Are you looking for a coffee alternative? Considering MUD\WTR?
You’re not alone.
Any time people overindulge in a product, it tends to come under scrutiny. Such is the case with coffee, as it has become one of the most popular drinks in the world.
Decades-old research linked excess consumption of coffee to negative side effects, more recent studies indicate that coffee provides numerous benefits and is far more healthful than harmful. That’s not to say coffee doesn’t have certain drawbacks, including the potential for anxiety, accelerated heart rate, sleep disruptions, dependency, and digestive issues. In addition, certain people are more at risk, such as those with severe hypertension, anxiety disorders, and pregnant women.
As with any vast market segment, innovators and entrepreneurs will seek “a better mousetrap” to garner share and generate revenues. The coffee market certainly qualifies, with over 400 million cups consumed daily in the U.S. and a worldwide volume of $500 billion annually.
Enter the mushroom coffee alternatives that have exploded onto the scene, promising all the benefits of coffee without the adverse effects – no jitters, anxiety, or crashes (and it’s easier on the stomach).
This article compares regular coffee with one such alternative, MUD\WTR (pronounced mud water), and explains the benefits of each.
MUD\WTR vs. Coffee: About the Products
The origin of coffee dates to the 15th century in Arabia. Today there are an almost endless variety of coffee drinks, from black coffee to espresso, lattes, cappuccinos, mochas and macchiatos, Americanos, and more. That’s before we discuss blends and roasts, dark roast, medium roast, or decaffeinated coffee.
For our purposes, we’re comparing a basic black coffee sans heavy added sugar, cream, flavorings, or syrups, which can nutritionally transport your healthy cup into something more akin to a decadent dessert.
For an alternative, we’ve selected MUD\WTR, an all-organic blend of masala tea with adaptogenic mushrooms, spices, cacao, and Himalayan salt.
The co-founder and CEO of MUD\WTR is Shane Heath. After years of sixty-hour work weeks and a three-to-four cup-a-day coffee habit that caused jitters and anxiety Heath discovered masala chai tea while on a surf and artist sabbatical in India. To address his challenges with coffee Heath created his unique blend and is now sharing it with the world. He refers to MUD\WTR as your “new morning ritual” that helps get you energized, focused, alert, and in a good mood with no coffee-induced negatives. Savvy advertising, marketing, and sales strategies have supported scaling this direct-to-consumer online company rapidly.
MUD\WTR vs. Coffee: Considerations
Keep reading as we compare coffee and MUD\WTR using a few different criteria. We will discuss the health benefits, nutritional considerations, costs, and more.
Coffee, tea, and mushrooms each have fantastic health benefits, which we review in detail later.
Coffee, with its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifibrotic, and anticancer effects, is associated with reduced all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, per the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information).
Masala tea (one of the main ingredients in MUD\WTR) has antioxidant properties and may improve heart health and digestion, support the immune system, and provide energy. It may also aid in weight loss. Medicinal mushrooms such as the lion’s mane, cordyceps, chaga, and Reishi in MUD\WTR are also antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, these adaptogenic mushrooms are antimicrobials, anti-tumor, and a source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols.
MUD\WTR gets a slight edge in health benefits with its combination of masala tea and mushrooms; however, although positioned as a coffee alternative, it does not contain coffee.
More on this later, as MUD\WTR has a lot of ingredients to analyze.
Below is a comparison of MUD\WTR, with no additives, versus a cup of black coffee from a nutritional fact perspective.
|MUD\WTR||Coffee (no added milk or sugar)|
|Total Fat||.5 gm||0|
|Sodium||10 mg||4.8 mg|
|Total Carbohydrates||4 gm||0|
|Dietary Fiber||1 gm||0|
|Total Sugar||0 gm||0|
|Protein||< 1 gm||.3|
|Potassium||110 mg||118 mg|
Black coffee is a slightly better option nutritionally, with fewer calories and no carbohydrates. As previously stated, don’t get carried away with the add-ins, or you will skew this comparison. For example, a 20-ounce Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino has 500 calories and 79 grams of sugar.
Cost Comparison – MUD\WTR vs. Coffee
Cost becomes a serious point of difference in our comparison.
MUD\WTR is available on the company’s website at $40 for the heavily promoted “Starter Kit.” The kit includes a thirty-day serving, a free rechargeable frother, a guidebook, a free sticker, and sample sizes of the company’s creamer and sweetener. Shipping is free in the U.S.
Refills are available at $40 for a 30-serving container when purchased through a subscription model ($1.33/serving) and $50 when purchased one time ($1.67/serving).
Coffee prices vary based on form, brand, and quality. Generally, you may expect to pay the following:
- $0.40-$0.70/cup for Keurig K-Cups
- $0.20-$0.40/cup for homemade coffee from grounds
Coffee is the clear winner when it comes to price. Even premium mushroom coffee such as Four Sigmatic ends up being cheaper than MUD\WTR.
Of course, this is not a true “apples-to-apples” comparison, as coffee is a single-ingredient beverage and MUD\WTR contains a range of healthy ingredients. Thus, a price premium is expected for MUD\WTR.
Taste – MUD\WTR vs. Coffee
Taste is so subjective we did not declare a preference.
You probably know what coffee tastes like, as you are reading this comparison.
MUD\WTR has a unique taste that is similar to chai.
