Tricia captures attention with a healthy coffee alternative

Experienced food scientist and nutritionist Tricia McNeilly is at the forefront of healthy foods developed from medicinal mushrooms harvested from the bark of birch trees in Siberia.

Saturday, 5th June 2021, 6:00 am
Tricia McNeilly of Otzibrew in Belfast enjoys a cup of award-winning Organic Chicory and Cordyceps Coffee Alternative

The Belfast-based entrepreneur has, in fact, devoted her business life to the creation of healthy foods and beverages which have subsequently won international acclaim and sales.

Among the most recent awards for Otzibrew, Tricia’s pioneering health food business, are silver and bronze medals last week in the prestigious Free from Food Awards in Britain. She captured the attention of a distinguished panel of expert judges with her unique Organic Chicory and Cordyceps Mushroom Coffee.

Alternative, a hot drink that is claimed to promote optimal digestive health, regulate appetite, increase energy and stamina, and improve memory.

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The natural drink is made from freeze-dried medicinal mushrooms

“Our Organic Chicory & Cordyceps Coffee Alternative is a freeze-dried powder made with 100% natural and organic plant extracts,” she says.

“Make it in a cafetiere for a really good coffee alternative. The coffee alternative is the latest outcome of our mission to unlock the amazing health benefits of nature’s naturally sourced medicinal mushrooms and their outstanding powers for longevity, energy and immunity.”

The new hot drink additive also reflects the small company’s concern for environment and is available in eco-friendly paper tubes for freshness and sustainability. The product is free from caffeine, dairy and gluten. It’s also suitable for vegans, Tricia explains. The award-winning powder is part of a three-strong range of healthy coffee alternatives that also features Organic Coconut Milk and Organic Dandelion and Burdock. These have also been created by the enterprising Belfast woman from extensive research into naturally sourced ingredients.

Other hot drink powders developed by Tricia from medicinal mushrooms include Chaga, “a natural, nutritious, caffeine-free hot drink alternative containing the groundbreaking health benefits of one of nature’s most incredible resources”, Tricia says. “The Chaga mushroom’s properties are no secret in northern and eastern cultures. The mushrooms been used there successfully for thousands of years. There is a long list of benefits but the distinctive Chaga mushroom has been found to boost the immune system, is full of melanin which helps hair, nail and skin health as well as to regulate sleep.”

Products have also been created by freeze-drying Lion’s Mane, another medicinal mushroom that’s been used for centuries in Asian medicine. Named after their appearance resembling a lion’s mane, they are large, white and shaggy mushrooms. They have both culinary and medical uses in China, India, Japan and Korea, where they are enjoyed raw, cooked, dried or steeped as a tea. Their extracts are often used in over-the-counter health supplements. And studies have found that lion’s mane mushrooms contain two special compounds that can stimulate the growth of brain cells and improve memory. They are reported to benefit heart health, blood sugar and digestion.

Otzibrew’s unique Chaga in a convenient plastic pot has already been listed by Selfridges, Amazon and Whole Foods stores in London. Tricia says the product is currently selling well due to the growing interest among consumers in healthy alternatives especially caffeine-free drinks. She previously developed a range of award winning drinks from coconut water and coconut milk, aromatic herbs, natural botanicals and turmeric under the CocoMojo brand.

She set up Otzibrew from lengthy research which pinpointed new product opportunities in medicinal mushrooms such as Chaga and then Lion’s Mane. The objective was to develop these into convenient products by freeze-drying and then to market them in global markets.

“Medicinal mushrooms have been used for thousands of years to improve health, brain function and immunity,” Tricia continues. “But Chaga is totally different in that it has been shown to contain the highest level of antioxidants, is especially rich in melanin, a powerful anti-inflammatory, and is packed with life enhancing nutrients such as manganese, potassium, calcium, zinc, iron, betulinic acid and phosphorous.

“Melanin has been found by Russian scientists to protect genes and even to help in repairing broken DNA. Such qualities could help in addressing cancer for instance.

“Due to our hectic lifestyles, we are constantly looking for ways to enhance our performance and achieve a more balanced lifestyle. Health conscious and active individuals often find it difficult to obtain natural supplements and targeted health remedies that make them feel good with no secondary effects.

“I launched Ötzibrew specifically to help in addressing this problem. Our products are completely pure and natural with no additives whatsoever. What we are doing is to bring these ancient natural remedies back into the mainstream in the purest and as convenient a form as possible.”

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