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3 Steps to Finding the Highest Performance Coffee in Your City

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To be in a state of high performance while partaking of one of life’s greatest pleasures, coffee, it’s useful to learn how to avoid getting a cupful of neuroactive mycotoxins along with your caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline.  The only way to be 100% certain you are not getting these and other toxins in your coffee is to bring the cleanest beans with you, which is what I do.  Like hundreds of other high performance people, including professional poker players, Billboard artists, and CEOs, I carry Upgraded™ Coffee with me on the road so I can always know how I’ll perform after my morning coffee. Sometimes you just don’t have any Bulletproof® beans with you, and you’re dying for the performance enhancing boost that only coffee gives. Here is what to do to find coffee with a lower than average level of toxins in any city. Sometimes you will still crash from the coffee you find, but your odds of it happening are lower. This came about because one of a readers just wrote and said:

Just found your site via a mention HackerNews.  I Googled “Bulletproof Coffee” and that URL was ranking #1.  Do you have any suggestions for where I can buy arabica wet process coffee?  I went to a high end grocery store in Austin that has at least 50+ coffees and they looked at me like I had a third arm when I asked.  Thanks, Jeremy

The easiest solution is to just grow a third arm, so when you ask about coffee at grocery stores, you can be confident that’s why you get those looks.  If DIY-biology isn’t your thing, there is still hope. Before the advent of Bulletproof Upgraded beans, I became an expert in finding cleaner-than-average coffee in strange places because I’m often in 3 different cities in a single week to speak at conferences (when productivity and focus is massively important). This is a time to be full of energy, but not waste time searching for coffee.  The difference in productivity between a bad cup of coffee and a Bulletproof one is so important that I don’t mess around.  Drinking mass marketed hotel coffee and feeling awful afterwards isn’t really an option for me before I go on stage in front of 1000 people. Normal coffee makes me slower at word recall, so I grasp for words on stage, and there is a study showing lower cognitive function. Not ok. These days, I don’t waste time on coffee shop roulette searching for cleaner-than-average coffee. I often just bring a tin full of ground Upgraded™ Coffee, or I toss a few of the new Keurig (r) compatible cartridges in my bag.  With either option, it takes 3-4 minutes to make coffee in my hotel, which saves time rather than waiting in line for bad coffee in a hotel lobby.  Sometimes, I bring a Hario V60, but often I just put some ground coffee in a cup, add hot water, stir, wait 4 minutes, then after the grounds sink, I decant the top and drink it. Redneck french press anyone? You can see me using a Hario V60 to make coffee in this video: On the road, if I run out of Upgraded, and I was dying for some coffee, how would I know a coffee shop in a random city might have better than average coffee?  You won’t be certain of what you’ll get, but I’ve learned how to tilt the odds in favor of feeling good when I (rarely) drink untested coffee.  To illustrate, here is my thought process as I find the best coffee in Austin for Jeremy.  I’ve used this process to find top rated, likely lower toxin coffee in cities around the US and Canada.  Here is what I did: (Note: Picknick in Austin now carries Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee beans and Brain Octane Oil, so I’d just go there…!) Step 1: Google “Best coffee in Austin.”  Yelp usually comes up with a short list.  You can ignore most individual reviews raving about coffee because the average person wouldn’t know a great cup of coffee from an average one, so they always use sugar and go by how cool the décor and baristas are.  However, the aggregate Yelp ranking is pretty useful.   Step 2: Visit the top ranked sites of the coffee places from Yelp/Google.  If a coffee snob, who clearly knows his coffee, has commented, you’re on the right track.  Some of the most flavorful coffees are natural process – the fungal load in those is much higher, but a coffee shop that takes the time to select great tasting coffee will often have at least one selection that will help you perform better AND taste great.  Step 3: Look for coffee houses that offer single-origin coffee and do not rely on blends for most of their offerings.  Also check for other markers of quality coffee, such as coffee houses that roast their own beans, or hire large numbers of people with tattoos and piercings.   In this case, the top 3 were:

Summermoon Coffee Bar - These guys look promising.  Their site says “artisan” and they wood-roast their organic fair trade coffee.  Unfortunately, when I look at their online store, all the beans are blends.  That means they take some beans from here, some beans from there, and mix them until they taste ok.  Blending is something you do when you want a specific flavor profile, and it increases the odds that at least one of the sources of beans has the toxins we’re seeking to avoid.  It dramatically increases your chances of getting some beans that stray from perfection.

I’d pass on Summermoon unless I was ok with feeling just ok, not Bulletproof®.  Their coffee probably tastes great, the ambience looks great, (I haven’t been there) but from the data online, the odds are that this coffee isn’t going to make you perform as well as some other coffees that are not blends.

Caffé Medici - One reviewer said, “By far, the best cup of coffee I had while in Austin.  In fact, one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had, period.  Blue Bottle, LA Mill and Caffe Calabria included…” That means this is probably a good coffee place.  The website says they focus on equipment extensively (another good sign).  When I read “Our espresso machine is a La Marzocco FB 80.  We pull 1.5-2 oz of espresso at 24 to 26 seconds in 18 gram baskets,” I feel slightly giddy.  I’m a coffee hacker too.

But then, that giddiness is shattered by the fact that they serve a blend in their French Press.  The very best coffee is made by modifying the roast and brewing process to fit the beans, not by mixing beans together. (That is a religious statement to some; to me it’s all about reducing aspergillus infected beans so I can perform that much better.)

