I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with coffee. On one hand, like most people, it’s given me the energy to power through work and other hard tasks at hand. On the other hand, it never seems to give me the laser focus I’m looking for and too much either leads me to crashing or feeling jittery (or both).
About 5 years ago, in 2016, I went on a search for something better than coffee. I was looking for a coffee alternative that would give me energy, focus, be nutritious, low calorie, and not lead to crashes or jitters.
This search led me down the rabbit hole of trying nearly every different type of energy drink. Not just the canned kind like Red Bull and Monster but pre-packaged powders like Four Sigmatic and little known teas such as yerba mate. I kept getting disappointed… One drink would give me a ton of energy but I wouldn’t be able to focus. Another would give me both but would upset my stomach. Some would give me focus for a moment, then leave me with brain fog.
In 2018, I actually gave up searching for the perfect energy drink and decided to make my own based on what I enjoyed from testing different drinks over the years. As I started to research all of the ingredients I wanted to include in my little experiment drink (such as apoptogenic mushrooms, cacao, a black tea blend) I stumbled upon a brand new product that had just launched a few months earlier—MUD WTR.
I hesitantly ordered MUD WTR, waited a few days for it to show up, and 15 minutes into trying it, I gave up trying to make my own energy drink concoction. MUD WTR is exactly what I was looking for all these years.
Today I’m going to share my personal review of MUD WTR, having used it since they first launched. And we’re going to explore why this might be the best coffee alternative currently available (but it's definitely not perfect).
Background on MUD WTR
What initially caught my eye about MUD WTR was its impressive branding and packaging. I was scrolling through Instagram when I saw the ad and the logo, packaging, and overall look made me do a double take. It wasn’t trying to copy any energy drink or coffee company like many other new brands do. The MUD WTR brand is sleek and cool. Well, that’s all due to its founder, Shane Heath, who was in the creative industry before launching MUD WTR.
I did some digging on him prior to ordering my first MUD WTR back in 2018. I wanted to know what led him to making this drink in the first place and why he specifically chose this ingredient formula. But more importantly though, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t about to buy some fake energy supplement powder.
Turns out Shane and I had a lot in common in regards to our coffee quest. Like me, he was falling into the cycle of drinking a bunch of coffee because he was tired, getting a high of energy with no focus, then sleeping poorly because the caffeine was still in his system, only to wake up and start the cycle again. So he decided to create his own energy concoction. I remember stumbling across this picture on his Instagram, in the kitchen working on MUD WTR and had a feeling this was something special.
Through some experimentation and personal experience, he landed on these core ingredients: lion’s mane, cordyceps, reishi, chaga, turmeric, cacao, chai, vanilla, and himalayan salt.
Let’s go over what makes this blend of ingredients such a powerful coffee alternative and why I was impressed to see them in this drink.
Deep Dive On MUD WTR Ingredients
Prior to ever trying MUD WTR, I had been a fan of mushrooms for their ability to help me focus and give me a boost of energy. I was using Four Sigmatic’s mushroom coffee blend on and off for a few years prior to MUD but I found that I would always end up drinking too much to try to ride the energy “high” from the coffee in it and end up feeling super burnt out. I also found myself jumping between Four Sigmatic’s different mushroom coffee blends— reishi, chaga, lion’s mane, and cordyceps.
What I really wanted in a drink was a blend of mushrooms without all the caffeine that was in the coffee. So, when I did find MUD WTR and reviewed their ingredients, I was thrilled to see the mushroom blend. Here’s why…
- Lion’s Mane: In studies, lion’s mane mushrooms have been found to contain compounds that can stimulate the growth of brain cells. Further studies have shown it reduced memory loss in mice and even prevented certain neuron damage.
- Cordyceps: This is going to sounds crazy but I have to preface with this; cordyceps are actually a parasitic fungi that grow by literally taking over the host of an insect. While it sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, the benefits cordyceps possess are quite extraordinary. Studies have shown taking cordyceps can actually improve the way the body uses oxygen, leading to higher exercise performance.
- Reishi: Known mainly for its immune boosting properties, studies have also shown that reishi could improve fatigue and depression symptoms as well. On a personal note, I regularly take this mushroom blend immunity supplement, of which reishi is a key ingredient too.
- Chaga: Like reishi, chaga is also known for its immune-boosting properties as well as fighting inflammation.
The next ingredient on the list, turmeric, I was actually surprised to see. I had taken turmeric supplements in the past for its anti-inflammatory benefits but I’ve never been super keen on the taste of it, outside of its use in many delicious Indian dishes. Thankfully, the blend of other ingredients in MUD WTR (namely the chai, vanilla, and cacao) balance the flavor so I barely even taste it.
In addition to anti-inflammatory benefits, turmeric also has a number of brain-related benefits, similar to lion’s mane. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights certain degenerative processes in your brain (such as those caused by stress).
As a chocolate lover, I’ve always reached for a bit of dark chocolate late in the day when I found my energy levels start to drop. So seeing cacao in the mix of MUD WTR ingredients also peaked my interest.
