Fair warning. If you think that adding anything to your exquisitely brewed coffee is sacrilege, you might want to stop reading right here, because it’s about to get worse. Much worse – or better, depending on your point of view. The latest growing trend in trendy coffee additions is butter. Yes, you read that right. Forget the milk-or-soy debate that’s brewing down in Oz. Hot, buttered coffee is apparently quickly becoming a thing in the U.S. from Texas to NYC.
Now, to be clear, buttered coffee is not exactly a new thing. In fact, it’s fairly common in Ethiopia, India, Vietnam and a few other countries. And if you poke around among your elders, particularly if your elders hail from South of the Mason-Dixon Line, you’re likely to find a great-auntie or uncle who unabashedly drops a lump of butter into the coffee cup along with a lump of sugar. But buttered coffee has taken on a new appeal among the Paleo diet crowd. Led by Bulletproof Executive Dave Asprey, they’ve taken to buttered coffee – or, more properly, Bulletproof Coffee, with a vengeance. There’s a clear difference between regular buttered coffee and the Bulletproof variation advocated by Asprey: coconut oil, or another medium chain triglyceride oil.
You can read up about the supposed health benefits, which, for the record, are largely untested, at just about any website or online forum that discusses the Paleo diet, but the idea of hot buttered coffee is starting to make its way into the mainstream via foodie blogs at some of the larger, more popular magazine-style sites like The Kitchn, where editor of Citygram Magazine Chris Perez wonders “What’s the Deal with Butter in Coffee?”
So, what IS the deal with buttered coffee? According to Asprey, whose recipe for Bulletproof Coffee has spread like wildfire and is offered at a number of chic Paleo-friendly restaurants in the Austin area, the healthy fats in the coffee make you feel full longer and provide you a real boost of energy. Well-known alternative health guru Dr. Andrew Weil reports that a friend of his uses Asprey’s recipe and claims that it keeps his hunger at bay and has enhanced his mental clarity and sharpness 20 to 25 percent.
The three ingredients for Bulletproof Coffee are, as noted, grass-fed butter, MCT oil and coffee – but not just any coffee. Asprey recommends high-altitude, wet-processed Central or South American coffees, filter-brewed, then whirled in a blender to keep the fats from separating out from the coffee.
Like anything else, there are those who love Bulletproof coffee or buttered coffee and others, like INeedCoffee.com’s Michael Allen Smith, who hate it. Those who love it claim that the butter and coconut oil make the coffee silky, smooth and sweet. Those who hate it find it, to quote Smith, "borderline gross." Smith goes further to suggest that people who like cream in their coffee might like buttered coffee and notes that he sees no reason to ruin excellent coffee by adding anything to it, which certainly makes sense all around.
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