Third Roast Coffee - The top Yelp comment for Third Roast said, “Everything else aside (and there is a lot!), Third Coast has the best coffee in Austin.  They have a dizzying variety of single origins and blends, every one of which is delicious…” When you log in to their website, you can track the origin of your coffee lot number on the home page.  They buy their coffee green and roast it themselves.  They actually know the people who grew their beans, and offer Central American varieties.

The website doesn’t say how their coffee is processed, but I’d bet that they have a variety of methods.  If you call them, or visit the storefront and asked for their cleanest, wet process (or washed process), high altitude Central American beans, they wouldn’t look at you like you had a third arm at all.  They might instead look at you like they would marry you on the spot, because you were an educated coffee drinker who cared about their craft.  

And the winner is… Site unseen, if I was in Austin, I’d head to Third Roast Coffee to get beans to make Bulletproof Coffee. It doesn’t look like they serve coffee there, which isn’t a problem since Jeremy is looking for a bean source, not a place to drink coffee. If I was going to drink coffee at a coffee house in Austin, I’d find one that used Third Roast Coffee beans, or I’d try Summermoon for the novelty of the wood fired roasting or Caffe’ Medici – but I’d be taking a small risk if their beans were processed by letting them mold in the sun (known as natural process). In San Francisco, I head to Four Barrel, NOT Blue Bottle, because, while Blue Bottle has the most fantastic brewing setup ever and is worth seeing just for that, their coffee is mostly blended or natural process, and I can feel the difference in performance from it. Four Barrel is single origin and usually has wet process beans.  Ritual Roasters is a good choice too.  In the South Bay, Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View stocks and brews Four Barrel beans. At the end of the day, to be as high performance as you can be, make the decision to either not drink coffee at all or to drink only really, really clean coffee.  The difference is profound.

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  • Steve

    Dave, any recommendations for good coffee in Victoria BC?

    • Dave Asprey

      I imagine one of the shops there must use @drumroaster beans. Carsen from Drumroaster will see this and answer here I hope! If not, I haven’t found one…but haven’t looked that hard.

    • Dave Asprey

      I haven’t found one… but haven’t looked that hard.

  • http://www.websimple.com Jeremy

    Dave, really appreciate this. Caffe Medici is just up the street from my office about a block. I stopped by and discovered they offer several single original wet process beans to choose from. Woot! http://dl.dropbox.com/u/143014/cafe_medici_chalkboard.jpg

    I mentioned that I was only looking for web process beans because they would have the least probability of carrying mold, and the guy said he thought that the roasting process would kill any mold. Is “mold” just a question of orders of magnitude (i.e. roasting may cut mold from 1 part per thousand to 1 part per million, but that 1 part per million is still unacceptable)?

    • Dave Asprey

      @Jeremy Awesome that it’s close! But if it was only a problem of killing the mold and spores, it would be easy – just microwave it. The problems is that the mold pumps out neuroactive chemicals that are heat stable (even at roasting temps for dark coffee) so even if you kill the bugs, the poisons are left behind, and those are the ones that steal your mental performance. If you drink coffee, they can make the difference between a stellar day and just feeling ok.

  • Jay Bobzin

    Very useful post Dave, thanks!

  • Patri Friedman

    Would love to see the equivalent of this for at-home coffee – what online order sources are reliable, how to store / prep coffee so that it’s safe.

    • Dave Asprey

      Patri, I’ll work on that one. Excellent idea. Also working to find a US-based roaster who ships who will adhere to my guidelines so I can offer Bulletproof-certified coffee. Anyone out there have a suggestion?

      • Diane

        Check out Macy’s European Coffee House in Flagstaff, AZ. If owner Tim Macy doesn’t already have a coffee bean that meets your standards, he might be happy to add one. http://macyscoffee.net/

        • Bridget

          Vashon Island Roasterie used to do Seattle’s Best roasting but now is just local. I’m sure they have means/capacity still.

  • Zak Ryan

    Thanks Dave! I found a local roaster using this method, for some reason it was at the bottom of the best coffee places list instead of the top, I knew I had the right place when some of the reviews were negative because the proprietors were “pretentious” about their coffee.

    • Dave Asprey

      Zak, that’s awesome. When it comes to coffee, they can call me pretentious or even neurotic – as long as I’m bulletproof after drinking it, I just don’t care! :)

  • http://www.thirdcoastcoffee.com Clay

    Dave,

    Thanks for the hat tip! While we don’t sell coffee to drink, we do always have some brewed for the very welcome visitor to our roastery. And yes — we have coffee from a variety of origins processed in a multitude of ways, most of which are a washed or wet process. Any time you (or any of your readers) are in Austin, feel free to stop by and check us out, or ask us for a list of local shops that serve our coffee.

    Cheers,
    Clay
    Third Coast Coffee
    thirdcoastcoffee.com

  • Andrew Reece

    I don’t suppose you’d know of anywhere in the UK to get good coffee?

    • Dave Asprey

      Probably follow the steps in this post. I always brought my own to Cambridge…British coffee is not something to write home about. It’s a tea place!

