MUD WTR is a delicious beverage that’s supposed to be a healthy alternative to regular coffee. I’ve tried MUD WTR for several weeks, and in this review I’ll tell you if it replaced my daily cup of coffee.
Why Coffee Is Healthy (And When it Isn’t)
Coffee is healthy, right? Well, that depends on who you ask and when you ask them. As with other foods and beverages, you might have heard both that coffee is good for you and that coffee is bad for you.
The truth is that there are pros and cons to consuming coffee, and most of the research on the subject is based on weak observational studies that might prove correlation, but not causation, between coffee consumption and changes in health markers.
So in this article, I won’t discuss how coffee may protect against certain diseases, such as Parkinson’s, Type-2 diabetes and heart attack, because these alleged benefits are unproven and often based entirely on assumptions.
But there are several things we do know about coffee. For starters, some people (including me) like the taste and smell of black coffee. (I associate it with starting a new day and writing for my blog.)
Additionally, coffee contains stimulants, such as caffeine, which can (temporarily) boost your alertness. Caffeine also acts as a vasoconstrictor that causes blood vessels to contract, which can help with headaches (even migraines). It also (temporarily) increases blood pressure.
Coffee also has plant-based chemicals called antioxidants that many people think can reduce oxidative stress and prevent free radicals from damaging cells.
On the flip side, coffee has several natural (and not so natural) chemicals that aren’t great for humans and that can cause headaches, heartburn, insomnia, nervousness, cancer, malabsorption and more.
When it comes to negative health impacts, the most obvious offender in coffee is caffeine, which can cause several of the symptoms mentioned above. That’s particularly true if you’re sensitive to caffeine or overindulge.
What most people don’t know is that caffeine has a relatively long half-life of up to 9.5 hours. That means an afternoon cup of coffee will likely impact your sleep, whether you’re aware of it or not.
Also, if you use coffee to help compensate for poor sleep or a lack of sleep, I’d recommend reconsidering that strategy. Besides the fact that the stimulating effects of caffeine are temporary (and often lead to a crash after wearing off), the energy caffeine “provides” needs to come from somewhere. In other words, caffeine makes the body redirect energy from other important processes and functions.
That’s right! Caffeine puts additional stress on your body and robs it of resources it needs for other purposes. That’s why I reduce my intake of coffee on days when I don’t feel completely rested.
Acrylamide is a chemical that forms from sugars and amino acids when you expose food to high temperatures. In the case of coffee, it forms when the beans are roasted. When you drink coffee, you expose yourself to this chemical.
Much like other advanced glycation end products (AGEs), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified acrylamide as a probable human carcinogen. The US National Toxicology Program (NTP) has classified acrylamide as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”
However, the amount of acrylamide in natural roasted coffee is relatively low (179 mcg/kg) and is likely not a major concern.
Coffee contains several antinutrients, such as tannins, which can inhibit enzyme activity in the gastrointestinal tract and prevent the body from absorbing certain nutrients, including minerals.
So the bottom line is that while you might be able to get away with consuming moderate amounts of coffee, it’s certainly not the healthiest beverage you can choose.
If you’re downing several cups of coffee per day because you feel like you “need it,” I’d encourage you to look for alternatives that might be less detrimental to your health.
Natural Coffee Alternatives
Tea is arguably the most popular natural coffee alternative because there’s a wide variety of caffeinated and caffeine-free teas to choose from. But the problem with tea is that it tastes nothing like coffee, which makes it an unattractive alternative for someone who likes the taste and flavor of real coffee.
Some smart brands have seized that opportunity and launched beverages that fill the gap between coffee and tea. MUD\WTR is one of those coffee alternatives, and I had an opportunity to test it over the past few weeks.
MUD WTR Review
MUD WTR is a coffee alternative that’s made out of organic spices (you can find a complete list of ingredients below). It has only one-seventh of the caffeine of coffee and claims to give you natural energy and increase your focus without the jitters and crash that some people experience after drinking regular coffee.
- Attractive taste and flavor.
- 100% organic ingredients.
- Eco-friendly (reusable and recyclable) packaging.
- Offers a lasting boost of energy without the jitters and crash.
- Paired with an MCT-oil creamer, MUD WTR can be turned into a creamy latte.
- Whole30 approved, vegan, kosher and certified gluten-free.
- Pricier than regular (organic) coffee.
- Doesn’t offer a bold enough flavor to match black coffee.
- Some of the ingredients have natural (plant-based) toxins.
- Is not fasting friendly.
Depending on where you stand on the dietary spectrum (vegan, paleo or carnivore), you might consider MUD\WTR to be either the healthiest product on the planet or you might have reservations.
Without getting into a vegan vs. carnivore argument (I’ll reserve that for a future blog post), I’ll be up-front and tell you that I follow a predominantly animal-based diet. That means I consume a lot of animal meat and fat (including organ meat), paired with the least-toxic plant foods available, such as avocados, sweet fruits and certain (deseeded and peeled) veggies.
