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I need to break up with coffee. That’s what I’ve promised myself for the last 15 years, but just like any toxic relationship, it’s tough to shake off for good. Ever since I guzzled down my first sugar-spiked Starbucks Frappuccino (hey, it was college!), I’ve been hooked. I’ve now graduated to more refined beverages (hello, $6 cappuccino!), and my body’s chemically wired to welcome that happy jolt of caffeine-induced adrenaline. In fact, without a cup of joe to stimulate my mornings, I suffer all the telltale signs of withdrawal: headaches and general grouchiness. And I’m not alone. Nearly everyone I know (more than 85% of adults in the U.S. drink two cups of coffee a day!) hopes to kick their caffeine habit to the curb, or at least reduce their consumption of it.
But how do we stop craving what Dr. Lorenzo Stafford, an olfactory expert in the Department of Psychology at the University of Portsmouth, describes as “the most widely consumed psychoactive drug”? Venice-based MUD\WTR’s healthier coffee alternative—which founder Shane Heath spent over a year perfecting—just might be the key. As a self-proclaimed coffee junkie, I put it to the test!
Spilling the Beans on Coffee
While coffee’s usually considered safe in moderation, it can have both short- and long-term health risks with many potential side effects—anxiety, irritability, insomnia, muscle tremors, restlessness, and increased heart rate and blood pressure—some of which sound alarmingly familiar to me.
The older I get, the harder it is to achieve high-quality sleep. I’m trapped in a dysfunctional coffee-dependent cycle: chugging it to stay awake during the day, which leaves me incapable of racking up precious REM sleep minutes at night. The more I consume, the more my body builds a tolerance, begging for more. While it may feel as if its initial effects are wearing off after 45 minutes, caffeine actually has a five-hour half-life—meaning if I consume half a cup of coffee (about 95 milligrams of caffeine), I’ll have 47.5 milligrams left in my system after five hours. But before its half-life is over, my mind’s already convincing me I need my next flat white pronto.
It’s Chai Time
Enduring life entirely without caffeine, however, sounds like one of Dante’s most terrifying circles of hell. The key was not to eradicate caffeine completely. MUD\WTR’s formula contains only 1/7th the caffeine of coffee from its base of masala chai, which Heath fell in love with while living in India.
Enduring life entirely without caffeine, however, sounds like one of Dante’s most terrifying circles of hell. Thankfully, for Heath, the key was not to eradicate caffeine completely. It was about identifying the precise amount needed to offer a boost—without any of the adverse effects or crash. That’s why MUD\WTR’s formula contains only 1/7th the caffeine of coffee from its base of masala chai, which Heath fell in love with while living in India.
A potent blend of black tea and fragrant spices, like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, nutmeg, and cloves, masala chai is said to help promote focus and support a health immune system. Add in turmeric, packed with curcumin, and a slew of locally grown, adaptogenic 'shrooms — chaga for antioxidants, lion's mane to support focus and memory, cordyceps to promote natural energy, and reishi to support a health immune system — and you've got "mud". MUD\WTR’s supercharged, super-curated powder does what your oat milk latte wishes it could do—all while supporting your mental capacity, physical performance, and overall self.
Love At First Sip
No matter how beneficial it may be to give up coffee, I refuse to do anything without the approval of my tastebuds. Luckily, MUD\WTR offers myriad delicious-sounding ways to prepare its powder—turn it into a latte! A smoothie! Even granola or cookies!—but the most straightforward method is to mix a 20-calorie tablespoon in hot water. The liquid takes on a gritty texture, so it’s crucial to fully blend the powder. While I used MUD\WTR’s motorized frother—part of the $40 30-Serving Starter Kit, which also includes a sleek, stylish tin of “mud” and a sample of creamer—a spoon and a few seconds of vigorous stirring also do the trick.
The first sip hit me with a slightly earthy taste. The second was filled with subtle spice notes. And the third introduced a delicious chocolatey flavor (MUD\WTR’s formula contains antioxidant- and magnesium-rich cacao) that brought it all together. I usually take my coffee with milk and sugar, but in the name of more healthful living, I just added a squeeze of honey and the brand’s plant-based, sugar-free creamer powder—made from coconut milk and MCT (a.k.a. the good fats)! These simple additions made the beverage far more palatable to me, lending a silky-smooth texture and just-right kick of sweetness, although those who take their coffee black should have little problem drinking it without any accoutrements.
From Hypercaffeinated To Highly Focused
For a week, I drank this elixir daily, cheating only once with an oat milk latte that—after days of MUD\WTR’s sugar-free, no-sweeteners-added formula—tasted positively saccharine. While weaning myself off of coffee, I braced for severe withdrawal symptoms, like crippling headaches. But...they never came. Instead, I began noticing an unmistakable shift in my mood, acuity, and sleeping patterns.
On the first day, I expected MUD\WTR to put some serious pep in my step—the way coffee often does. When it didn’t invigorate me to run a marathon or hammer out a 50-page deck, I was initially disappointed. But as morning turned to afternoon, I had an epiphany: The superfood-laced brew was quietly doing its job, giving me a slow, steady stream of energy and clarity throughout the day. MUD\WTR will not power you with the peppy, perky, percolated effects of coffee—nor should you expect it to. Instead, it gives you a teeny-tiny microdose of caffeine and floods you with tons of other nutrients, designed to help you think clearly, perform better, and keep you feeling calm and stable.
Best of all, I started to sleep better, so much so that my nightly Fitbit sleep score—measured by duration, quality, and restoration—jumped from 69 (a standard for most of last year) to 79. According to Fitbit’s scale, that still only places me in the “fair” range of 60-79, but I’ve no doubt that another week of MUD/WTR will propel me into the “good” range of 80-89. The surge in my score proves one thing: Heath’s health-optimizing formula is the real deal.
This is no weakened, watered-down, poor man’s version of coffee. MUD\WTR’s revolutionary formula is a rich, robust replacement for my daily coffee ritual—and the way it makes me feel guarantees I won’t ever come crawling back to an espresso!
This is no weakened, watered-down, poor man’s version of coffee. MUD\WTR’s revolutionary formula is a rich, robust replacement for my daily coffee ritual—and the way it makes me feel guarantees I won’t ever come crawling back to an espresso! Although I’ll still enjoy the occasional latte, I’m thrilled at the idea of cutting back my coffee intake and controlling my dependency. Goodbye, jitters. See ya, midday slump. Sorry coffee, I’ve got a new squeeze—and this one’s treating me a whole lot better.
5 More Reasons To Substitute Coffee For MUD\WTR:
1. Over 9,500 customers have written glowing reviews, rating MUD\WTR 4.9 out of 5 stars.
2. If you can’t quit coffee cold turkey (who can?), this is your best bet. Thanks to black tea, the formula contains 1/7 the caffeine of coffee—and trust me, it’s enough.
3. Certified organic, vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, kosher, and Whole30-approved? Enough said!
4. Ingredients are sourced from all over the world, from the Dominican Republic to India. But the mushrooms, specially selected to make sure you’re mentally and physically operating at your best, are organically grown in California on gluten-free oats and under clean air. Only the best for the best.
5. A percentage of MUD\WTR’s earnings go to The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a nonprofit creating safe, legal, and beneficial opportunities for psychedelics in medicine and society. Don’t worry, MUD\WTR’s formula doesn’t contain that type of magic shrooms, but they support the research of these drugs and others—which may be an important revolution in mental healthcare.