      • Andrew Reece

        Haha too true! (Despite the huge numbers of Costa and Starbucks… eugh)

        • http://www.facebook.com/petros.constantopoulos Petros Constantopoulos

          don’t suppose you’ve found a good coffee bean source in the UK ? :), I’m from Stafford

          Cheers

        • justextreme

          Try Shropshire Coffee based in Wolverhampton

    • Mminstructor

      Google ‘london coffee map’ and you will find a map and list of london ‘s best cafes and roasters, and research from there. There is in fact a number of roasters and cafes that rival the best in the usa. The london coffee scene has grown immensely the last few years.

  • Makid

    Dave, aren’t you worried about the long term hippocampus effects which limit learning?

    “Researchers have found that long-term consumption of low dose caffeine slowed hippocampus-dependent learning and impaired long-term memory in mice. Caffeine consumption for 4 weeks also significantly reduced hippocampal neurogenesis compared to controls during the experiment. The conclusion was that long-term consumption of caffeine could inhibit hippocampus-dependent learning and memory partially through inhibition of hippocampal neurogenesis.[63]” Wikipedia.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    • Dave Asprey

      This is an interesting study – do you know if they were testing coffee or purified caffeine? Many tests I’ve read say “caffeine” but they actually test with cheap coffee and its attendant molds. If this is a solid study, it’s food for thought. I haven’t come across it before.

      • Makid

        I can’t be sure whether it was pure caffeine or coffee, but the study is here:

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17400186

        It’s the one thing that keeps me from consuming coffee, or rather, pure caffeine (I’m not concerned about consuming a pleasant beverage, but a dose of pure caffeine to improve cognition).

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZFJ6FEJEO7UNNLUPRQ3HSSLNU Rick

          I am suspicious of this study, even though I can only read the abstract, because of the difference of intent between humans and mice. It seems to me that a stimulated human would be more aware of their stimulation and therefore be more intent on remembering, therefore protecting their hippocampus. In other words, I imagine animals other than humans as being more susceptible to being “caught up” in the stimulation because of a weaker self-awareness.

  • Larry

    I know a poster below had a question about finding clean, at home coffee, have you made any progress on this matter. Would it be worth taking a chance on the locally roasted Whole Foods coffees? I’m loving the diet so far, I found your website via an email from Kirez. Thanks for all that you do here!

  • Casey

    I’m frightfully new to this blog, and to all things super-clean-coffee related. I was wondering if any readers have tried Raven’s Brew Roasters coffee, or would mind stopping by their website http://www.ravensbrew.com and taking a gander, as I can buy that brand locally, and have no clue what “fluid-bed air-convection” means. My apologies for my ignorance, and thank you Dave for an already enlightening blog.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=706353932 Mackenze McAleer

    Panama grows the most expensive coffee in the world, and as someone who’s lived here for 6+ years now, I am happy to report that its also some of the best tasting coffee in the world too. My friend Lee @ http://www.BoqueteGuide.com has some organic Panamanian coffee set up for e-commerce and international delivery. I’m sitting here with my cup of bulletproof coffee with Janson beans and Anchor, New Zealand butter as I type this. Its delicious.

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  • Amy

    anyone know of good coffee in the UK?

    • LV

      Hasbean.co.uk has a good selection, including several washed processed.

  • Neil

    Anyone have suggestions for good local coffee in the Chicago metro area?

    • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.m.sheehan.3 Peter Steele

      Hi Neil, i’m also from the Chicago area…just wondering if you ever got any suggestions from anyone for an excellent coffee to drink ?

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  • Brian P

    Not sure if this is the proper place to post this question as I am new to this site. Does anyone know how the use of good coffee while on Vivance (for ADD) will work? I am hoping to get off of Vivance completely but it is helping quite a bit at work.

    • http://armilegge.com Armistead Legge

      Great question. I’ve put it on the list for the podcast :)

      • Brian P

        Thanks Armi – is there a way to get notified if the question is answered or addressed?

        • http://armilegge.com Armistead Legge

          I know we haven’t answered it yet, but in the future, you can type the question into the search bar and it will probably show up.

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  • Sara

    I travel a lot too. It could be fun to source the beans and pack my aero press. But I’m curious what you do about your grass fed butter on the road, or do you just drink it black?

  • Julian

    Are there any proven sources for this kind of coffee in Europe or especially in Germany. Thank you.

  • Mohirah Hall

    Dave, I love the content, and am really looking forward to trying out some of your concept. Regarding BP Coffee, I should be looking for wet process beans in LA to use for bulletproof coffee? Is it okay if I make the coffee in a French Press?

    • Dave Asprey

      Wet has the best odds at a normal coffee house but the process I use (mechanical) is superior. Only 2% of coffee gets that!

      • Ray Vinson

        Is this mechanical process you speak of just skin removal and forced demucilage? Also, most chocolate involves a fermentation of the beans. Does this mean that chocolate is adding mycotoxins to my diet along with it’s theobromine etc?

        • Dave Asprey

          Yes, but there are variables in the mechanical process to optimize too. From a chocolate perspective, a lot of chocolate has mold and amines; it’s actually harder to get right than coffee. Working on that problem now!

  • http://twitter.com/msavastano77 Mark Savastano

    I buy all my green-bean coffee from Sweet Marias http://www.sweetmarias.com/.

    Let me preface this by saying, roasting your own beans is very easy, even with no equipment, and the quality is absolutely fantastic. Roasted beans have a shelf-life of days and ground coffee beans have a shelf-life that can be measured in hours.

    If you are willing to put half-stick of butter into your coffee, myself included, I would imagine roasting your own beans would not be too far out of your comfort zone.