Most of MUD\WTR’s ingredients don’t fall into the “least-toxic” category — but neither do those of coffee, as discussed earlier in the article. So let’s talk about the ingredients in MUD\WTR before I give you my assessment and interpretation of their relative toxicity.
The primary ingredient in MUD\WTR is masala chai, a black tea made with spices including organic ginger, organic cardamom, organic cloves, organic nutmeg and organic black pepper.
Additionally, MUD\WTR contains organic cacao, organic lion’s mane, organic chaga, organic cordyceps, organic reishi (all of which are adaptogenic mushrooms/funguses), organic cinnamon, organic turmeric and Himalayan salt.
Some people have labeled MUD\WTR a “mushroom coffee.” While that might sound odd, I think it’s a fair description considering that the good portion of the powder is made up of mushrooms.
(Potentially) Problematic Ingredients
Black pepper is a natural source of piperine, a chemical that improves the absorption of other chemicals in the gastrointestinal tract. While that sounds like a good thing, it’s a problem if you consume black pepper together with food that contains plant-based toxins. In other words, piperine also improves the absorption of the things you don’t want to absorb, such as the phytoestrogens found in turmeric (curcumin) and cacao (catechins).
So while black pepper might be harmless on your steak, it’s less than ideal if paired with plant foods.
Mushrooms are another double-edged sword. While hailed for their health benefits, mushrooms contain certain types of carbohydrates (polysaccharides) that can trigger skin conditions (such as eczema) in some people.
Overall, I don’t think the ingredients in MUD\WTR are terrible, even when looked at through the lens of a carnivore diet. Plus, everyone reacts slightly differently to plant-based foods and toxins. I’ve been enjoying a cup of MUD\WTR for several days without noticing any adverse side effects, such as GI upset or changes in the appearance of my skin (as I have noticed after consuming almonds).
Low Caffeine Content
One of the benefits I appreciate most about MUD\WTR is that it has only one-seventh of the caffeine of regular coffee.
I don’t drink coffee for the caffeine; I drink it because of its smell and flavor. That’s why I’ve been mixing decaf with regular beans at a 50/50 ratio, to get coffee that has only half of the caffeine while masking the arguably unpleasant flavor of decaf.
If you’re like me, or if you’re trying to reduce your caffeine intake because of the side effects you might have experienced, MUD\WTR is a good option. It offers a similar boost in energy and mental focus, but that boost doesn’t wear off as quickly. And unlike coffee, it won’t lead to a crash that makes you crave more caffeine.
Thus, drinking MUD\WTR offers an excellent way to get out of the vicious circle that is caffeine addiction. Doing so enables you to enjoy lightly caffeinated beverages because of their flavor and not because your body is craving a fix.
Taste and Texture
When I started drinking coffee many years ago, I didn’t actually drink coffee. I drank beverages that had coffee but also other things that masked the taste of what should have been the primary ingredient. I’m talking about milk, sugar and other ingredients that would help tweak the beverage’s flavor to my liking.
If you’re among those who enjoy flavored coffee rather than black coffee, I think there is a much higher likelihood that you’ll enjoy the taste of MUD\WTR.
When I took my first sip of this coffee alternative, I immediately thought about wintertime. That’s because of the subtle notes of cocoa, cinnamon and nutmeg that I strongly associate with the colder months of the year. In other words, MUD\WTR tastes like a Christmas-inspired latte without the overwhelming sweetness you might be used to (if you buy your lattes from Starbucks, that is).
As far as the texture is concerned, MUD\WTR tastes earthy and gritty. That’s because not all of the powder completely dissolves in the water. If I had to guess, that’s where the product name (mud water) comes from.
Overall, I really like both the taste and the texture — especially in the context of a flavored, caffeinated beverage.
MUD\WTR is available in different serving sizes, but arguably the best way to get started is via the starter kit that includes a 30-serving tin, a USB rechargeable frother (for properly mixing the powder with water or milk, as it tends to clump without frothing), a free guidebook, a free sample of the company’s creamer and some stickers.
A one-time purchase of the starter kit costs $60 plus shipping, but if you enable auto-shipping (i.e., sign up for a subscription), you can get it for $40 with free shipping. Of course, you will only get the powder (MUD\WTR calls it the “mud”) auto-shipped every month after the initial purchase — not the accessories.
You can see additional pricing options in the table below. All these options assume a one-time purchase and don’t include shipping fees. However, these options are all eligible for auto-shipping, which reduces their price by 20% and includes free shipping. I’ve added the auto-ship pricing in parentheses.
|30 Serving Mud Tin||$50 ($40)|
|90 Serving Mud Bag||$125 ($100)|
|15 Mud Sachet Box||$30 ($24)|
Besides the mud, the company also offers an MCT oil/coconut-milk-based creamer. If you like the taste of silky smooth lattes, I highly recommend using this (or a similar) creamer when preparing your beverage.
