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I love a ritual. Something about a cozy habit punctuating each morning is so calming – plus, it’s nice to have a little act that keeps me on track.
I’ve always viewed my morning coffee as a ritual. I grew up in a caffeine-averse household and fear relying on it, so it’s more about making the warm drink – holding it, sipping it – versus really caring what’s inside. Perhaps that’s why I was so curious to try an adaptogen-infused alternative.
Coffee can be controversial, and several brands have popped up in the hopes of cleaning things up. They’ve packed their morning brews with popular adaptogens (plants and mushrooms that can help your body respond to stress, low energy, and fatigue) like ashwagandha, reishi and cordyceps in the hopes of supercharging your day.
I tried both Beam’s Super Latte and MUD\WTR’s :rise Cacao in the hopes of finding a new morning routine – and I succeeded. Here, meet my new morning ritual.
Beam Super Latte: Beam originally gained popularity for its Dream sleep powder (I’ve actually tried it – and let me tell you, that stuff works). The brand has expanded its focus to sleep and all day wellness, which is where its new Super Latte comes in. This coffee alternative launched in early 2024.
MUD\WTR :rise Cacao: One of the more well-known players in the alternative coffee space, MUD\WTR is an OG mushroom-infused brand. Here, I’ll be writing about the brand’s :rise Cacao blend, but it’s worth noting that MUD\WTR has several other blends like Matcha, Turmeric, and Rooibos.
Beam Super Latte: Beam’s Super Latte is made with a proprietary blend of natural adaptogens, nootropics, and mushrooms – I’m talking about everything from Lions Mane to Creatine, Theobromine, Huperzine-A, Cordyceps and Turkey Tail. I’ll get into the benefits of all of these goodies below, but in addition to applauding what’s in this blend, it’s worth noting that it’s made without a lot of caffeine (in fact, it only contains ⅓ of the amount of a regular cup of coffee).
MUD\WTR :rise Cacao: This ingredient list is pretty similar – this blend contains Lion’s Mane, Chaga, Reishi, and Cordyceps (in addition to cacao, cinnamon, sea salt, turmeric and chai). It also only has ⅓ of the caffeine of a cup of coffee – on paper, it looks pretty similar to Beam’s blend.
Beam Super Latte: Each set of ingredients has been carefully selected to supercharge your morning. Lion's Mane to Creatine offer memory and cognitive health support*, Theobromine and Huperzine-A provide sustained energy and a cognitive boost*, and Cordyceps and Turkey Tail were chosen for stamina, fatigue, and stress support.* I won’t lie: I can’t claim to feel each and every one of these benefits, but I can tell you that I definitely feel dialed in after sipping this – and it’s the type of dialed in where I look up and realize it’s already 3pm. My day goes by quickly, and I no longer feel that midday crash.
MUD\WTR :rise Cacao: While the exact ingredients aren’t the same, the benefits the brand offers are similar – Lion’s Mane offers focus, Chaga and Reishi support a healthy immune system, and Cordyceps promotes natural energy. Analyzing :rise’s benefits is a bit trickier (and I’ll explain why below), but I haven’t felt quite as energized from it because I have a harder time finishing this drink. It probably offers more benefits than I’ve reaped, but that’s because the drink often goes cold (and subsequently tossed down the drain) before I’m able to finish it. I typically find myself reaching for an iced matcha or kombucha by mid-day to amp me up.
Beam Super Latte: These products appear pretty similar from the outside, but here’s where things get really different. This stuff tastes amazing, which shouldn’t come as a surprise – the Dream powder is available in a bunch of flavors, and they’re all delicious. All you have to do is mix this powder with water, and it tastes like a creamy coffee shop latte. I prefer mine with a splash of almond milk, but even without it, it's way creamier and more delicious than I expected. While I drink mine hot, my coworkers have also raved about it over ice – apparently it tastes great and also activates the nervous system more!
MUD\WTR :rise Cacao: Unfortunately MUD\WTR lives up to its name here. This stuff is tough to drink. I bought the Latte Bundle, which includes both the blend and a coconut creamer, but even when I zhuzh this stuff to the highest degree, it’s still so watery and earthy tasting. I feel like it’s what we expected mushroom-infused products to taste like when they first hit the market, but we as a health-curious community have made strides since then! Adaptogens are now delicious! And as much as I hate to say it, MUD\WTR is not.
Beam Super Latte: Beam is admittedly expensive when compared to other at-home options: $80 for 30 servings, or $64 (a 20% discount) when you subscribe. When you run the numbers, that’s $2.13 per serving (much cheaper than a coffee shop) – which feels more palatable.
MUD\WTR :rise Cacao: Just the :rise Cacao blend is $40 for 30 servings, or $29 when you subscribe. If you want the Latte Bundle, it’s a bit more expensive at $54 (or $43 with a subscription). This is cheaper than Beam, sure, but it felt like a waste of money for me because it’s been sitting in my cupboard untouched for quite some time.
Winner: MUD\WTR (technically)
As much as I wanted to find a less-stress-inducing morning ritual, I wasn’t sure I would find something I could stick to over coffee – so I was thrilled with Beam’s Super Latte. I really can’t describe how delicious it is (both in taste and texture), and I love how it makes me feel, too.
The only real downside is its cost, but when I consider that it’s $2.13 per cup, that feels totally do-able (I’ve been known to spend much more at a coffee shop). If you’re considering trying a coffee alternative, start with the Super Latte – and throw in Beam’s Dream powder while you’re at it. Something to look forward to each morning and evening? That’s priceless.