    That being said, Sweet Marias has very affordable green beans generally range betweeen 6$-9$ per pound with bulk discounts. They carry anywhere between 30-50 varieties from all over the world at any one time, many different factors affect this. They are very informative and you can easily go into their full reviews on all beans and see where it came from, what process was used to dry, whethere it’s organic, and basically anything you need. I would imagine you could email them for something you couldn’t find on the site

    Instead of seeking out the best coffee locally, this is probably a very good, if not better alternative.

    • Dave Asprey

      Hi Mark,
      That’s a nice site, and I’ve home-roasted myself. Thanks for sharing. If you’re going to try doing this, go for the Central American beans. All they have right now are wet process, many of which are probably great beans, and all of which are going to be lower in toxins than a typical mainstream Starbucks type coffee. But there is a lot of info that goes into Upgraded Coffee that isn’t listed on Sweet Marias, or on any coffee site I know of. Stuff like:
      -How experienced are the coffee pickers (actually matters!)
      -How long is the time before the beans are processed
      -What is the hold time for fermentation for the wet process (note Upgraded Coffee is NOT fermented at all, which is one reason it works so much better cognitively) -How is the coffee stored once it’s processed
      -etc etc etc

      If you’re going to home roast, try different varieties to see which ones have side effects of toxins (runny nose, dry eyes, jitters, aggression, headache, joint pain, GI, etc.) Even if you’re not sensitive, if you pay attention to your body, you can “feel” what different coffee does to you.
      From a storage perspective, ground coffee is bad news unless you nitrogen flush it and store it very carefully. Whole roasted beans are good for much longer, especially the way we pack them (properly vented bags with a 1-way valve), and we ship right after roasting to keep it fresh, fresher than you’ll get from most places that aren’t roasting in front of your eyes.

      • http://twitter.com/msavastano77 Mark Savastano

        Thanks Dave

        I appreciate the response, and I really enjoy your site. I StumbledUpon it the other day and I love it. I’ve kind of been a bio-hacker my whole life but I guess I haven’t realized it or knew there was a name for it, although not to the level you are on. I have an intense desire to learn new things, become more intelligent, and I am very motivated. I go through phasses of devouring books on certain subjects to become knowledgeable, I want to become financially free to by owning my own business. My mind is all over the place, sometimes I just don’t know where to start.

        I just had my daughter a month ago, and I just want to better myself for my family, and provide a better life for them, although I am not poor by any strech.

        Lately I have been feeling tired, I’m a little overweight, and my focus has been lacking. I tried your bulletproof coffee the other day, and it’s wonderfull. It gives me the perfect amount of energy I need, and I haven’t even tried it with CO or MCT oil yet. I am losing weight at an alraming rate. I can’t wait to start doing the I3 n-back training, that is right up my alley. I’m always looking for ways to upgrade.

        Anyways I am starting to ramble, just wanted to say thanks.

        Mark

      • Jennifer

        For those of us who like to roast our own…would you consider selling your variety green? Then we’d have the best of all possible coffee worlds:)

  • Stephklop2007

    Is there a coffee i can buy at a big chain grocery store that would work?

    • Dave Asprey

      LOL, if there was, I’d be drinking it too and wouldn’t have had to do all this work to figure out how to make Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee! Seriously – I’ve never found good, mold and amine free grocery store coffee. It’s a freshness and supply chain problem.

      • Kim

        I found a high altitude Costa Rican coffee at Trader Joe’s which tastes good. Do you think it’s okay? Or any other coffees from Trader Joe’s?

  • emily

    hey dave, i love your blog! i live in portland where small local roasters abound. one of the biggest local roasters is stumptowncoffee.com and they’ve got lots of single origin coffees, several of latin american/ethiopian/indonesian coffees, they buy them green and roast them here. but i asked today if they had wet processed beans, and was told that they had beans that were washed and then fermented. is this the same thing? here’s a blurb from the website about the processing of one of their guatemalan single varietals:

    Arturo Sr. and Jr. ensure perfect cherry selection and utilize cherry flotation to sort by density. Disc depulpers remove the cherry prior to extended fermentation which can last up to 72 hours in a cold climate. The coffee is then double washed and soaked. Patio pre-drying prepares the beans for a final low temperature drum drying.

    is this the right method?

    thanks for all the great info here!!!

    • Dave Asprey

      You can get great coffee at Stumptown! A famous roaster and importer. The beans you describe are safer than natural process but the 72 hour ferment does introduce flavors (and amines and or mycotoxins) that are not produced in the Upgraded Coffee production process.
      That said, try them! If they make you feel great, you found a good coffee for you. Better yet, do a double blind comparison of how you feel on the Stumptown vs Upgraded. ;)

      • emily

        Awesome Dave! Tx for the reply. I love the idea of doing a double blind test…tx again :)

  • Vansheepr

    Heavenly Aroma) Aroma del Cielo is our pure, premium, high – grown coffee, exclusively from the misty mountains of Adjuntas, Puerto Rico. In addition to what we cultivate and harvest from Hacienda Monte Alto, we buy direct from a select group of growers here in Adjuntas, roast it ourselves, and it shows in the quality, taste and of course, the aroma! High grown, single – origin coffee from Adjuntas, Puerto Rico 100% Arabica Premium Grade Coffee Processed with pure Mountain Spring Water Dried at low Temperatures to preserve the aromatic oils and flavors Free of Preservatives

    • amorfiss

      Currently drinking this coffee wondering if it will make the cut.

