Tuesday 21 November 2017

Mushrooms in your coffee? It might not sound appealing but it could be good for you

Reishi growing at a tree (Getty)
Reishi growing at a tree (Getty)
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Milk? Sugar? Mushrooms...?

If the thoughts of drinking coffee infused with fungus doesn't make you want to reach for a cup of the black stuff, the apparent health benefits of the concoction might change your mind.

AOK Cafe owner Austin O'Keeffe was dubious himself until he travelled to a conference where the positive effects of Ganoderma in particular were touted.

"We said we'd try this coffee and took a couple of sachets away as samples," he told independent.ie.

"On the way home, at about 9pm that night, I felt energised and rejuvenated - and I slept soundly that night."

Several years later, Mr O'Keeffe is now a mentor to others who want to start a coffee business from home and is the first in Ireland to be awarded the title of Star Diamond Distributor by the company who supply the coffee.

The Malaysian firm DXN, whose main product is Ganoderma coffee, are expected to reach $1bn in global sales this year.

Mr O'Keeffe joined hundreds of speakers at Dublin's Citywest Convention Centre on Wednesday for the 4th National Food and Drink Conference.

Austin O'Keeffe
Austin O'Keeffe

Taking to the Commercial Kitchen Live stage, the independent distributor spoke about the health benefits of coffee and said that said that it is the key ingredient, the mushroom Ganoderma, that ensures DXN's coffee success.

Read more: Organic food start up Anu treated with top prize at Lion's Den pitching competition

"Although it's a mushroom, taste-wise you actually wouldn't notice the difference," he said.

"It's one of the most alkaline herbs, it actually neutralises the acidity of the coffee. But it also has a lot of health benefits, it helps the body rejuvenate and improve itself.

"While it gives you a more prolonged alert feeling than other brands of coffee, it has actually been proven to aid restful sleep also."

His ‘The Importance of a Bean In Earnest’ speech also touched on the significance of coffee historically.

"A number of historical events including the London Stock Exchange French resistance started in a coffee shop," he said.

"In 1789 Camille Demoulins debated with other patrons of the Cafe' Foy about what the colour for the potential revolution would be.  Afterwards, he jumped on the table and the cafe's customers got up and actually overthrew the French Aristocracy.

"This was the first sign of organised trading in marketable securities in London. Traders used to meet at Jonathan's Coffee House in Change Alley. At Jonathan's, the enterprising John Castaing posted a list of stock and commodity prices called "The Course of the Exchange and other things".

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