When people hear more than half my calories come from healthy fats, one of the most common questions after “Why?” is “How?”
Enter: Bulletproof Coffee.
What Is Bulletproof Coffee? How Do I Make It?
I first learned about the power of butter at 18,000 above sea level, near Mt. Kailash in Tibet.
I staggered into a guest house from the -10 degree weather and was literally rejuvenated by a creamy cup of yak butter tea. The biohacker in me asked, “why?” and after a couple years of careful research, that was the genesis of the recipe below, which is today, used by Billboard recording artists before they go on stage, world champion athletes, and some of the world’s top executives, because it has a massive impact on cognitive function.
It was John Patrick Henry’s 2nd cousin’s boyfriend Juan Valdez who said, “Give me high-end coffee or give me death.” That’s because clean coffee helps protect your mental edge and performance.
So, I use the lowest toxin, highest performance coffee there is (I know, because I created it and tested it!) I brew it, and then I blend unsalted, grass-fed butter into it, along with an extract of coconut oil that improves brain energy. Yes, butter. All the benefits of healthy milk fat with none of the damaging denatured casein proteins found in cream. It makes for the creamiest, most satisfying cup of coffee you’ve ever had. It will keep you satisfied with level energy for 6 hours if you need it, and because I’m having it for breakfast, I’m programming my body to burn fat for energy all day long!
The Science Behind Bulletproof Coffee
When I first tried that yak butter tea in Tibet I felt like a million bucks. I had to know why. When I got back home, I began researching butter, tea, types of fat, how fat affects your brain, etc., etc. I began experimenting in my kitchen, looking to recreate that mental and physical boost I felt after the mug of yak butter tea. I eventually moved away from tea in favor of coffee (not that I’m hating on tea; green tea in particular is great for you. If you don’t like coffee, try swapping in green tea in the recipe below. But you really owe it to yourself to try the coffee!).
Anyway, during my research and kitchen experiments I discovered a lot of powerful science around coffee, butter, and Brain Octane Oil. I’ll break it all down for you here:
Upgraded Coffee Beans are free of performance-robbing mold toxins
- My biggest concern when designing Upgraded Coffee was minimizing contamination from mycotoxins (mold toxins). One study that tested 60 coffee bean varieties found that 91% of green coffee beans were contaminated by mycotoxins.
- Another study found only 52% contamination in green coffee beans, but also found that ~50% of brewed coffee contained mycotoxins.
- Levels of mycotoxin contamination vary. In the two studies above they were relatively low, but contamination can be much higher, especially in lower-quality beans that are not processed with care.
- The European Union has set relatively high standards for mycotoxin contamination in coffee, but in the U.S. standards are much more lax. In fact, many companies try to sell coffee to Europe first, then take the coffee that Europe rejects, turn around, and sell it to the U.S.
- Upgraded Coffee is from a high-elevation, single-origin coffee estate in Guatemala. It contains high-quality Arabica beans (which are less likely to grow mold) and it’s produced using a special method (unique to Bulletproof) that minimizes mycotoxin contamination. Upgraded Coffee Beans are also tested for mold contamination and held to stringent quality standards.
- High-quality coffee is great for you. If you’re curious, here’s a whole post on the benefits of coffee.
Grass-fed butter is full of high-quality fats and nutrients
Cows evolved to eat grass, not factory farm lot feed. Grass-fed cows are healthier than factory-farmed or grain-fed cows, and the butter they produce reflects their good health. Check out this infographic for all the information that follows, as well as the scientific sources backing them. If you’d rather read a recap on this page, though, here it is:
- Grass-fed butter is higher than grain-fed butter in omega-3 fatty acids, CLA, beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin D, vitamin E, and antioxidants. You can actually see the difference in the butter: grass-fed butter is a sunny yellow color, while grain-fed/factory-farmed butter is almost white. The lack of color is a sign that the butter is coming from sick, nutrient-depleted cows.