Cacao has a variety of different benefits and has been used for centuries across the world for its energy boosting properties. In addition to boosting energy levels, cacao can quite literally make you feel happy. A study from the University College London found that people who reported eating any dark chocolate in two 24-hour periods were 70 percent less likely to report clinically-relevant depressive symptoms than those who ate no chocolate at all. This is because pure dark chocolate is loaded with mood-boosters like Phenylethylamine and stimulants such as Theobromine, both of which personally give me a euphoric sense of energy and focus.
The last key ingredient on the list is chai tea. If you’ve had chai tea before from your local coffee shop, you’re likely used to a super sweet taste. The MUD WTR chai isn’t like that version, it’s not loaded with sugar. This is the purer version of chai, unprocessed, made of a combination of black tea, ginger, and other spices such as cinnamon.
The black tea in chai has both caffeine and l-theanine in it. This is a potent combination that I’ve personally used on its own for years to elevate both my energy and focus levels.
Speaking of flavor… MUD WTR might have great ingredients but does it actually taste good?
MUD WTR Taste
At the end of the day, taste is subjective. What I enjoy, you may not. To keep this MUD WTR review as objective as possible, I’m going to first do my best to describe the taste and then compare to other, more common tastes, to help you get the best understanding of what it tastes like.
When you first sip on MUD WTR, you’ll likely be hit with what I can really only describe as an "earthy" taste. I believe this is from the mushrooms since it’s also a similar flavor to what I’ve tasted in Four Sigmatic’s mushroom coffees in the past.
The next most present flavor is a slight bitterness from the mix between the chai (black tea) and cacao. In my opinion, the cacao is actually more noticeable from the smell than the actual taste.
What gives it the most pleasant flavor though would be the spices, mainly the cinnamon, which comes through the most.
The flavor is not overwhelming. In fact, I find myself adding a little extra scoop whenever I make a cup for myself to get more flavor. If you add too little, the most you taste is the earthy and bitterness flavors, which I’m sure is what has led to some of the negative reviews regarding taste.
You’ll likely enjoy the taste of MUD WTR if…
- You enjoy pure dark chocolate, 75% cacao or higher.
- You regularly drink black teas such as yerba mate or pu-erh tea.
- You enjoy foods that have a lot of spices (such as Indian).
I’m not saying you’ll hate MUD WTR if you don’t enjoy any of the above but you may be more inclined to doctor it up with other ingredients.
Here’s a little MUD WTR recipe I use when I want a little extra flavor and I have a sweet-tooth:
- 1 ½ servings of MUD WTR
- 1 serving of the MUD WTR creamer (made of coconut milk and MCT creamer)
- 1 teaspoon of manuka honey or pure maple syrup (the real stuff)
- An extra dash of cinnamon
I’ve also been testing adding in some Laird Superfood creamer in place of the MUD WTR creamer.
Pros and Cons Of MUD WTR
While I love MUD WTR, it’s not 100% perfect and it’s definitely not right for everyone. Let’s go over the main positives and negatives of this coffee alternative…
MUD WTR Pros
- It has given me 6+ hours of energy and focus on 1 1/2 cups. For me, this is a lot, considering I was drinking 3+ cups of coffee per day to feel "normal" energy levels. It does exactly what it claims and it does it very well.
- There are a variety of additional benefits other than energy and focus. I’ve found I’m usually in a better mood, I’m more willing to exercise and have higher performance levels when doing so (ex: I find myself running longer, not necessarily harder though).
- I’ve found my memory and recall to be higher after drinking it. This is useful when I know I have a work presentation or I need to learn something new in a short amount of time.
MUD WTR Cons
- I can definitely see some people not liking the taste, especially those who currently drink their coffee with cream/milk and sugar. For those people, I would recommend trying a MUD WTR recipe with a coconut creamer or going all out with the recipe I listed above.
- The price is high. When I first bought MUD WTR back in 2018, the price was $30 for a 15 serving tin. I used a $15 off coupon, which actually made it only $15. Today it is $50 for a one-time purchase.
- It's still easy to "overdo" MUD WTR and end up feeling a little out of it later in the day. I've personally had days where I've drank more than 3 cups and regretted it due to feeling out of it. I give myself off days when I notice when I'm reaching for more than 1-2 cups per day.
MUD WTR Coupons & Discounts
If you’re ready to order your first MUD WTR box, congrats! I doubt you’ll be disappointed. Since it’s expensive, I highly suggest either always using a coupon to order one-off boxes or subscribing (starting at $40/month as of writing this review) so you can save the most amount of money.
Here are some coupon codes to help save you the most money on your order:
I included multiple variations of coupons giving the same percentage off just in case one doesn’t work. If you know of any better coupons, please let me know in the comments below and I’ll update this review accordingly!
I am a really big fan of MUD WTR. It is, by far, one of my favorite coffee alternatives. The blend of ingredients work for the energy, focus, and euphoric sense of wellbeing I like. Plus, I’ve found a recipe (the one listed above) that’s actually quite delicious. However, that comes with a high price tag. Is it worth it? That's all up to what your needs are. If you're someone who needs to be focused at your job to perform it well or you absolutely need to focus for an upcoming exam, I think it is worth it. On the flip side, if you're already happy with coffee, you might want to save your money.
Have a question about MUD WTR I didn’t answer? Let me know in the comments and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!