We get it. Sometimes you don’t want to drink a cool, refreshing chaga tonic, sometimes you’d like a nice, warm cup of hot chaga tea.
Chaga is often sold mixed with coffee, but in our opinion, that’s a waste of good chaga. Chaga has a delicious flavour all of its own, part coffee, part dark tea, with hints of natural vanilla and even toffee. It doesn’t need to be diluted to shine.
The other thing about chaga is that it needs a very different preparation method from coffee, low and slow. Pouring hot water over chaga and drinking the results will release very few of the good things that we’re after. The best you can hope for is expensive pee.
Medicinal mushrooms like chaga or reishi need to be slow extracted in order for your body to absorb the nutrients inside.
Chaga cells are made of chitin, the same material that protects insects, lobsters and even crabs. Chitin is the hardest all-natural material known to man and locked inside these chitin cell-walls are the bio-active components that are so valuable to us.
One of the traditional ways to extract nutrients from chaga is by hot water extraction and we also think that this delivers the tastiest result. Here’s the best way to make a great tasting chaga tea that’s full of amazing nutrients.
A note on full-spectrum chaga extraction
For a full spectrum extraction, you’ll need to mix a hot water extraction with an alcohol-based solvent extraction but for most of us that is just more effort than we’re prepared to go through for daily consumption. We haven’t noticed any difference in how we feel, so for us the simpler hot water method is our go-to.
What kind of chaga to buy
In our opinion, always buy chaga in chunks. Not only does this give you the best idea about the quality of the mushroom, but this way you can also be sure that what you’re getting is actual chaga. A brown powder can be anything, but a chunk of chaga is easily recognized. In Canada, we recommend our friends at TruNorth Chaga.
We also think that an extract, or tea, made from chunks tastes best and has the most complex flavour profile. For our drinks, we always buy chunks, then grind them to the desired consistency.
Also, make sure that you’re buying your chaga from a reputable seller who harvests with respect and understands the importance of sustainability. Because chaga is foraged, rather than farmed, it is incredibly important to treat it as a valuable, and vulnerable, resource. We buy all of the chaga we use in our tonics from suppliers who don’t forage more than can be sustained.
How to make the perfect chaga tea.
In order to extract as much goodness out of chaga as possible, we recommend the following recipe. You will need a sous vide machine, but don’t let that scare you – it’s really just a water heater that clips to a pot and holds water at a very precise temperature for a long time.
|A quick note – if you want to know how to make chaga tea in a slow cooker instead, visit this page. If you’re interested in buying it ready-made, visit our store.|
Sous vide machines originated in laboratories and moved to the kitchen from there. They are now really affordable and widely available. They also make great yogurt and amazing steaks and fish, so you can use them for more than one thing.
We like the Instant Pot Sous Vide Machine for less than $100, but any make will do. Mason jars are sturdy and easy to clean and a good set of kitchen scales are a must-have if you want to make the perfect chaga tea.
- Sous Vide machine
- Mason jar
- Electronic kitchen scale
- 25 g chaga mushroom chunks
- 850 ml filtered water
- On your scales, measure out 25g of chaga. It doesn't matter if it's +/- 2 grams on either side, but don't go lower than 20g or higher than 30.
- Add the chaga to a large mason jar.
- Fill the jar with water that has been brought to the boil and allowed to cool for 10 minutes.
- Loosely screw on the lid. Place the mason jar into the stockpot.
- Fill the stockpot with hot water from your tap until the water reaches the nape of the mason jar.
- Add your sous vide water heater to the pot and set at 160º F for 10 hours.
- Cover the pot with aluminum foil to stop the water from evaporation. (If you make this a lot, you can buy a silicone lid and cut a hole for the sous vide machine.
- Leave alone for 10 hours, ideally overnight.
- Filter out the chaga chunks and store in the freezer – they can be used for a total of three times.
- You can drink the resulting chaga tea hot or cold. We make a large batch and keep it in the fridge for up to five days.