- Grass-fed butter is high in butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid. Studies show that butyrate can both prevent and decrease inflammation in humans. In rodents, studies have shown butyrate to protect against mental illness, improve body composition, increase metabolism, and improve gut health.
- Butter is nutrient-dense. A single tablespoon of butter contains:
- 500 IU vitamin A
- More carotenes than carrots
- High amounts of vitamin K2, vitamin D, and vitamin E
Grass-fed butter is a superfood. It’s also much easier to come by than yak butter is. Kerrygold is an excellent grass-fed butter brand, and it’s stocked in most supermarkets.
Brain Octane Oil provides fast energy with no crash
Brain Octane Oil is a purified form of medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. MCTs have carbon tails that come in various lengths, from C-6 to C-12. The shorter the tail, the faster your body can absorb the MCT and convert it to ketones, little molecules that can fuel your brain instead of glucose. Brain Octane is pure C-8 MCT – it has 18 times the C-8 of coconut oil. Why not C-6, if your body processes it faster? C-6 tastes and smells terrible; C-8 is nearly tasteless and odorless, and you can still convert it to energy quickly, speeding up your metabolism and giving you a cognitive boost.
- It takes just 3 steps to convert Brain Octane to ATP (cellular fuel for both your body and brain). For context, it takes sugar 25 steps.
- Brain Octane and other MCTs bypass liver processing entirely, making them rapidly available. The same is not true for long-chain fatty acids. It’s also not true for lauric acid (C-12), the main MCT in coconut oil. That’s why you won’t get the same rapid energy boost from imitations of Bulletproof Coffee that use coconut oil instead of Brain Octane. Don’t get me wrong: coconut oil is very good for you, and it’s a superb addition to the Bulletproof Diet. It’s just not ideal for mixing into your coffee.
- Brain Octane is a key part of Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting, a protocol that boosts metabolism, burns fat, improves cognition, builds muscle…the list goes on. Check it out in the link above for more information and a full list of references.
Now let’s talk about how to make Bulletproof Coffee.
Bulletproof® Coffee Recipe
Download the Bulletproof® Coffee recipe card here.
- Brew 1 cup (8-12 oz.) of coffee using filtered water, just off the boil, with 2 1/2 heaping tablespoons freshly ground Bulletproof® Coffee Beans. (French Press is easiest.)
- Add in 1-2 tablespoons of Brain Octane™ to the hot coffee (It’s STRONG – start with 1 tsp. and work up over several days).
- Add 1-2 tablespoons grass-fed, unsalted butter or ghee
- Mix it all in a blender for 20-30 seconds until it is frothy like a foamy latte
It’s really fast and easy to prepare. Realize salted coffee is a crime. Do not do this with salted butter. Bleah.
Kerrygold butter or another grass-fed brand of butter really matters because corn or soy-fed cows don’t make butter with the same fats. Those butters don’t blend well, don’t taste good, and don’t make you feel Bulletproof.
Grass-fed butter is much healthier than other butter. It doesn’t make cholesterol levels worse, it optimizes them! Starting your day with grass-fed butter will give you lots of energy and it will give your body healthy fats that it will use to make cell walls and hormones.
If you’re like most of my friends who try this, your body is so starved for healthy fats that you feel like you can’t get enough. It will take your body a week or two to fully turn on its fat digestion systems when you switch to a high healthy fat breakfast of Bulletproof Coffee. If at first it is a little too rich, try using less butter initially then build up to the amount you like. Taking a betaine HCl or digestive enzyme supplement with your coffee will also help your body digest the butter.
Try this just once, with at least 2 Tbs of butter, and have nothing else for breakfast. You will experience one of the best mornings of your life, with boundless energy and focus. It’s amazing.
After one drink of Bulletproof® Coffee, you’ll never be tempted to eat fat-free, insulin-raising, fat-storing toast and oatmeal breakfasts again!
P.S. Thanks for linking here if you write about Bulletproof® Coffee! Bulletproof® is a registered trademark for my small company. If you want to use it, just ask!