I Tried Mushroom-Infused Coffee From A Toronto Cafe & This Is How It Impacted My Work Day

I was gonna do my work but then I got high – JK not those kinds of mushrooms.

I Tried Mushroom-Infused Coffee From A Toronto Cafe & This Is How It Impacted My Work Day

Raise your hand if you've ever done mushrooms at work? Technically, I can't raise my hand, but I tried mushroom-infused coffee from Strange Love Cafe and monitored my mood while at work.

Strange Love is a mood-enhancing cafe in Toronto harnessing the power of naturopathy and Chinese and herbal medicine through their mood boosts which can be added to any of their coffee or tea for an extra $2.50.

I Tried Mood-Enhancing Mushroom Drinks From This Cafe & Here's How It Wentwww.youtube.com

One of their three cafes in Toronto is right by my apartment, and after walking by one too many times, I had to find out for myself if this stuff actually works.

On October 12, I headed to Strange Loves' newest location on University Avenue to chat with the cafe's naturopathic doctor, James Yoon.

Lance McMillan | Narcity

What mushrooms do they use & how do they work?

Yoon explained how the mood boosts work and clarified that I wouldn't be ingesting any actual shrooms or psychedelics.

Yoon explained that "mushrooms are particularly rich in a lot of different nutrients and antioxidants" and are "typically known as adaptogens and what adaptogens do is they help your body adapt or be more resilient to stress."

"They essentially do this by helping bring down your stress hormone like cortisol," he continued. "In essence, [they] help you achieve a better state of calm, relaxation and generally just feel a bit more grounded throughout the day."

Strange Love currently offers three mood boosts including, a Brain Boost, Energy Boost, and Stress Reset. Each boost has its own featured mushroom, herbs and unique intentions.

My workday on mushrooms

I asked Yoon what I should get for my usual morning and afternoon coffee, and he recommended I try the Brain and Energy Boost.

The Brain Boost is made from ginkgo bilboa, bacopa, and lion's mane mushrooms and is said to increase sharpness, productivity, cognition and memory and may even alleviate anxiety.

For my morning coffee, I went with Yoon's suggestion of the Lovers Matcha with a Brain Boost and with the extra charge for oat milk, my total came to around $9.60 after tax.

Brooke Houghton| Narcity

The drink was earthy, smooth and avoided the pitfall of tasting grassy or having any grainy texture, and thankfully, I couldn't taste any mushrooms or herbs from the mood boost.

Yoon let me know the effects of the mood boost usually take about 30 minutes to kick in, and by the time I got home at around 11:30 a.m. I was feeling it.

It felt like my brain was putting glasses on for the first time. Everything was super clear and in focus and I felt like I could write a breaking news story in a minute with zero sweat, but I did find myself fixating on small things.

Whether that was me or the boost, I can't be sure, but I was feeling very hyper-focused.

I work as a staff writer, so focusing is pretty important, and I usually rely on coffee to jumpstart my mornings.

By 12:30 p.m. I was still feeling pretty bushy-tailed, and by 1:30 p.m., the effects started to fade, but I wasn't feeling groggy or tired.

Usually, around midday, I need a second cup of coffee to stay sharp, but I honestly think I could have had my one drink and been fine for the rest of the day. So I decided to push my second cup to 3 p.m. to really test the effects of my morning Brain Boost.

At 3 p.m., I headed to Strange Love's location on Spadina and grabbed an iced latte with an Energy Boost for $8.76.

The Energy Boost is made from ashwaghandha, rhodiola, cordyceps mushrooms, and guarana and supposedly helps with energy, endurance, strength and mental stamina.

Brooke Houghton| Narcity

The coffee was strong, and once again, the mushroom flavour was nowhere to be seen.

I got home at 3:45 p.m., and around 4:30 p.m., I started to feel the difference between the Energy Boost and the Brain Boost. The Brain Boost was very intense, and I did feel hyper-focused to the point where it almost became distracting.

The Energy Boost made me feel calm, mellow and in control. I felt my whole body relax, and I saw a noticeable difference in the tension in my shoulders.

After finishing some emails, I logged off work at around 6 p.m., and I was feeling pretty fantastic. I'm usually a couch potato after a long day at work, but I managed to go to two bars which is pretty impressive for me on a Tuesday night.

Does it actually work?

If I'm honest, I went into this as a skeptic. I was almost positive that any effect would either be a placebo or the equivalent of taking a multivitamin, but I was wrong.

I found both boosts to be way more effective than my usual cup of coffee, and I never experienced jitters, an upset stomach (we all know what happens when we have too much coffee) or a caffeine comedown.

However, mood boosts are an extra $2.50 on top of your regular coffee or tea, which could get expensive over time, so I would only reach for this once a week or for a special occasion.

Strange Love Cafe

Brooke Houghton| Narcity


Address: Multiple locations

Why You Need To Go: You can drink mushroom-infused and mood-boosting coffee.


The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

Brooke Houghton
Brooke Houghton is a contributing writer for Narcity Media based in Toronto, Ontario.