/ recommendations

Mud beats coffee for me (MUD/WTR review)

Here's what I think of "mud" (sold as MUD/WTR) after a month of drinking in place of coffee.

When I'm on work travel, my stimulant use tends to increase dramatically. There's a cycle of having to start earlier than my usual routine then drinking a bunch of coffee that ultimately makes it harder to sleep later (then wake up early again).

For many people, this is just part of life. But I try to avoid dependencies and tolerances like coffee can come with. I started tracking caffeine use along with other habits, striving to avoid consecutive caffeinated days.

This was all fresh in my mind when I saw my first "mud" (MUD/WTR) ad in a newsletter. The tagline was just something like "better than coffee!"

What's this MUD/WTR mud stuff?

Examining their site, I found that the creator of mud went through a similar dilemma to mine. They created a replacement hot beverage out of the following ingredients:

  • Masala chai
  • Cacao
  • Turmeric
  • Himalayan sea salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Mushrooms
    • Reishi
    • Chaga
    • Cordyceps
    • Lion's Mane

This really piqued my interest as the mushrooms of that list were familiar. They're found in the "mushroom coffee" promoted heavily by Tim Ferriss. He claimed that beverage "lights him up like a Christmas tree" and I'd always wanted to try.

Tim Ferriss holding mushroom coffee packet

Now seemed like an ideal chance because the coffee component, per se, was removed. I knew I liked chai. So I went ahead and ordered mud despite the relative expense.

Mud is about $2.00 per serving whereas a cup of homemade coffee might be ~$0.10. However it isn't too different from the Ferriss-promoted mushroom drink that's about $1.00 to $1.50 per serving.

Anyway, the MUD/WTR package showed up and I was eager to try. It was the afternoon but I didn't care.

MUDWTR mud unboxing

I made a cup by following the instructions - one heaping tablespoon into a cup of hot water, let that steep for two minutes, then kinda stir and enjoy.

Making MUDWTR mud

Now, before I tell you what my first impression was, note that I consumed this unsweetened. I've never had mud with sweetener because I drink it in the morning while fasting. Not trying to spike my blood sugar at 7 AM.

First impression

I did not enjoy the first cup. The taste wasn't as bad as kava (that's really like dirt) but slightly worse than black coffee or kratom tea.

I drank about half a cup then put it in the refrigerator (!!) before running off someplace.

Second impression and onward

The following morning I got that cold half-cup of mud from the fridge, stirred it around, then resumed drinking. This was actually much better. The chai and cinnamon were now more prevalent.

Holding cup of MUDWTR mud

What I deduced is that you need more than a two-minute steeping period. Since then I've tried to steep cups of MUD/WTR at least ten minutes.

All my subsequent cups have been much more pleasurable than that first. Granted, the taste has also "grown on me". But that extra steeping time helps.

Use a "hot straw" with it

Another tip - drink your mud with a "hot straw". There's sediment at the bottom of the cup from the mushroom bits.

hot-straws
Photo credit - Big Cat Coffees

If you just sip normally, sans straw, you end up with sediment at the bottom. Then you either miss out on the benefits of those ingredients or need to splash some more water in and throw it back quick.

Traditional straws that aren't made for hot beverages leak god-knows-what from their plastics into your drink.

Try-hard marketing

I do feel the need to say something about the marketing. Somehow me talking to my girlfriend about it shows up in her Instagram feed...

MUDWTR mud creepy Facebook ads

This has happened with a variety of things we talk about near cell phones. Working in the higher echelons of cybersecurity, I don't feel it's a coincidence. But if you advertise with Facebook Inc. this seems to be what you get.

Anyway, I guess that's out of their control (kinda), but some other packaging aspects just feel like they're trying too hard.

MUDWTR mud try-hard marketing

The coordinates, the wordplay, the edgy callout. I wanted to let MUD/WTR know that I did not buy the product because of what they may perceive as clever marketing.

And that their Facebook ad successfully creeped out my girlfriend.

Anticipating a possible "Randy, you're linking this mud product left and right throughout the post, trying hard!" reponse - the links are non-affiliate and are just placed for your convenience.

Overall experience

Mud delivers what coffee promises in a smoother way. You sip it as sort of a ritual to start the day. What's in the cup should help with that.

I find a sort of smooth, happy energy after drinking MUD/WTR.

Coffee definitely gives me energy but I'm prone to jumpiness and (with several cups) an impending sense of doom. Not to mention potential impacts on my sleep later, if I drink coffee past noon-ish. Caffeine has a long half-life.

Now you might point out that mud has 17mg of caffeine per serving. This amount hasn't caused me any harm. And - while I don't drink mud every day of my life - I'd feel comfortable consuming that 17mg every day.

Unlike the 80+ mg from coffee.

I will say I plan to reverse-engineer mud to potentially bring down the price for myself. Not that I can't afford $2/cup ... it's just, I'm a hacker and this is what we do. 😛

MUDWTR mud powder

Closing

If your relationship with coffee is on the outs, try MUD/WTR. It just fits me better than tea. Yes, it's relatively expensive. But you can probably get the ingredients on Amazon and reverse-engineer. If you like the stuff!

You can buy MUD/WTR here. As of this writing there is no affiliate program. This is as genuine a recommendation as there is.