  • faisalsa

    Have you considered using glass straws? They’re super classy and toxin free. I’ve seen a few brands out there. my favorite is simply straws, i love the travel case each straw comes with http://bit.ly/simplystraws

  • DrHouse

    Hello, I was wondering what is the best coffee in Italy and also the best grass-fed butter?? (Why shipping cost to Italy is so high??)

  • Rob

    Hi Dave,

    What about Caffe Sanora Organic Signature Roast, which is available in my local store?

    http://www.caffesanora.com/Organic-Signature-Roast/p/CAF-000052&c=CaffeSanora@Coffee

    They claim: “By specially handling our beans, in the field and during each step of our patented roasting process, Caffe Sanora is able to retain 100% of our coffee’s natural antioxidants” & “Certified 100% Organic by an independent USDA certified lab.” Also “Our coffee is Rainforest Alliance certified.”

    Unfortunately they do not mention anything about the washing process. Caffe Sanora is grown and roasted in Honduras, Central America. It is an Arabica coffee bean.

    Your take please.

    • Dave Asprey

      It may be fine! You can take moldy, high amine beans and put them through a proprietary roasting process to increase antioxidants, and that’s what some companies do. They don’t pick those beans on purpose; they just don’t realize how much of a problem it is in coffee. But if you feel GREAT on that coffee, with no jitters etc, it’s probably ok for you.

  • Elizabeth

    Dave,
    You are my hero!! Honestly!!! I absolutely LOVE this coffee with my mct oil and butter. It’s so delicious and i have boundless energy to work with my disabled preschoolers (i have never experienced this before). However, I ALSO love black coffee. So i alternate. But your brand is medium roast :( My background is Dominican and we like our black coffee : STRONG!!! we usually have an espresso roast such as Bustelo (which i’m sure is not bullet proof :(. So my question/request: When are you going to offer different varieties of roasts? Is that coming soon? I want more variety b/c i love your coffee so much!!!!! or is it that there’s more myotoxins in darker roasts? hmmm

    Also, whenever i make the bulletproof coffee with butter and mct oil, i experience a scratchy sensation in my throat. Is this normal? can i be reacting to something ? (i follow your recipe to the t) , have other people experienced this?

    • Dave Asprey

      Dark roasts have less antioxidants; they usually roast lower quality beans darker! ;)
      We may do a dark roast though if enough people ask for it!

      A small percentage of people feel scratchy throat from mct. Try coconut oil to see if there’s a difference. You may get used to it as your fatty acid membranes improve with a higher fat diet.

      • Denisepr

        Have to agree with the vote for a dark roast.I believe, a dark roasted coffee does not have to be over roasted or burnt.

        • Trey Milligan

          Another belated vote for dark roast. I love the rich, smokey, caramel flavors of darker roasts. We can just drink twice as much to make up for the relative lack of antioxidants.

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  • Q & Q Estate Jewelry LLC

    Anyone in the Bay Area want to split a 5 pound bag? I don’t think I can finish that much coffee before it starts losing flavor.

  • http://natalializon.wordpress.com/ Natalia Lizon

    Can you recommend a coffee from Drumroaster? Does it matter?

    • Dave Asprey

      Walk in and ask Carsen, “What coffee would Dave drink?” ?

  • JPBA

    Dave,

    Great stuff! Discovered your site recently and spent the past week’s Fourth of July roadtrip vacation powering through your podcasts back-to-back from the beginning.

    I’m a huge coffee snob and now enjoying the bulletproof style of preparation for the past week, and fasting until dinner.

    I’m in the Bay area too, and so need to point out a correction in this post. You say that in the Bay area you use Four Barrel NOT Blue Bottle, based on Bulletproof criteria.

    Unfortunately, either you got them reversed or they both have changed their policy. Because based on reading about their current coffee selection it’s Blue Bottle — not Four Barrel — who has multiple kinds of single-origin, wet process, Central American beans; Four Barrel has zero.

    Blue Bottle’s current beans (as of 7/9/2012) that meet the bulletproof criteria are:

    Mexico – Chiapas PROISH
    Honduras – Capucas
    Guatemala – Maya Ixil
    Costa Rica – La Amistad

    Can you post a correction to the blog post so folks don’t waste time (and risk health) going to the wrong place?

    • Dave Asprey

      It varies over time, but Four Barrel usually has at least one that meets the criteria; in my experience Blue Bottle doesn’t often have even one. Plus, the Blue Bottle blends always cause issues because blends dramatically increase the odds that some contaminated beans will enter the mix, and Four Barrel doesn’t blend.
      This is the kind of problem that led me to create Upgraded Coffee – I got tired of finding good beans, enjoying them for a week or a month until the roaster ran out of that microlot, and then having to test again, and again, and often getting a pound of beans and then throwing them out when I found they had amines or mycotoxins or both.
      For an extra $2/bag, Upgraded Coffee isn’t overpriced at all, and it delivers what’s most important to me – consistently low in toxins with good flavor. Playing roulette with my brain’s focus on a daily basis isn’t fun. ?

      • http://obsessivenotcompulsive.com Sue Kim

        Dave, what did you use to test the beans at home?

      • chad

        I would be more than happy to purchase Bulletproof coffee if it were only $2 more……but your shipping costs are almost as much as the coffee! (Frustrated Canadian here!)