Is MUD\WTR Better Than Regular Coffee?
I think there are pros and cons to both MUD\WTR and regular coffee, depending on your (dietary) lifestyle and preferences.
I like MUD\WTR because it has less caffeine than regular coffee. As a result, it can help those who struggle with detoxing from that powerful stimulant.
As far as flavor is concerned, I’m confident you’ll like MUD\WTR if you’re used to drinking coffee with milk, creamer, sugar or other ingredients. In other words, if you don’t drink coffee because you love how black coffee tastes, you’ll be right at home with MUD\WTR.
But if you’re someone like me who truly appreciates the taste of black, unadulterated coffee — and you’re not drinking it for the caffeine — MUD\WTR might not be for you.
The other thing to consider is the difference in nutritional value between coffee and MUD\WTR. Coffee doesn’t have any calories, so I can enjoy a cup of morning coffee without breaking my fast (I regularly practice intermittent fasting).
But one serving of MUD\WTR has 20 calories, from the .5 grams of fat and 4 grams of carbs it contains. That means I can’t have it while fasting, which limits the windows during which I can enjoy this coffee alternative.
Practically speaking, that means I’ve been enjoying MUD\WTR in the late morning on days that I break my fast before noon. Some people enjoy a cup of coffee in the afternoon, and considering that MUD\WTR doesn’t have a lot of caffeine, I could do that too. However, I try to avoid any caffeine in the afternoon, even if it’s only a few milligrams, because caffeine can linger and I don’t want to impact my sleep.
Frequently Asked Questions
I suppose you could, but I suspect the mud will mix better with hot water. So I recommend stirring the mud into hot water and then letting it cool down, or pouring it over ice, if you want to turn the beverage into something resembling iced coffee.
That depends on your dietary preferences. The best non-caloric options are stevia and monk fruit. But I also like raw and unpasteurized honey, which I’ve been consuming a lot of lately. The latter I only recommend if you’re metabolically healthy and you know that your body can efficiently switch back and forth between burning fat and carbs for fuel.
Yes, I think MUD\WTR can help you detox from caffeine. Using a mushroom coffee (like MUD\WTR) that has significantly less caffeine than regular coffee is arguably more helpful for reducing your dependency on caffeine than going cold turkey, depending on your level of addiction.
Slowly reducing your caffeine intake gives your body time to adjust, thus reducing any potential caffeine withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, sleepiness, irritability, lethargy and constipation, just to name a few.
I’m a huge fan of MCT oil powder, but I’ve also used grass-fed collagen and even flavored beef protein powder in the past.
If you can handle dairy, grass-fed cream or A2 milk are viable options, if you don’t mind the extra carbs. I’d stay away from milk alternatives, including almond milk and oat milk, even though I’ve recommended the former in the past.
Almonds, much like most other nuts and seeds, are a source of plant-based toxins, such as antinutrients that can negatively impact nutrient absorption and can trigger an (auto)immune response.
I haven’t noticed a significant impact on my blood sugar or ketone levels after drinking MUD\WTR, but everybody reacts slightly differently to foods. For example, I heard from one of my followers on Instagram that drinking MUD\WTR kicked her out of ketosis.
I think that most people will not see an impact, even if they follow a ketogenic diet, because one serving of MUD\WTR has only three grams of net carbs.
That depends on what you put into your hot chocolate. If you’re referring to a traditional hot chocolate that’s loaded with sugar, then yes, MUD\WTR is definitely the healthier choice. If you prepare hot chocolate with raw cocoa powder and coconut milk, then there won’t be much of a difference.
If you’re used to purchasing your coffee at a coffee shop, then MUD\WTR is most likely the less expensive option. But if you purchase your coffee and brew it at home, MUD\WTR is probably more expensive. We buy organic coffee beans from a local roaster here in Georgia and the price per bag translates into less than 60 cents per serving of coffee.
Yes, MUD\WTR is Whole30 approved, which is a stricter version of the paleo diet. It’s also certified vegan, kosher and certified gluten-free.
MUD\WTR contains several ingredients, such as mushrooms, that are considered adaptogenic. That means these ingredients have been shown in some studies to influence how the body responds to stress, exercise and inflammation. As a result, it’s conceivable that some of the ingredients in MUD\WTR might positively influence the immune system.
MUD\WTR Review: Wrap Up
I consider MUD\WTR to be an excellent coffee alternative for most people, and especially those who don’t drink their coffee black. If you’re a coffee aficionado and enjoy the bold flavor of espresso, you might still appreciate the taste and texture of MUD\WTR — but I doubt you’d abandon your cup of coffee for it.
I fall into the latter category. I like MUD\WTR and I can imagine having an occasional cup, especially during the colder months of the season. But as far as my daily routine is concerned, I’ll stick with my daily cup of black coffee, brewed in a Swiss espresso machine.
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