Four Sigmatic (before an early 2016 rebrand, known as Four Sigma Foods) produces a variety of health and nootropic products based around “superfood” mushrooms. One such product is their Mushroom Coffee with Lion’s Mane, which combines instant coffee and rhodiola with chaga and Lion’s Mane mushroom extracts. (Read our review of their cordyceps coffee here.)
Four Sigmatic bills this form of their instant coffee as a productivity boosters with adaptogenic properties. Read on to see if it lived up to the manufacturer’s claims.
Instant Coffee Powder – 40 mg caffeine
Caffeine doesn’t so much provide the brain/body with energy as it reduces fatigue. Caffeine actually reduces drowsiness and sedation by inhibiting adenosine (a nervous system depressant) from reaching receptors in the brain. There are extensive studies on the effects of caffeine on cognition, alertness, and athletic performance.
Siberian Chaga Mushroom Dual Extract (Inonotus obliquus) – 250 mg
The Chaga mushroom has been used extensively in both Ayurvedic and traditional medicine. The extract is typically prescribed for its diuretic and potentially anti-cancer properties. Four Sigmatic claims the highly alkaline mushroom also helps neutralize some of coffee’s natural acidity and bitterness, resulting in a smoother taste along with increased anti-oxidants properties.
Chaga mushrooms have been used in the past as replacement for coffee during times when it’s in short supply, so it’s not a big surprise that the two could be paired as far as flavor profile.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Dual Extract (Yamabushitake) – 250 mg
A dietary mushroom that is now being studied for potentially significant cognitive benefits, Lion’s Mane mushroom may act by increasing nerve growth factor by acting on mRNA. It may also promote the growth of myelin, the protective sheath around nerve fibers that helps conduct impulses between neurons. It may also be neuroprotective in that it could reduce the death rate of certain neurons. In another human study, it was also linked with reduced anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Overall, the current clinical research on Lion’s Mane suggests its potential as a powerful neuroprotective and protector against cognitive decline, but only when taken consistently and in doses much higher than what’s available in Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Coffee with Lion’s Mane. However, it’s unknown at this point what the minimum effective dose is for this supplement.
Wild Tibetan Rhodiola Extract (water and ethanol extract) – 100 mg
A noted adaptogen with few (if any) noted side effects, rhodiola is an herbal extract shown to boost physical and mental endurance while reducing the perceived symptoms of stress. Rhodiola fights fatigue, and there’s some anecdotal evidence it boost the effects of stimulants like coffee. Generally, a very large amount of rhodiola (over 600 mg) does not seem to boost the ingredient’s effects and may actually reduce them; with rhodiola, less may in fact be more for some users, and some clinical studies have seen effectiveness at doses under 100mg. It’s also a headlining ingredient in stimulant-free stacks like RISE by Nootrobox.
Several of our BrainWiz testers enjoy pairing rhodiola with coffee for a cognitive and energy boost. While several supplements we’ve reviewed include a rhodiola-caffeine pairing, including Neurorise, this is the first coffee product we’ve seen with the herb included.
Add one packet to 7fl oz of hot water or blend into your favorite smoothie.
What Our Testers Say
“This coffee is very mildly caffeinated (Four Sigmatic says it has about half the caffeine of normal coffee), and when I tried their Cordyceps blend, I actually ended up mixing it with cold brew to get more caffeine. But after trying this version, I felt a bit more in the sense of sustained energy, or at least less fatigue throughout the day than I normally do. The effect was somewhat similar to their Cordyceps coffee, but moreso. It’s also a convenient way to get rhodiola and coffee in one supplement, which is something I normally combine on my own up to twice a day.”
“I’ve played around with the best way to mix Four Sigmatic’s blends, and I’ve settled on putting them in protein shakes. I felt less of an energy boost than with the cordyceps version, but this one definitely kept me calm after I took it. The taste seemed similar to their other mushroom coffees, if you don’t like earthy tastes, may not be the best option for you.”
“I have a fairly low caffeine tolerance, and I enjoyed this lightly caffeinated coffee about as much as Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Coffee with Cordyceps (which is to say, a significant amount). I’ve been taking Rhodiola for years, and I’ve learned it doesn’t take much to give me an added sense of calm in the face of stress. Overall, this blend worked well for me. It’s not the tastiest drink to start the day, but when paired with breakfast, which I always try to do on the occasions when I drink coffee, I really liked this blend. The packets are also really convenient for travel, I’m tossing a few in my toiletries bag for work trips.”
“I didn’t experience any energy boost from this, but I like the taste (not very acidic, so good for the first cup in the morning). It’d be a solid option to keep at my desk when I don’t have time to run out for coffee, but I might experiment with taking two packets at once.”
- Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Coffees mix well with both cold and hot liquids.
- This is a mild coffee that tastes far less acidic than most others we’ve tried.
- Has a slightly earthy taste.
- Four Sigmatic’s mushroom coffees are vegan and Non-GMO.
- A convenient option for travel with the portable, single-serving packs.
- A few of our testers experimented with mixing this into shakes and other drinks (which Four Sigmatic recommends trying). It was a welcome addition to vanilla or chocolate protein shakes as far as taste, texture, and effect.
- Like their other mushroom coffees, the taste is mild. Our testers had success mixing it with less water for a stronger taste.
- This supplement contains about half the caffeine as a regular cup of coffee, making this a potentially solid option for those sensitive to caffeine or other stimulants.
Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Coffee with Lion’s Mane was generally well received by our testers, who appreciated its mild taste and calming effect. While we’re slightly skeptical this amount of Lion’s Mane can significantly boost cognition with one serving, we enjoyed the rhodiola-caffeine pairing for a stress-fighting combo. We recommend new users experiment with various ways to mix or prepare this coffee, including protein shakes and both hot and cold preparations.
For its cost and ingredient profile, Mushroom Coffee with Lion’s Mane provides solid value for its cost-per-serving in a travel-friendly and convenient delivery system.