Bulletproof coffee, also known as butter coffee, made a huge, frothy splash when it first started popping up on social media feeds in the early 2010s.
But what is it, exactly, and why has it become so popular?
Bulletproof coffee is the brainchild of Dave Asprey, an American entrepreneur and bio hacker who founded the Bulletproof supplement brand in 2013. In 2004, while trekking through the Himalayas, he was introduced to tea blended with yak butter. Asprey said the drink left him feeling incredibly energized and rejuvenated, so upon his return to United States, he set about creating his now-trademarked drink.
Asprey’s Bulletproof coffee is made by adding Brain Octane Oil, a highly refined coconut oil that's rich in caprylic acid (a medium-chain fatty acid), and grass-fed butter (or ghee) to a cup of coffee.
If you don’t use the brand’s products while making the beverage then it simply becomes “butter coffee.” Butter coffee is made by adding MCT oil and grass-fed unsalted butter, or ghee, to a hot cup of coffee. MCT oil, which is extracted from coconuts, contains smaller molecules than most fats, which makes it easier to digest and therefore gets converted into energy faster. It may also help reduce inflammation.
Due to its high fat content, butter coffee is wildly popular in the keto community. While it's high in calories and fat, it has virtually no carbs so it's ideal for people maintaining a state of ketosis. A cup of butter coffee containing 1 teaspoon of MCT oil and 1 teaspoon of butter is 80 calories and has about 8 grams of fat. But, if you’re drinking it with the maximum amount of MCT oil and butter, it will contain a whopping 480 calories and 52 grams of fat. A regular cup of coffee with just a tablespoon of half-and-half contains only 18 calories and about 1.5 grams of fat.
Butter coffee, as the name would suggest, is not recommended for those on a low-fat eating plan. However, proponents of the drink, which is often consumed in lieu of breakfast, say it keeps them feeling full and energized until lunchtime.
When you're first making butter coffee, start out with just a teaspoon of MCT oil and butter, and gradually work your way up. Consuming too much MCT oil may have some unpleasant side effects, like an upset stomach, so building up a tolerance is recommended to experience the full benefits.
When assembling the drink, make sure to blend all ingredients well in a blender until it resembles a frothy latte, otherwise you’ll have an oil slick on the surface of your drink that won’t be appetizing or pleasing to the eye.
Feel free to add additional low-carb flavorings and sweeteners such as stevia, cinnamon or vanilla extract.
- 1 cup hot coffee, 8-12 ounces (Read more on how to make the perfect cup of coffee.)
- 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons MCT oil
- 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons unsalted, grass-fed butter; or 1-2 teaspoons ghee
How to make Bulletproof coffee
- Add all ingredients to a blender. Make sure the lid is on the device tightly so no hot liquid escapes.
- Blend on high for about 30 seconds, until drink resembles a frothy latte.
- Pour into a mug and drink.