Chaga Mocha: My Current Fall Productivity Go-To

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I’d heard of Chaga before but only in passing. Post eating disorder my hormones were pretty fucked up and in an effort to rebalance my system I began doing some research into adaptogens.

What are Adaptogens?

In short, ‘adaptogen’ is a term used for a broad range of herbs and plant medicines that have been used for thousands of years to optimize adrenal health, which is essential for optimal hormonal health. These plants and herbs help lower your stress levels and balance your hormones by protecting and promoting adrenal health.

The most frequently suggested adaptogens for my needs came from a specific branch of adaptogenic mushrooms which, among others, included Chaga.

A few days ago a friend walked into the kitchen and offered me some Chaga she had harvested herself. She mixed it into some coffee and passed it over. In that moment I remembered a few other friends raving about “mushroom tea” and “mushroom coffee” over breakfast and figured I would do some research.

So what’s the deal with Chaga?

Chaga is actually a fungus that’s found primarily on birch trees. There are records going as far back as the 16th century for the use of chaga in Eastern European folk medicine. And alongside it’s power to help balance your hormones, it packs an impressive antioxidant punch!

Check out some of these sweet facts, and then mix some chaga (I am really digging the ease of this four-sigmatic mushroom mocha mix) into your morning brew for a full-body-productivity start to your day. *Note: I like to mix mine with coffee for an extra boost, but Chaga is also an excellent non-coffee alternative and provides a non-jittery energy due to it's polysaccharide content.

  • Chaga Reduces Stress Levels (and helps protect you)

Circle back to adaptogens and adrenal health real quick because that is how Chaga helps reduce the impact of stress on your system, and how it helps you get back to a healthy flow. But not just that, the compounds found in Chaga mushrooms, like beta-glucan polysaccharides and superoxide dismutase, are known to help rid your body of free radicals produced by stress. Read more about Chaga and stress here.

  • Chaga Helps Protect the Immune System

This little magic mushroom contains over 215 phytonutrients and glyconutrients and has more antioxidants than blueberries and Acai. If you’re anything like me, you’re like “wtf is a phytonutri-whatever.” Lucky for you I did a little research.

  • Chaga Mushroom Reduces Inflammation

But not just inflammation. This guy is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and has antibacterial properties. It contains more potassium than a banana, more germanium (immune system supporting) than turmeric, and more rubidium than green tea.

  • Chaga is packed full of other good stuff

Aside from all the nutrients mentioned above chaga also includes: Vitamins B2, D, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, cesium, silicon, manganese, selenium, zinc, antimony, barium, bismuth, boron, chromium, and copper. 

A Quick Guide to NYC Coffee

 

I want to preface this with: I was only in New York for three days, so when I say this is a "quick coffee guide", believe me. It is. Even while I think we did a pretty good job in getting our espresso on, I know there are plenty of places left to discover. I guess that just means I have to go back. Bummmmmmer. Ok, but seriously. Coffee. What a glorious thing. Especially in the nippy New York chill. AMIRITE?

I'm slowly but surely learning to accept the fact that I am what most people consider a "coffee snob" (I mean, I make coffee as a part-time living..) -- which I'd just like to add is such an asshole label to put on someone, but I digress -- and while I realize there is a huge sect of society that doesn't know and may not actually care about bean-origins, roasts, notes or anything else that plays a factor in the delivery of a good cup of coffee, I've also come to accept that while I don't have to turn my nose up at anything less than what I like, or create this weird elitist thing around it, I also don't have to downplay my appreciation for the art and science of coffee. And before you go getting all agro about this while thing -- oh look, we've already moved on.

As soon as I touched down in New York the struggle began. You know, the internal war between the things I should want to do vs. the things I actually wanted to do and - thankfully - in the end the, "this is my trip, my story, my brand/blog and my adventure" won out and I internally high-fived the thing in me that is always searching for home & rest. The seeking out and discovery of the places were we can calm and balance in the midst of excitement - in the quick flashes and changes of scenery, people and location that is travel - will forever be my goal; if for no other reason than to be able to share them with you.

Long winded explanations aside, I present to you:

 

NEW YORK: a quick guide to great coffee in the city

Get caffeinated. Get centered and go explore.

 

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#1 CULTURE ESPRESSO
72 W 38th St, New York, NY 10018

I will be giving this guy it's own little write up later down the line, but in short this was the best cup I got in New York. The aesthetic inside isn't quite my vibe, albeit cute, but there was no denying the delicious nature of this place. A block off Broadway Culture Espresso boasts the best cookies in NYC which according to reviews doesn't seem to be just talk. With minimal seating I wouldn't suggest this as a place to hunker down, but more a grab and go, or quick cookie nosh and walk type of joint. Milk Substitutes and rad employee vibes put this spot at the top of my list as soon as it touched my lips.

 

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#2 NINTH STREET ESPRESSO
75 Ninth Ave, New York, NY 10011

Coming in strong at number two is Ninth Street Espresso in Chelsea Market. Quite honestly it took us a second to find it (it's directly in the middle of the market) and when we did both my friend and I were skeptical as to what our experience would be. The sign simply read, "Brewed Coffee -- Iced Coffee -- Espresso -- Espresso w/ Milk". Would it be bang for our buck? or a whole lot of minimalist aesthetic and an expensive cup of bitter espresso. The good news is, it was great! There isn't seating that I'm aware of but the baristas were quick and knowledgeable, had milk substitutions, and while cash only- which can be an issue if you aren't prepared- I'd definitely suggest 'em.

 

 

#3 Mudspot
307 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

Mud ranks three on aesthetic alone. The coffee is good, yes, but the place itself is fantastic. Brick walls, weird pictures on the walls, red colored string-lights and bar seating made this my favorite place to visit out of all the shops. The baristas were quick, kind and witty offering us a laugh or two and it only gets better with all day brunch, a beer & wine garden, and bike parking! They have a back patio, milk substitues and are open till midnight. Go get 'em tigers.

 

 

#4 Variety
368 Graham Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

number four, and only so because it's actually in Brooklyn, is Variety. I'll keep it short and sweet because I sheepishly feel like I'm selling out on the "in the city" aspect of this post but this place makes a good cup, has a nice, chill atmosphere, milk substitutions and as it's located in Williamsburg it's perfectly, as my friend would say, "Anything you hipster-folk could want."

 

xo

SightGlass

Entering Sightglass felt like wandering into a greenhouse of sorts. An alchemists den, a roasters paradise, with it's vaulted ceilings and skylights. An eclectic group of men to our left, decorated with facial piercings and differing hair lengths, laughed as they made marks on their clip-boards and continued to package what we would soon find out was their in-house roast, ready to be shipped out all over the world. Above us a multitude of hipsters and city folk worked in the spacious loft to the hum of their neighbors chatter and the churning of the roaster.

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