To put it simply, Chaga won’t turn toxic when boiling, but it loses some of its nutrients. Yet heating expands the cell walls of the Inonotus obliquus, allowing for more nutrients to become bioavailable and produce a stronger healing potion. So the key to a good Chaga tea is letting it simmer and steep over a longer period of time.
Chaga is both flavourful and has medicinal benefits. The flavor is somewhat earthy with a slight bitterness and hints of a sweeter undertone. The mushroom is extremely high in antioxidants. It has even been claimed to have the highest amount of antioxidants of any food on Earth.
How long do you boil chaga?
As mentioned before, it’s best to keep Chaga under boiling temperatures. If you’ve harvested the Chaga yourself, make sure you’ve let it dry before brewing. The length of brewing is something we recommend you experiment with, to adjust it to your taste. The longer you let your tea simmer, the richer the color, flavor, and potency. Some people like to let their tea simmer over several days.
Our favourite way to prepare the tea is using around 15 grams of chaga nuggets in 1 litre of water. Letting it simmer between 50-80 degrees Celsius, for 4 to 5 hours for a beautiful colour and taste. It’s best to keep the temperature low, to ensure keeping alive benefits of the fungi.
For easier preparation use Chaga chunks instead of powder. First of preparing the powder at home can turn out to be dangerous. We have heard stories of Chaga lighting on fire in a coffee grinder before, as it very easily catches sparks.
Fun fact, Chaga has actually been used as a coal extender for ages, as the inner part of Chaga can stay lit for days!
How many times to boil chaga?
Chaga nuggets can be reused five times. Avoid letting the water come to a boil while the fungus is in it. When you finish brewing a batch of tea, strain out the Chaga chunks and make sure to set the nuggets on the side to dry. Once they’re all dried up, store the pieces in a cool, dry, and dark place.
Should you use the black part of chaga?
You absolutely should! The black outside part of Chaga, otherwise known as a sclerotium, turns out to have a very high concentration of the pigment melanin. Which is what makes the fungi such a powerful antioxidant. Melanin helps to protect the skin against oxidative stress that can lead to signs of aging. These antioxidant properties help to shield and support your cells from harmful free radicals.
Free radicals are the cause of many chronic health problems, like cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases and cancer. Antioxidants like Chaga prevent free radical-induced damage to the tissue by preventing the formation of radicals, scavenging them, or by aiding their decomposition.
Does chaga go bad?
Homemade preparations like tea should be stored in a refrigerator for no longer than 14 days. Chaga tinctures are the best for long-term use, their shelf life is around two years.
The biggest problem with harvested Chaga is mold. There are two most prevalent types, of which the more common is white mold on the Sclerotium – black outer layer and a greenish-blue mold in the inner layer. Both develop with improper processing and storage. Once again, when your Chaga is dry you want to store it in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight (it’ll easily bleach in direct sun).
The process of drying Chaga is simple, don’t let the temperature exceed 50 degrees Celsius. You can either use a dehydrator; dry them in an oven, keeping the oven door somewhat open for airflow; find a dry spot close to a heater or a wood burner, and set the Chaga to dry safely. Experiment with the tools available for you. The drying process will usually take around a few days. A tip for testing the moisture level is to touch some to your lip. When stored properly dried Chaga can last for years.
How often to consume chaga?
Generally talking, a cup or two of Chaga tea in a day is good for boosting your health. When dealing with a serious health concern, we’ve heard people drinking up to six cups of tea daily.
Unfortunately, you won’t feel any immediate effects from consuming Chaga. The benefits accumulate over time, with long-term use. So it’s best to get into a habit of incorporating the superfood into your diet through various products and recipes.
Key takeaways from boiling chaga
Chaga mushroom is a living organism, heating expands the cell walls of the fungi, allowing for more nutrients to become bioavailable for human consumption and produce a stronger healing potion. For the easiest use, we recommend using Chaga chunks, whether store-bought or harvested and dried yourself. When removing the remaining bark off of the mushroom, make sure to leave the black of Chaga. This is where the melanin hides and your antioxidants come from!
Let your tea simmer over a longer period from 5 hours to days, in around 50 degrees Celsius for an optimal brew. Find out which potency and flavor suit you best by giving it a taste from time to time.
Dry and reuse your Chaga nuggets five times before throwing them away. Serve the tea hot or let it cool down, store in a fridge, and drink it over ice, within a few weeks. We have dedicated time and love to creating simple Chaga recipes and ways to spice up your tea!