  • emily johnson

    hey dave! finally got around to ordering some bulletproof coffee and it’s delicious BUT i noticed on the back that it’s single origin guatemalan from portland roasting company and i live in portland! it’s funny because i was just finishing up some PRC beans before my bulletproof ones arrived. i’m wondering if it’s the same single origin guatemalan that PRC sells (you can buy their beans in local grocery stores here) or if it’s specially formulated for you. seems silly to pay for shipping when i can go and get it roasted that day right off the shelf but i wanted to see if there was any difference. would any/all of the single origin beans offered by PRC qualify as bulletproof? thanks so much for your awesome site and for being so diligent about answering questions here!!

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  • Amber

    Hi Dave, I am excited to switch from BP fasting from regular intermittent fasting because the later tends leave me feeling stressed which I know is not helpful for fat burning. I’m sort of confused though on what coffee is the best to buy locally? From this article it seems any brand that is organic and “single-origin” (not sure what that means) is okay right? I have a few organic options from my local whole foods and trader joes, but I want to pick the best one. Thank you!

    • MC 703

      Dave prefers that you buy his brand

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  • Kim

    Hey Dave! I just gave up coffee for thyroid and adrenal health and am wondering if I can do Bulletproof tea with butter? Would it work the same and still put me into fat burning?

    • http://www.facebook.com/katharine.kimbriel Katharine Eliska Kimbriel

      When I can’t have my butter & coconut with coffee, I have it with premium green tea, and still slide into fat burning. Dave does mention that elsewhere on the site.

  • Felix

    I’ve always avoided coffee since i feel like i have the flu afterwards. But thinking about it, when i was in the mountains in Morocco and drank proper coffee, i felt fine. Figures.

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  • Bryce Hardcastle

    If I’m not trying to lose weight but gain is the bulletproof Coffee system still beneficial?Thank You

  • pauline

    i just moved to rio de janeiro, does anyone know where to buy good qualtiy coffee here? also, the brazilians say their all their cattle grass fed,and of good quality, but i recently read an article saying the grass here is sprayed by a chemical called 24D which is supposedly extremely toxic and dangerous (killing all plants and trees exept grass). does this mean i should stop eating grass fred brasilian meat and butter?

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  • Doug

    Hi Dave, I was wondering if you have any recommendations for good coffee in the Chicago area? Also, I was very interested in your opinion of Kim’s Bulletproof Tea idea. Thanks in advance.

    • Doug

      I forgot to add, if not Chicago is there anywhere else in IL? I get around the state a lot and would get some if i found it somewhere.

      • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.m.sheehan.3 Peter Steele

        hey Doug, just wondering if you ever discovered a very good coffee anywhere around Chicago ? i live in the south suburbs and have just learned about the whole Bulletproof concept, and am looking to find the best coffee in my area…thanx for any ideas you might have ! Tim

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  • http://www.facebook.com/katharine.kimbriel Katharine Eliska Kimbriel

    Dave — In case no one ever got around to telling you? Third Coast Coffee in Austin, TX rocks. You nailed it — they generally have several beans that will fill the bill, as well as high altitude African for a friend of mine. First coffee that doesn’t make me ill. The staff has no problem with clients requesting single origin, high altitude, wet process — they even respond to the words “What’s bulletproof today?”

    Best coffee beans in town.

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  • stacey

    Where in BC (Canada) can I get low toxin coffee? There are some brands that are single origin/organic etc…but I’m skeptical.

    • Nandhi

      Anywhere Just Us! Coffee is sold. 100% certified organic, and solid producer/roaster relations.

  • ChrisO

    What’s the best coffee in LA?

    • J Schaefer

      Look for Intelligensia, and I believe Blue Bottle is opening a couple of new locations down there.

  • Todd

    Dave, any advice on coffee in Singapore? I’m a real neophite for
    this healthy coffee stuff. I’m a VERY recently reformed daily starbucks drinker!

    I found a nice coffee shop that roasts their own beans and they say they don’t have fair trade or “organic” per se but that their beans are “farm direct” that they buy directly from farms. They claim everything they carry is chemical free which I find hard to believe but maybe some of it is?

    This is what they have now and they change it up quarterly, this is Q2 2013:

    Single Origin:
    Rwanda Sake
    Region:
    Cyangugu Province Processing: Fully Washed Preparation Methods:
    Filter Varietal: Kent. Bourbon Tasting Notes: Mild acidit. Smooth
    mouthfeel. Clean finish. Altitude: 1400 – 1900 MASL

    Kenya Mugaga
    Region: Mugaga, Nyeri Processig: Fully
    Washed. Preparation Methods: Espresso or filter Varietal: SL34 SL28
    Tasting Notes: Sparkling Acidity. Grapefruit. Plum. Altitude: 1280 –
    1830 MASL

    Kenya Kathangrir
    Region: Kathangriri Processing:
    Fully Washed Preparation Methods: Filter Varietal SL34 SL28 Tasting
    Notes: Blackcurrants. Balanced with fine acidity. Altitude: 1600 MASL

    Burundi Rutana
    Region: Rutana Processing: Fully Washed
    Preparation Methods: Filter Varietal: SL28 Tasting Notes: Bright.
    Apricot and cocoa. Altitude: 1200 MASL

    Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Oromia

    Region: Sidamo
    Processing: Fully Washed Preparation Methods: Filter Varietal:
    Ethiopian Heirloom Tasting Notes: Floral. Rounded acidity. Medium
    body. Altitude: 1900 MASL

    Other Single Origins Available in Limited Quantity:
    Panama Villa Donia, PNG Peaberry Kimel Estate, Brazil Sao Benedito, Guatemala San Rafael, Dominican Republic Barahona, Columbia Campo Bello,
    Peru Yanesha

    They also have blends: Terra Firma, 1000 Cups, Nuts + Bolts. But you say avoid blends so I won’t give details on those.

