Review: Odyssey Mushroom Elixir
Covers Products: Endurance: Espresso (Chaga Cordyceps), Energy: Cold Brew Oat Latte (Cordyceps), Immunity: Berry White Tea (Reishi, Chaga, Maitake Turkey Tail, Shiitake), Mood Boost: Rooibos Chai (Reishi Turkey Tail), Sleep: Chamomile Honey (Rose Hips Chaga Reishi)
Odyssey Mushroom Elixir is a line of functional beverages that, as the name suggests, use mushrooms as their hero ingredient and pairs them with either a coffee or tea base. The products are non-carbonated and packaged in 7.4 ounce slim cans.
For the purpose of this review, we sampled five of the six flavors, including Immunity with Berry White Tea, Endurance with Espresso, Energy with Cold Brew Oat Latte, Mood Boost with Rooibos Chai, and Sleep with Chamomile Honey.
The tea-based varieties have 35 calories and 8-9 grams of sugar while the Endurance with Espresso SKU has 45 calories and 11 grams of sugar and the Energy with Cold Brew Oat Latte has 100 calories and 13 grams of sugar. Sugar is the only sweetener used in these products.
On top of that, each SKU gets its proprietary blend of mushrooms that results in 1000mg of mushrooms per can. This includes mushrooms such as reishi, chaga, maitake, turkey tail, and cordyceps.
While these don’t seem to impact the flavor (more on that in a minute), we worry that all of this makes a pretty complicated proposition for the consumer. Not only do they have to choose the flavor they are looking for, they also have to choose the function and then potentially figure out what the difference is between each mushroom blend. And like many brands that mix and match flavor and function, the end result might be a consumer that just doesn’t find the pairing that they are interested in.
Fortunately, the liquid inside these cans is pretty enjoyable across the board. There’s quite a range of flavor profiles that they’ve created, ranging from the delicate and floral notes of the chamomile tea-based Sleep variety to the rich, sweet, and bold coffee flavor found in the Energy SKU. For our taste buds, we prefer the coffee based SKUs to those that are tea-based, especially in how they pair with the mushrooms.
The above being said, we think that there’s a challenge that’s similar to what we said about the different functions: these products don’t seem like they are formulated for the same consumer (even if they are educated on mushrooms). As a result, we wonder if consumers who try one will like the others -- or have a challenge finding the SKU they like.
Lastly, there’s the product’s packaging, which is a 7.4 ounce can that has a shrink sleeve label that utilizes a matte looking finish. The front of the can features the Odyssey logo and “mushroom elixir” tagline at the top and smack in the middle is an outline illustration (unique to each flavor) of a pattern of shapes. Finally, at the bottom, is the name of the SKU, which is also the function, followed by words to describe the flavor and mushroom blend.
The design feels polished and clean, albeit a bit wordy at the bottom, and it’s pretty hard to miss that this product is a functional beverage featuring mushrooms. However, we think a bit more focus on the flavor and perhaps a front-of-can mention of calories and sugar would help cast a slightly wider net.
In the end, Odyssey has certainly proven that they can create nice tasting liquid in a good looking package. And they’ve done it with an ingredient that is certainly on trend. However, we do think that focusing on only a few functions, especially the ones like Energy that already have proven demand, would really help the brand reach its full potential.