Reviews of MUD\WTR run the gamut from people who love the taste and texture and can’t live without it to those who think it tastes like river water. Mixability was another concern for some users, with residual “powder/sludge” in the bottom of their cups.
MUD\WTR vs. Coffee: The Scorecard
As mentioned, coffee may have a slight advantage with better nutrition facts at a significantly lower cost and more convenient to access.
MUD\WTR vs. Coffee: Research, Formulation, and Go to Market Strategies
To inform our decision, we conducted a significant amount of research and provide an overview of the NCBI’s exhaustive review of studies on the health benefits of coffee. For balance, we reviewed MUD\WTR’s formulation and the benefits of each compound in the product. Finally, we look at the advertising and marketing strategies employed by MUD\WTR’s CEO, Shane Heath, and his corporate philosophies. Obviously, comparing a single product to an entire category, especially one as established as coffee, is difficult with the potential for bias. We applaud Mr. Heath’s objective of bringing a healthier alternative to those with coffee intolerances.
Research – Beneficial Health Outcomes of Coffee Consumption
In addition to the apparent energy boost, focus, and clarity, coffee has more significant benefits. To quote the NCBI’s exhaustive review of research studies on coffee and its health benefits:
“Coffee consumption was more often associated with benefit than harm for a range of health outcomes across exposures including high versus low, any versus none, and one extra cup a day.”
Further, the review found no evidence of harmful associations from coffee consumption – except those related to pregnancy and the risk of bone fractures in older women.
Additional highlights of the report:
- Consumption was consistently associated with a lower risk of mortality from all causes of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and stroke – the most significant reduction in risk at three cups a day.
- Higher coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of numerous types of cancer.
- Consumption is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
- Coffee may also benefit the performance and endurance of athletes.
In its summary, the report concluded that coffee consumption contributes more daily antioxidants than fruits, vegetables, and tea. In fact, coffee is the single largest source of antioxidants in the diet.
MUD\WTR Ingredients & Benefits
Mushroom coffee alternatives promise to provide the same natural energy and focus as coffee, yet are easier to digest without the jitters, crash, or sleep disruptions. Although referred to as mushroom coffees, current brands might include chai tea, matcha, Yerba Mate, cacao, herbal teas, or chicory instead of coffee beans in their blends. Some brands go even further, including pre-and probiotics in their formulations.
To be clear, Mr. Heath’s MUD\WTR is a coffee substitute, not a mushroom coffee, as it is a blend of medicinal mushrooms, masala chai tea, cacao, spices, and Himalayan Pink Salt. With only about 30 mg of caffeine per serving, MUD\WTR is formulated to deliver natural energy and focus, plus added health benefits, without the risks associated with coffee. Per the website, the taste is akin to coffee, yet earthy and mildly spicy, with a hint of chocolate from the cacao. The recommended serving size is one 6-gram tablespoon.
Benefits of the MUD\WTR Formulation
In addition to medicinal, adaptogenic mushrooms being antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-tumor, they are a prebiotic fiber source that supports the gut’s healthy bacteria. Four varieties are featured in MUD\WTR; all compounds are certified USDA organic.
Lion’s Mane – A culinary and medicinal mushroom with adaptogenic (relieves stress and anxiety), cognitive (improves memory and focus), and digestive benefits.
Cordyceps Mushrooms – Used in traditional Chinese medicine, this medicinal mushroom provides energy, stamina, and endurance. The cordyceps also help support the immune function.
Chaga Mushrooms – Best known for its prebiotic components to support a balanced microbiome, it also supports the immune system as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral.
Reishi Mushrooms – Considered a superfood mushroom that has been used for centuries in traditional Eastern medicine. Reishi is a prebiotic that provides immune support, energy, and cognition. In addition, it is an adaptogenic for stress relief, with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
The other ingredients in MUD\WTR also confer health benefits as follows:
Organic Black Tea – Black tea contains more caffeine than other teas, yet less than coffee. It includes two potent antioxidants with anti-inflammatory effects: polyphenols and flavonoids. Health benefits include heart health, reduced LDL “bad” cholesterol, less risk of stroke, and digestive health.
Organic Spice Blend – This blend consists of cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper, and cloves. Cinnamon and ginger are known to lower blood pressure and reduce bad cholesterol. Turmeric is a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Black Pepper may aid absorption and weight loss, while cloves and cardamom have antibacterial properties that prevent digestive issues.
Organic Cacao – The cacao seeds that provide a hint of chocolate flavor are also antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
Himalayan Pink Salt – This essential mineral supports hydration.
MUD\WTR is non-GMO, Keto-friendly, Kosher, vegan, gluten and sugar-free, in addition to being USDA Organic certified.
In Conclusion: MUD\WTR vs. Coffee
There is no clear winner when comparing MUD\WTR and coffee. Both products cater to different groups of customers. We recommend trying both to see which you prefer, as, ultimately, the choice may come down to preference.
Based on our analysis, we can say MUD\WTR is better for:
- People who want to get a daily dose of functional mushrooms
- People who prefer the taste of chai/tea to coffee
- People who are sensitive to caffeine (or want to lower their daily intake)
Coffee is a better choice for:
- People who are cost-sensitive and prefer a more affordable energy boost
- People who want to avoid calories (i.e. intermittent fasters, people on diets, etc.)
- People who prefer the taste of coffee and have no interest in cutting back on caffeine