    Any guidance here? I tried the Kenya Mugaga but I’m not a huge fan of the flavor. Maybe I can learn tolike if you say it’s a good one for peak performance. Do you have any specific regions, varieties or bean types you recommend?

    Also
    on another note, I think the aeropress makes the best cup of coffee
    that doesn’t come from a super expensive machine (or at least AN
    espresso machine). Still plastic in something that is coming in contact
    with food, especially something that has fats and oils like coffee
    makes me uncomfortable. Do you have a position on that?
    but it’s made from plastic. I don’t like that. But they insist it’s
    BPA free and food safe.

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  • Dom

    Ok all you coffee nerds, can you please enlighten me?

    Here’s what the local roaster and supplier I found has to say about the processing of their single origin beans – they list ALL the altitudes and processing methods, but they have so many variants for process I am confused…
    “100% washed, 50% sun and 50% mechanical dried”
    “Fully Washed”
    “Washed”
    “Wet Hulled”
    ” Wet-hulled (“Giling basah”)”
    “Washed, Monsooned”
    “Mill Dried Natural”
    “Natural”
    “Pulped Natural”

    So I assume the last three are NOT ok, but are all of the first six good, or are some of the first six better than others? Is drying method after washing an issue?
    Also anything above 1200 MASA is what I’m after, right?

    Thanks

    • J Schaefer

      Fully washed, washed, 100% washed are all of the washed or “wet process” variety.

      Wet hulled is a partial wet process. The mucilage from the coffee cherry stays on the beans for a period after the skin is removed. Also, these beans don’t get dried as thoroughly. I would expect that the incomplete drying process would lead to increased mycotoxins, but I don’t know for sure. This is a process used in indonesian coffees.

      Monsooned coffee is exposed to monsoon rain and winds for 3 to 4 months causing the beans to swell. Lots of opportunity for fungus in this, as well, I would guess.

      Any of the “natural” process beans are directly opposite the washed beans. Natural process means they’re dried prior to removing the skins. The beans get dried in the fruit and then the fruit is removed later. This is they type it seems we’re trying to avoid, primarily.

      I feel it is a bit misleading to simply say you should avoid all blends. While it’s true that adding more varieties of beans could increase the possibility of adding a type of bean that is “infected”, it’s perfectly possible to have a blend of only washed coffees.

      Also, going to high end coffee roasters to get your beans does not reduce the chances that they’ll be roasting natural process coffee. I can tell you from experience that some of the best tasting coffees are also natural-processed. Almost all Ethiopian coffees are processed this way, for example. However, that said, going to a high end roaster to get your beans will almost ensure that they will know what you mean when you ask for a washed varietal. They’ll know that and a lot more about the coffee. But they won’t give a damn about the mycotoxins, nor likely know what you’re talking about on that front.

  • Adam Breen

    Hi Dave, check out the best coffee I’ve ever tasted (and I’ve drunk a LOT of different coffees in my time): it’s Green Cauldron, from Byron Bay, Australia: http://www.greencauldron.com/coffee/from_seed_to_cup.aspx

  • gab

    I live in Cairns Australia and we have several local coffee growing farms that sell direct and through a farmers market. I have been buying them recently but am wondering if you think it should be of quality. I haven’t been getting the crash which is probably a good sign? Thanks

  • LauraJ

    I love Bulletproof coffee, but would it be possible to make Bulletproof Dark Roast?

  • stacy

    Is there any “safe” coffee brands/types we can buy from Whole Foods? Im not a fan of ordering online

  • stacy

    I have one concern about coffee….Cyrex labs is a goldstandard for measuring cross-reactivity of non-gluten foods to producing similar reactions to gluten. Coffee is a food that can elicit a “gluten” response in many susceptible people. I tested high for this marker. Does that mean that even bulletproof coffee should be avoided?

  • Tarrin

    Dear Dave

    I live in South Africa and cannot afford to import coffee. Most of our ground coffee is blended coffee. Asking for wet process, high altitude Arabica in a store is like speaking Greek.

    For pragmatic reasons, I simply have to choose the product that most matches your requirements. Nespresso guarantees the wet process “washed” method of all its products and within their range I have identified two “pure single origin espresso’s” Rosabaya de Colombia and Dulsao de Brasil. Which do you recommend of the two?

    I really appreciate your advice.

    Thanks

    Tarrin

    • Adrian Boutelje

      Hi Tarrin
      Have you found anything yet in SA?

  • Jack

    Dave,
    I travel almost weekly and to little towns in the middle of no where. How can I travel by plane and still make bulletproof coffee.

  • jay

    is nescafe any good?

  • jay

    can you get grass fed butter and MCT oil or an equivalent in any major supermarkets in England?

  • jay

    what else can you use except for coconuts

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  • Michael

    http://www.asgreenasitgets.org/ these people sell very high quality, clean coffee and it’s one of the most socially healthy models I’ve found

  • Gulp

    Is nespresso using good coffee for bulletproof coffee?

