Much hype has been made recently about bulletproof coffee. If you have yet to hear of this relatively new phenomenon sweeping hipster locales near you, it is essentially coffee with butter. The term “bulletproof” was actually coined by a company, Bulletproof Coffee. As you will see from their website, their recipe is expressly defined and their claims are baselessly bold. Nonetheless, PolisPandit had to try this cultural coffee creation, or at least a version of it.
First, let’s start with the coffee. Yes, people put butter in it. The company behind Bulletproof Coffee claims that it begins with the beans, which they recommend sourcing from single-origin coffee estates in Guatemala and Colombia. You then brew the coffee as you normally would (they recommend using a French press). Next you add two tablespoons of butter and one tablespoon of “MCT” (medium chain triglyceride oil, which is described below). Dump your concoction in a blender and whirl it together. Drink.
We will not delve deeply into the actual Bulletproof Diet (yes, they allege weight loss benefits), but we will describe the personal PolisPandit experience. Although there is strong skepticism this could (or should) replace breakfast, as Bulletproof Coffee suggests, the mixture produces a fine cup of joe. That is, the PolisPandit version of bulletproof. The company itself states that a recipe that does not use their “upgraded” (overpriced) beans and their version of MCT, which they call “brain octane”, may not work. Can you smell snake oil salesman? For a complete debunking of Bulletproof Coffee claims, read this well-written Gizmodo article.
So let’s just say we were still intrigued about what this “butter coffee” tasted like. As the pictures indicate below, we brewed regular coffee (sans the unreasonably overpriced Bulletproof beans), cut two tablespoons of butter, and mixed it into a freshly brewed 12 ounce cup. Without the assistance of a blender, we turned to old-fashioned stirring, which worked fine. One component of the recommended recipe we did not include was MCTs. These are fats often found in palm and coconut oils. The body digests this form of fat faster than the longer chain triglycerides (“LCTs”), leading to more easily accessible energy. Even though the digestive system processes MCTs quicker than most fats, given the amount of butter already floating in the coffee, we opted not to add MCTs as well.
Nevertheless, we still felt the “brain octane”, even without the Bulletproof-branded version. The butter fat is visible at the top of the coffee (if not blended), it tastes like a thick latte, and the cup o’ joe leaves you with a greasy foam on your lips. The caffeine experience was not jittery, but smooth and long-lasting. That morning’s paper received undivided attention to say the least. With that said, it was not drastically different from the caffeinated effects of the same coffee with heavy cream, whole milk, or even fat free milk.
It should go without saying that the experience did not prove or disprove the unfounded scientific claims made by Bulletproof Coffee. It did attest, however, to the notion that butter coffee can create a delicious caffeine-fueled morning. What isn’t good with butter though?
If you actually plan to tackle the Bulletproof Diet, pause and do some research. If claims are too good to be true, they generally are (i.e., losing massive amounts of weight while drinking butter coffee every morning). Although you inevitably feel fuller after enjoying this thicker cup of coffee (the caloric disparity is obviously huge!), do not expect it to stave off hunger completely until lunch. You probably should still eat a complete breakfast (with some actual nutrients), and perhaps build some exercise into your routine to burn off all the butter you added to your morning coffee.
Nothing still beats a balanced diet and exercise. Not even butter coffee that has brain octane and enchanted beans. Stick to natural foods and avoid fad-crazed, extreme diets that are unsustainable. But hey, if you want to start your morning every once in a while with butter coffee, go ahead. Consider using a blender though so all of the fat does not coagulate at the top. Also, make sure to actually eat breakfast. Butter alone is not sufficient.