Bulletproof Coffee: is adding butter to your coffee a good way to start the day?

It sure is a serious kick-start to the morning

Peter Thomson
Monday 15 September 2014 18:26

Bulletproof Coffee is a term coined by Dave Asprey to describe a breakfast smoothie made with coffee, butter and oil. That might sound like a heavy mix of ingredients - especially for first thing in the morning - but it’s intended as a meal replacement, as it really is as rich, thick and creamy as it sounds.

My friend Klaus Bravenboer is an avid life hacker, meaning that he regularly experiments with how to optimise everything from sleeping habits to the paleo-diet and cross-fit exercise routines. Klaus recently told me that everything I thought that I knew about what to eat for breakfast was wrong. Apparently my beloved daily bowl of cereal is full of carbs and it’s time to switch over to a higher protein diet. Klaus suggested that I try drinking Bulletproof Coffee in the mornings to help transition my body onto a higher protein diet. The main tip that Klaus shared was to make sure that I didn’t accidentally use salted butter for the butter component of the drink. This is apparently a common mistake and can make an already tough drink an impossible challenge.

Bulletproof coffee isn’t really a drink by itself, it’s part of an intense switchover process to train your body to use oil and protein as a food source. Whatever the diet technicalities, it sure is a serious kick-start to the day. On the days that I tried Bulletproof Coffee instead of a normal breakfast, I didn’t feel the need to eat until around 2pm. The science is still a bit fuzzy and has been somewhat controversial, but the combination of caffeine, protein and oil certainly seemed to provide a sustained source of energy.

As a coffee lover, I’m all for incorporating coffee as a key part of my daily routine, but Bulletproof Coffee has proven even a bit much for me. I tried the Upgraded Coffee and Upgraded Brain Octane Oil (which is a very highly concentrated form of MCT Oil). By itself the Upgraded Coffee beans make a lovely smooth pour-over or areopress. The blend is well balanced and the roast is a nice easy drinking medium darkness. When combined with the Upgraded Brain Octane Oil, the texture changes, but the taste of the coffee still holds up. The added oil requires some blending and the texture seems a little greasy at first. But there is almost no aftertaste or lingering feeling of greasiness. Instead, the MCT oil made me feel full for a couple of hours. The added butter didn’t do much for me and after a few tries I found it just as effective to skip the butter.

The official Bulletproof products are designed to be used as part of an overall diet and exercise plan, which I didn’t get a chance to try fully as I was more focused on exploring the taste of the coffee. Personally, I found that on the days I had the coffee, I felt more alert, calm and focused so I’d definitely recommend trying it out.

Bulletproof Coffee fans often end up as coffee bean connoisseurs, but not necessarily for the sake of the taste. When you’re consuming this much coffee on a daily basis, the type of coffee beans you use is of serious importance. The key is to look for high quality, locally roasted coffee with as few toxins left over from the roasting process as possible. In the UK, the supply of official Bulletproof products used to be pretty limited, so fans were forced to find local substitutes. Monmouth is a good supplier of organic coffee as is Square Mile and Alchemy. There are also a few new boutique roasters that are catering specifically to health motivated coffee drinkers.

If you do want to try and make your own, recently, I’ve been trying the new Black Sheep coffee, which is made from a Robusta bean. Robusta beans are normally cheap, acidic and not well suited to high quality coffee. But the Black Sheep team are taking robusta beans seriously and the coffee tastes excellent. It’s roasted fairly dark and the taste is strong enough not to be overpowered by the oil and butter in a Bulletproof Coffee.

Angry Squirrel is another UK brand aiming for the sporting benefits of high-caffeine coffee. The company has a lot of heart and they are certainly passionate about what they do, but the taste of the coffee by itself wasn’t quite as good as it should be. When used in a Bulletproof Coffee, the overdone darkness of the Angry Squirrel was less of an issue and the end result was surprisingly well balanced.

Bulletproof Coffee isn’t for everyone, but coffee lovers and gym junkies should definitely give it a try.

Peter Thomson is a marketing strategist, the author of a book on digital marketing and an avid coffee reviewer at www.coffeehunter.org

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