  • Marion Avant-Horan

    hey dave… please…every thing is about the U S.. what about us Canadians that want to get on this lifestyle.. online ordering is not something that we are all comfortable doing. I am very interested in this but alas we have none of your butter here and what about those coffee beans, please advise what choice as Canadians we have. without traveling to the u s to bring the butter back. my girlfrnd will be going down to Washington but is allowed only 20 dollars worth of the butter. thanks for caring.
    marion
    o

    • Chantal E

      Totally agree Marion! And its 30$ to ship to canada which is quite alot!

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  • http://www.houseofworshippers.com/ Michelle @ House of Worshipper

    Third Coast DOES serve coffee now too! Thanks for your article. DH and I started selling coffee that has coffeeberry in it- and when I ran out and went back to some from Sprouts (it was closer than Third Coast and I was waiting for our shipment) – I realized that I went back to being tired after drinking it. Your article brought it all to light! Back to bulletproof from Third Coast or SoZo… I use coconut oil, is that what you mean by MFC?

  • Chantal E

    Hey Dave!
    My body doesn’t really react to coffee, I only drink it as a treat and/or substitude for snacking at night. I do enjoy a cup in the morning but by no means does it “wake me up” I’ve tried caffeine pills and I don’t feel anything from them either… Was wondering if it would be worth giving BP a chance?? It’s also quite costly to get my first shipment of coffee+ MCT+ shipping so I didn’t want to invest 100$ on something before getting some feedback, thanks so much!!

  • Gnm Kenyan Coffee

    Or you can investigate Kenya AA now available online and delivered to your door. Straight out of Kenya by way of Indianapolis. Find us at www. Gnmkenyancoffee.com

    • J Schaefer

      Kenyan coffees are almost all of the washed variety, btw.

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  • JCJC777

    can I buy bulletproof coffee in UK, and if not what can I buy that is equivalent? thanks

  • Asa

    Great article, thanks, but what gives with not offering Bulletproof in Canada? Do you not live in Canada? I am near Kelowna, BC and can’t find it in Nature’s Fare, Nature’s Harvest or Choices. The kicker is, I swear I saw a whole stand of it in some store, many months ago, and it didn’t register because I’m not a coffee drinker. It could have been in Ontario. Now I want to try coffee again, after 20-30 years, because of your podcasts! Please, if you don’t sell in Canada, can you give me a heads up on another brand sold here in the natural food stores? Or is it best to ferret out my own local roaster?

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  • Nathan

    Very interesting article, but you failed to find the best cup of coffee in Austin. That honor is bestowed upon Houndstooth.

  • Carina

    Is trader joes organic trade five country espresso blend coffee bullet proof?
    I just bought it and it tastes good but know nothing about its toxic ingredients like in your article. Also if I drink non organic coffee I will ultimately get migraines.

    • Stephan

      It has blend in the name, i feel like he was saying, DONT get blends in the article that you just read..

  • isa_matias

    Recently I was REALLY low on money and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money.. on the internet! I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills! I’m so glad, I did this! – 9zb1

  • Tung Ho Manh

    Hi Dave, I am in Hanoi, Vietnam. How can I find good coffee here?

  • Wildlife safaris India

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9xCUszDjXM

    Cultural holidays India

    I have subscribed the feed and looking forward for the followup subscriptions. Very nice post of the day. I hope every one should get the maximum benefit from this.

  • Ri

    Hi, Where can I buy coffee in local stores? Do you recommend that I just purchase the organic coffee? I can’t afford your coffee currently, but it is something I want to work up to.

  • pootanki

    I buy my coffee from 2 places. One from Costco: Jose’s Whole Bean Coffee Vanilla Nut 100% Arabica Coffee. Medium roast. Comes from Vernon, CA. I live in LA. I don’t crash later. Does it have mycotoxins? Beats me. The other coffee I buy is on line. The best tasting coffee ever. It’s a bit more expensive, but well worth it. Comes from New Orleans. It’s called Orleans Coffee Exchange and it comes in some very subtle varied flavors. Not overwhelming. It’s made by Specialty Coffee LC in Kenner, Louisiana. Does it have mycotoxins? I have no idea. It also doesn’t make me crash.

  • roe

    Would 100% kona coffee be considered bullet proof coffee?

  • Vicki

    I think you should reconsider Summermoon in Austin. I was reading about Bulletproof coffee for the first time today, and I immediately thought about getting my “upgraded” coffee from Summermoon. I know these people very well, and they are as conscientious as they come. They are all about producing the very best, purest coffee. (I’m going to their website to order some right now. Yes, they are long-time friends of mine, and that’s why I trust them.)

  • Betsy

    I second the recommendation for the best coffee roasters in Austin, but you’ve got to fix the name of the nicest, most generous supporters of rock climbers in Austin in your article! It’s Third COAST Coffee! Visit thirdcoastcoffee.com Thanks!

  • Shione

    I like the clean taste of you coffee but would like a bolder taste, will you expand your selection?

  • Sofia

    Hi there! Living in Thailand it can be challenging to get the right coffee and the right butter; have been using good quality coffee and Anchor unsalted butter and have been adding organic coconut oil – love the taste and energy I get for hours in the morning. Any recommendations on brand coffee to use here? Someone said I should not drink every day…? Why not?? Asking as tricky to ship your products here…customs, tax etc etc…Please advice! Thanks – Sofia

  • Dave Asprey

    Me too! ?

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