This review is not sponsored and contains the author’s personal experience. The Good Trade purchased this product.

Key Takeaways:

  • MUDWTR is more gentle on my stomach than coffee, and even though the flavor isn’t a direct substitute for coffee, I enjoy the hot cocoa/chai flavor when I add a tablespoon of maple syrup.
  • The price seems a little high, but if you’re used to drinking multiple cups of coffee a day and replace them with one cup of MUDWTR, the cost can be comparable. Subscriptions and buying in larger quantities helps too.
  • I won’t permanently quit coffee, but have decided to set up my own subscription to MUDWTR. I now currently drink “mud” instead of coffee roughly 50% of the time.

I was 15 when my friend introduced me to coffee—Folger’s with Cinnamon Vanilla Coffeemate creamer. It was heavenly and lit up my creative, social brain unlike anything else ever had before.

As I’ve gotten older and more in touch with my body, I’m realizing just how harsh coffee is on my system. One cup is never enough, and the crash is often worse than the initial energy it offers. Caffeine itself can contribute to anxiety, intestinal problems, and even osteoporosis by limiting calcium absorption to the bones. These are all things I have in one form or another!

So, while I enjoy my daily caffeine boost, I want to start looking for ways to consume it more mindfully and in much lower quantities. After a recommendation from a friend, I finally got my hands on some MUDWTR—a powdered drink made from herbs, adaptogens, and cacao that claims to have a fraction of the caffeine in a cup of coffee.

MUDWTR was founded in 2018 when its founder, Shane Heath, wanted to find a coffee alternative that offered mental alertness, physical wellness, and mood-boosting properties. The result is :rise, a rich, chocolatey beverage that is easy to prepare and sustains energy without a crash. Plus, it’s made using USDA-certified organic ingredients (including American-grown mushroom powders) and is shipped in recyclable or compostable packaging!

The full ingredients are:

  • Chaga: An antioxidant-rich mushroom that boosts immunity and reduces inflammation.
  • Reishi: An immunity-boosting mushroom that helps reduce stress and improve sleep,
  • Lion’s Mane: A mushroom known to alleviate anxiety, depression, and protect against dementia.
  • Cordyceps: Mushrooms that are good for reducing inflammation and improving immunity.
  • Mycelium: A mushroom that supports better energy levels and—you guessed it—improves immune function.
  • Cacao: A nutrient-dense version of chocolate in its purest form that provides energy, helps your heart, and more.
  • Himalayan Pink Salt: This salt helps rehydrate you in the morning.
  • Black tea powder and spices: For the tasty masala chai element.

It almost sounded too good to be true, so I decided to swap my regular coffee ritual with MUDWTR for a week to see if I truly could get along fine without my morning joe.

Here’s some quick notes I took on my no-coffee journey:

  • Monday. I struggle to adjust to the new flavor and miss my coffee. By afternoon, I’m feeling sleepy and longing for caffeine.
  • Tuesday. I add a tablespoon of maple syrup to my morning MUDWTR for added sweetness and find the drink way more enjoyable. By afternoon, I’m still craving caffeine.
  • Wednesday. My stomach doesn’t ache with those pangs I usually get after coffee—this is so much less acidic and not so harsh on my body.
  • Thursday. I make a mess while preparing my mud and add to the existing coffee stains on my robe. I end up having mud twice today without any negative impacts on my sleep.
  • Friday. I don’t actually crave coffee today, and I’m really excited! I look forward to making and enjoying my mud.
  • Saturday. I made the mistake of not drinking my prepared mud right away—it has settled a bit, and the texture feels grainy now that it’s cold. I top it off with hot water and re-froth it, which works nicely.
  • Sunday. I sip my mud while my husband makes coffee, and I can’t say I miss the coffee much.

MUDWTR tastes like an unsweetened hot chocolate/chai hybrid but isn’t overly rich or creamy. At first, I found it a little chalky and bland compared to the robust flavor of my usual hazelnut coffee, which I drink black. But on day two, I pinpointed the problem and dropped a spoonful of organic maple syrup into the drink, which made allll the difference. For the record, you will want to froth it extra well if you’re sensitive to textures, as it can be a little grainy and gradually settle to the bottom of the mug. If this isn’t ideal, you can always check out the brand’s recipe page for more ideas on how to prepare it.

“This is a pretty easy beverage to make, and I appreciate that it doesn’t have long brew times or require milk to be tasty.”

This is a pretty easy beverage to make, and I appreciate that it doesn’t have long brew times or require milk to be tasty—simply put a tablespoon of mud into a standard mug of hot water and stir. If you opt for the starter kit, the brand sends a USB-charged frother that takes some trial and error (and extra kitchen towels for when mud explosions happen). I recommend adding a quarter cup of hot water to the powder and whisking vigorously before topping off with more water.

The first few days were a struggle to switch from my usual two cups of coffee to just one cup of mud, but I ultimately was surprised at how quickly my body adjusted to the lower levels of caffeine. (You can sign up for MUDWTR’s coffee detox program if you’re having trouble!) I found that mud gave me more sustained energy, but it didn’t hit me all at once like a cup of coffee. It’s more of a slow boost and no real crash. The brand claims a serving contains a fraction of the caffeine of a cup of drip coffee, but I checked—it’s 30mg of caffeine, which is more like 1/3rd of what I usually drink. Still, I usually didn’t have more than one cup, versus my coffee habit that keeps me sipping all day.

“Mud is also not nearly as harsh on my stomach and doesn’t suppress my appetite as much!”

Mud is also not nearly as harsh on my stomach and doesn’t suppress my appetite as much! Overall, it’s a tasty drink (when sweetened a little), and I can certainly see it becoming a regular part of my routine. Which, of course, brings me to the price.

A non-subscription price for just 30 servings of :rise is $50 ($40 if you subscribe), which is more than what I pay for coffee. But honestly, not by much; my husband and I usually go through roughly a bag of coffee a week ($28-$40 a month). A single cup of MUDWTR is usually satisfactory for me, compared to my usual 2–3 cups of coffee, which stretches the cost even further. You can subscribe to receive 90 servings for $100 (or $125 on demand), which is especially handy if you have more than one mud drinker in the household.

Because of my aversion to paying higher prices for anything, I did switch back to coffee once my MUDWTR ran out. My stomach kicked back into high gear, and the acidity made its home in my body once again. The urgent coffee-fueled trips to the restroom also returned, and all I wanted to do was swap it out for my mud.

Now, I’m happily back to sipping MUDWTR—this time on my own dime. I snagged some on sale over Black Friday but still didn’t commit to a subscription (honestly, I think I’ll regret that once I run out). I’m also excited to try :rest, the brand’s evening relaxation blend; the chai rooibos mix makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

“Will I quit coffee forever? No. […] But I’m encouraged by this alternative.”

Will I quit coffee forever? No. It’s still one of my cozy beverages, but I’m encouraged by this alternative—because my body prefers that coffee isn’t my only cozy beverage. Will I set up a subscription? Most likely.

And will I keep making messes with the frother? Always, yes.

Emily Torres is the Editorial Director at The Good Trade. Born and raised in Indiana, she studied Creative Writing and Business at Indiana University. You can usually find her in her colorful Los Angeles apartment journaling, caring for her rabbits and her cat, or gaming.

Featured image includes model Norrine Maupin wearing shirt by Reformation; pants by Shaina Mote; jewelry by Apse