushroom will tend to compound the anti-clotting effect of the medicines. This could increase the risk of bleeding.
Chaga mushroom treats diabetes—for this reason, it is not entirely bad for diabetic people to take the mushroom. However, if diabetic people also take diabetic medications, the risk of hypoglycemia increases.
Taking Chaga and anti-diabetic medications can be equated to taking two medications for the same problem. Chaga and the medications can lower the blood sugar levels below the normal range—if hypoglycemia is not addressed quickly, it can put you in a coma and even increase the risk of death.
Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women
It is imperative for breastfeeding and pregnant women to be careful about everything they put in their bodies. While they may be able to handle Chaga and its bioactive compounds, the mushroom may be too heavy for the baby.
However, this does not mean it is 100% unsafe for pregnant and breastfeeding women to take Chaga. If you are pregnant or currently breastfeeding and still want to enjoy the hair benefits of Chaga, you can always discuss the possibility of using the mushroom with your doctor.
The doctor can test you to determine whether the mushroom will be safe for you. Also, the doctor may help you determine the best Chaga dosage for you while pregnant or breastfeeding.
People Prone to Kidney Stones
Chaga mushroom has been shown to increase the risk of kidney stones. One research study conducted in 2014(2) determined that a woman was diagnosed with oxalate nephropathy after consuming Chaga for six months. Therefore, to avoid the risk of kidney damage, it would be a good idea to avoid consuming Chaga if you have a high risk of kidney stones.
How Does Chaga Tea Make You Feel?
Chaga mushroom helps your body calm down and adapt to stress after a long day. This is why Chaga tea is best consumed before bed at night. This will ensure you get a night of great sleep and are well rested for the next day.
Chaga mushroom has an earthy taste with a hint of bitterness. But if this is not suited to your taste, you can try mixing it up with several other ingredients. So now that you know what Chaga tea tastes like, grab your cup and enjoy its benefits!
Do you drink Chaga tea? If so, do you enjoy its natural taste or use a sweetener? Let us know in the comment section.