We all know that drinking coffee has some truly amazing benefits for your health, but is there another way to hack your morning brew to get even more from the small but mighty beverage? Some people certainly think so. Let's take a look at the latest health invention: bulletproof coffee.
What is bulletproof coffee?
The initial concept for bulletproof coffee is fairly straightforward: coffee made with butter instead of milk, with a medium chain triglyceride (MCT) added to it, usually in an oil form, either from the creator's website or in the form of coconut oil. Invented by the creator of the Bulletproof diet Dave Asprey, it has grown in popularity over the years, especially in the crowds following a Keto or Paleo diet. Also known as butter or Keto coffee, bulletproof coffee has been espoused for its ability to keep the drinkers full and fuelled, as well as focussed, without the crash that some associate with traditional coffee consumption. It’s also being touted as a weight loss aid when drunk in the place of breakfast.
What is the science behind Bulletproof coffee?
Science has known for a long time that a diet rich in unsaturated fat, such as the Mediterranean diet, is the one that is best for our long-term health. But is putting butter in our coffee going just a tad too far?
While bulletproof coffee may have its legion of fans, it doesn’t have much science to back it up. While we know categorically that high-fat or high-protein foods will keep us feeling full (so thus less likely to snack) the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet assessed it for its efficacy and safety.
If we break down the components of a bulletproof coffee, we can begin to see why it is seen to be a healthy addition to any (particularly low-carb) diet regime.
Is bulletproof coffee healthier than regular coffee?
Coffee, in general, is known to be good for you, with various studies showing it could help lower the risk of certain cancers, and heart disease, and reduce the development of various degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's.
It is also somewhat useful in a weight loss situation, as it can keep your bowels regular and acts as a diuretic. Not to mention warm fluid makes you feel full and the energy of the coffee can counter the general lethargy commonly associated with low calorie diets.
Bulletproof coffee as a weight-loss tactic
There is also growing evidence that a low carbohydrate diet could be beneficial to people with type-2 diabetes. As bulletproof coffee is one of the drinks (and tactics) used in low-carb diets, this may account for some of its credited efficacy. There are also arguments that bulletproof coffee is too high in saturated fatty acids to be healthy- with an average cup containing between 7-14g of this, depending on the amount of butter used.
It's all in the oil
Most of the purported research into bulletproof coffee is the quoted study into MCT oils and their benefits. MCT oils are easy to get hold of and contain medium triglyceride fats. These fats are generally considered healthier than other fats as they have a shorter chain of fat so they can be absorbed quicker by the body. Research has shown that these are potentially more beneficial to the body than long-chain fats, especially when weight loss is the desired outcome.
Finally, there is the consideration of what nutrients, fibre and other vital dietary needs you are losing out on if you replace your morning meal with butter and coffee. That is unless what you were eating before was way less healthy than a bulletproof coffee, or nothing at all.
So, how do you make bulletproof coffee?
What is bulletproof coffee depends on who you as, as some people contend that it's only true bulletproof if it is used with the right ingredients.
As with most things health or taste-related, you want the highest quality ingredients you can find, so they can perform to the optimum level.
In the case of bulletproof coffee, this will mean freshly roasted, freshly ground and freshly brewed coffee, from superior coffee beans.
For the butter, you want grass-fed, organic coffee which hasn’t been salted.
To make bulletproof coffee you will need:
- 1 cup of fresh coffee
- 1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or ghee)
- 1 tsp MCT oil
Bulletproof coffee recipe:
- Place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor.
- Blend for 20-30 seconds until it has all blended, the consistency should be a creamy foam, akin to a latte.
- Drink immediately, before the ingredients begin to separate.
Do you have to blend Bulletproof coffee?
Technically, no. To get the health benefits from bulletproof coffee, you do not need to blend or whisk it. The composition of the drink will be vastly different, however - you won't get the same emulsion reaction of mixing the ingredients. Instead, you can expect a coffee that largely stays black, with oil sitting on the top and a slowly melting lump of butter near the bottom of the cup. There are however a few other ways to combine the ingredients if you don't have access to a blender…
How to make bulletproof coffee without a blender:
For all of these methods, it would help the process if you microwave the mixture a little before so that the butter is already starting to melt.
- Milk frothing wand - for this method you will need a frothing wand such as you would use to make hot chocolate.
Put all of the ingredients into a tall-sided container (both as it will increase in volume but also can get rather messy) and immerse the wand fully into the mixture, making sure it is not hitting the bottom. Move the wand back and forth, and around a few times, incorporating all of the ingredients until you have a somewhat thicker consistency.
- Bulletproof coffee French Press- Be prepared for some pretty heavy cleaning of the french press after this, but needs must if you are after that latte smoothness. Place your mixture into the bottom of the cafetiere jar and plunge repeatedly, pumping air into it until it begins to expand. Once you have reached the desired consistency, serve and drink.
- Bulletproof coffee Jar method - Take your slightly melted mixture and place it into a thoroughly sealed jar with a lid. Now shake like crazy until it all mixes together. This method won’t get a fully creamy texture as the others will, but you will get an emulsified result, making a reasonably drinkable result. This may be the simplest, but the most tiring method of creating a bulletproof coffee, but if you’re drinking it for the weight loss claims, think of it as a free workout.
Alternatively, the official creator of bulletproof coffee also now makes a fully portable creamer containing the ingredients, so you can add it to any coffee while on the go.
What does bulletproof coffee taste like?
Perhaps not surprisingly, bulletproof coffee, when made to the original recipe, tastes like a latte made with butter. Or an oily version of a full-fat latte, if the butter is too difficult to imagine. However, there is a certain degree of control over how your coffee will taste: whether you opt for salted or unsalted butter, the type of butter (grass-fed, for example) as well as what variation of coffee you use - both brewing methods and the beans themselves - and finally where you get your medium chain triglyceride (MCT) from.
Who shouldn’t drink bulletproof coffee?
While the fat content of a bulletproof coffee will indeed keep you satiated and stop you from reaching for the biscuit tin, it is still incredibly high in saturated fat, and as such shouldn't really be consumed on a regular basis. Those with high cholesterol should probably steer clear altogether unless it has been discussed with their doctor. Likewise for pregnant women, although the consumption of caffeine is generally not advised anyway.
Taste wise, if you are subjecting yourself to the taste of buttery coffee, you may as well indulge in a premium single-origin coffee with outstanding flavour notes, such as a Hawaiian Kona or the spectacular, unique taste of Old Brown Java.
Generally speaking, you want something fully flavoured to cut through the richness of the butter, or a coffee bean that will work well with coconut tones, if you have chosen that as your source of MCT, such as a Papua New Guinea coffee or a Sumatra.
What coffee should I use for bulletproof coffee?
Bulletproof coffee doesn’t call for any particular type of coffee, but you simply won't get the same results with a freeze-dried instant as you would a freshly brewed coffee from beans.
It will also work with decaffeinated beans and blends, as many of the health-giving benefits of coffee lie in its other components than just its caffeine.
While the jury may be out on whether adding butter to your coffee to make a bulletproof coffee is a vital life hack or simply a fad, there is no disputing that drinking coffee is good for you (and tastes delicious!)
Whether you want to drink your coffee with cream, oat milk, butter or black, the Coffee Bean Shop will always be on hand to provide you with freshly roasted, ethically sourced coffee beans.