For a while now, I have read various articles about so-called “Bulletproof coffee.” This, believe it or not, is a perfectly good cup of coffee, with heaps of butter and coconut oil added. It has always sounded quite odd to me. Yet like many zany ideas that gain traction in our willing-to-try-anything society, Bulletproof coffee has its drinkers, its promoters, and its fanatical standard-bearers.
According to its alleged creator Dave Asprey, the idea of Bulletproof coffee was derived from the Tibetan way of making tea with barley and yak butter. Such tea is a staple of Himalayan hill people, most notably the mountain-climbing sherpas who ferry goods and people high up the Himalayas on the tallest mountains in the world, including Everest. The Himalayan sherpas are super fit, can hike all day, and may possibly hold in their teacups at least one of the keys to awesome health.
According to Dave Asprey’s web site, bulletproofexec.com, the “Bulletproof way of life,” which hinges greatly on oily coffee, will enable you to lose huge amounts of unwanted fat, substantially boost your IQ, and enable you to sleep fewer hours and feel better rested. It sounds pretty much like the Holy Grail, and explains why several different companies are now aggressively marketing Bulletproof coffee kits, which provide everything you need to transform your morning cup into a potent health and energy promoter. There’s a Bulletproof coffee drinker born every minute.
The nutritional logic behind Bulletproof coffee is that the oil enables your body to slowly and steadily generate energy, in a more even and sustained manner than just a plain cup of coffee, which offers a fast hit of caffeine energy that often leads to a crash later. This is actually the same logic behind buttering a slice of whole grain bread. The oil slows down the digestion of carbohydrates, creating more even and longer lasting energy. Bulletproof coffee is nicely positioned as a handy, accessible solution to the daily personal energy crisis faced by many. You get the caffeine lift, and you cruise for hours on the oil. Okay.
Bulletproof coffee has a highly visible celebrity supporter in big wave surfing legend and uber athlete Laird Hamilton, who swears by the oily, viscid brew. Hamilton’s imprimatur has done yeoman’s work for the concept, getting it out into the far corners of the sports and fitness world. Basically, the claim for this style of coffee is that it will provide slow, steady, multi-hour energy, thereby enabling you to function at peak performance. If it works for Hamilton, it has to be worth checking out. I admit, I’m a Laird fan.
So as a good researcher, I did the only credible thing, dutifully making Bulletproof coffee exactly as described, with certified organic coffee (no pesticides), organic, unsalted butter (no bovine growth hormone), and organic virgin coconut oil. To do this properly, I made a perfectly good 10 ounce cup of strong coffee, using an unbleached drip filter (no bleaching dioxins), and then put it into a blender with approximately 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, and 2 Tablespoons of virgin coconut oil. I whizzed the concoction, and then tasted, anticipating what the Bulletproof web site promises is the tastiest latte I have ever consumed.
I will not say that Bulletproof coffee is the worst beverage I have ever had, because I have consumed traditional Amazonian beverages like masado, made partly from human spit, and have also drunk liquors made from marinated vipers. But I will say that only a fanatic would drink this stuff on a regular basis. Bulletproof coffee is admittedly a clever idea as an energy food, but it is a decidedly bad idea in terms of coffee flavor. Bulletproof coffee is exactly what I thought- a really oily cup of coffee. I gave some to my wife Zoe, and she recoiled in horror at the taste. “Who came up with this?” she asked, offended. The best latte I have ever drunk? Not by a long shot.
While I applaud human ingenuity, I must give my “Worst Idea Of The Year” award in the food and beverage category to Bulletproof coffee. Thankfully, this too shall pass. Today’s Bulletproof coffee craze is destined to be tomorrow’s what-were-we-thinking laughable beverage idea. By all means, try it, if just to get the curiosity out of your system. I’ll stick to a fragrant, well-made cup of joe, and a slice of buttered toast, thanks.