Huge tea lovers are probably familiar with the different kinds of tea worldwide. While most of us only know those we see in cafes and restaurants, there are far more kinds and flavors we have yet to encounter.
One of the unique kinds you have probably heard of is chaga tea. But since it is less readily available than other famous teas, you might wonder what it is and what it tastes like. We will discuss everything you know about this healthy and beneficial tea and why you should start taking them.
What is Chaga Tea?
Chaga tea is made from chaga mushrooms that have been dried and milled to make tea. Also known as Cinder Conk or Black Mass, the chaga mushroom feeds on birch trees and is native to the forests of Europe, Russia, and North America. Chaga mushrooms can be grounded in different sizes, offering different brewing options. (Read What Does Irish Cream Taste Like)
What Does Chaga Tea Taste Like?
For starters, chaga mushrooms don’t taste like those sold in stores. Chaga mushroom has a plant metabolite called vanillin, which exists in vanilla beans and is commonly used to make synthetic vanilla extract. It is because of this flavoring agent that gives chaga tea a mild, earthy taste. Chaga tea tastes slightly bitter with a hint of vanilla.
Benefits of Chaga Tea
In case you didn’t know, chaga tea is considered the king of medicinal mushrooms because of its health benefits. According to WebMD, here are some reasons why you should drink chaga tea:
Prevents and Helps Fight Cancer
Several studies said that chaga could prevent cancer and slow tumor growth because of the substances in chaga mushrooms. One study showed that a chaga extract made into tea prevented the development of colon cancer cells.
Strengthens Immune System
You can also boost your immune system by drinking chaga tea apart from regularly eating fruits and vegetables and drinking multivitamins. The Beta-D glucans found in chaga mushrooms balance the immune system; it can help boost it and regulate it when it’s overactive.
Cytokines in our body are responsible for inflammation. Since chaga mushrooms have compounds such as betulinic acid, inotodial, and ergosterol peroxide that can inhibit cytokine production, it helps reduce inflammation.
Protects Our Livers and Intestines
Chaga mushrooms have high amounts of polyphenols, which are antioxidants. It helps against free radicals that can damage our liver and other organs. Moreover, the substances found in chaga mushrooms can also prevent stomach ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria.
Lowers Blood Sugar, Cholesterol, and Blood Pressure
Drinking a cup of chaga tea daily can help if you suffer from high cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. It is because chaga mushrooms have polysaccharides proven to reduce bad cholesterol and antioxidants that help lower blood pressure. It is also said that the beta-D glucans found in the mushroom that helps manage our immune system can also regulate blood sugar levels. (Read What Does The Pink Drink Taste Like)
Different Chaga Mushroom Grind for Your Tea
Like coffee, chaga mushroom is also available in different grinds that you can use for your tea. Choosing the right grind will help you achieve the kind of chaga tea you want to drink:
Tea-Cut is the standard grind for chaga tea. You can brew it in a water pot or a teapot with an infuser basket. If you will pick this grind, make sure you steep it for no less than 10 minutes up to a maximum of 5 hours.
As its name suggests, chaga chunks are large chaga mushrooms ground into chunks. It is usually used to make large batches of chaga tea, which is steeped overnight. You can extract it for up to 12 hours and more, depending on how concentrated you want your tea.
Chaga mushroom powder is typically used to make a single serving cup of tea, soups, and sauces. You can directly add the powdered chaga, like instant coffee, for your daily quick brew.
How to Make Chaga Tea
How you prepare your chaga tea depends on the grind you’ll be using. Chaga powder is the most commonly used grind since you can easily make it. Here’s an easy way you can make one at home:
1 tbsp of chaga powder
- Prepare your cup or mug along with your infuser or filter. You can also use a small filter if you don’t have either.
- Place the infuser on your mug and add the chaga.
- Pour your boiling water into the chaga.
- Let it steep for 5 to 10 minutes before removing the infuser.
- You can add milk, sweetener, and other spices depending on how you want your tea to taste. Enjoy!
Should You Avoid Chaga Tea?
While chaga tea is generally safe, certain conditions should avoid drinking it to prevent making it worse:
People who have bleeding disorders
Chaga mushrooms that come from birch trees are known to affect blood clotting. So if you have a bleeding disorder, you should avoid it since it can affect your blood clotting capabilities to operate at optimum level. (Read Teaspoons Per Cup Of Coffee)
People on anti-diabetes medication
Diabetic medications mixed with chaga mushrooms can increase the risk of hypoglycemia. Since chaga and anti-diabetes medication lower blood sugar, it can deplete your sugar levels below their normal range.
People who are prone to kidney stones
One study showed that a woman was diagnosed with oxalate nephropathy after consuming chaga tea for six months. While no other studies further proved this, you might want to regulate your chaga tea intake if you are diagnosed with kidney disease.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women
No studies prove chaga tea can be bad for pregnant and breastfeeding moms, but it’s always best to consult your doctor before drinking it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does chaga mushroom taste like?
Chaga mushroom doesn’t have a taste compared to other mushroom varieties.
What does chaga mushroom tea taste like?
Chaga mushroom tea generally tastes slightly bitter with a hint of vanilla. Depending on how it’s brewed, the higher the concentration of chaga mushroom, the stronger it tastes.
Why do some chaga mushrooms taste more bitter than others?
The bitterness of chaga mushroom depends on where and when it is harvested. Chaga harvested from Birch trees and during autumn tends to be less bitter than chaga harvested from other trees and seasons.
How to properly store chaga?
If you have a chaga mushroom, store it in an airtight container and keep it in a cool, dry place. As for chaga powder and chaga chunks, ensure it isn’t exposed to air and direct sunlight because it can alter their smell and taste.
How to make chaga tea flavorful?
If the chaga tastes too bitter, add spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves to make your tea flavorful. You can also use sugar, milk, and other sweeteners like maple syrup and honey to make it sweeter. (Read How Long Should I Microwave Water For Tea)
Chaga might not be everyone’s cup of tea because of its earthy and somewhat bitter taste, but it won’t hurt if you try it! You can modify it according to your taste and combine chaga with your favorite sweeteners and spices. It might be your next go-to drink!