Butter coffee combines coffee, oil extracted from coconut oil (MCT oil) and butter to create a drink that you consume in the morning and it’s supposed to set you up for the day.
Butter coffee became popular around 2012 after some American guy went to Tibet and drank some local tea that contained yak butter and he claimed that it gave him energy that he had never experienced before and clarity of mind that sounds a bit like the guy out of the movie limitless.
Dave Asprey calls his butter coffee bulletproof coffee and reckons he is going to live to 180 and has spent over £1 million on things like stem cell injections to prolong his life. He drinks bulletproof coffee every day.
Normally behaviour like that would disqualify butter coffee from any further investigation but when I delved a little deeper and realised he has received funding of $40 million to develop this drink further I thought it deserved some attention.
We will take a closer look at butter coffee and see if it’s worth buying the bulletproof branded product or if you can make it yourself the same for cheaper.
Is bulletproof coffee better than making butter coffee yourself?
If you want to try butter coffee then it is a LOT cheaper to buy the 3 ingredients yourself and avoid the branded bulletproof products.
You can make exactly the same thing if you buy the 3 ingredients separately and just make it up yourself.
Many branded products fool you into thinking that you need to buy the brand in order to get the true benefit.
If you take vitamin supplements on a regular basis or headache tablets and you buy a specific brand like say Berocca or Nurofen take a look at the own-brand alternatives the next time you are in the supermarket.
Hold both packets together and look at the ingredients. A lot of the time the ingredients will be exactly the same and the only thing you are paying for is the brand.
The way these brands get you to pay a lot more money for their products is by marketing and advertising. Advertising costs a lot of money and that cost gets passed on to you, the customer.
Bulletproof coffee is exactly the same. Let’s take a look at the bulletproof branded way to make a cup of coffee and compare that to buying the ingredients yourself.
Ingredient 1 – Coffee
You can buy bulletproof branded coffee online for around £15.95 for a 340g bag of ground coffee. That works out at £47.85 per kg.
That is a LOT of money for coffee. You can buy some seriously good coffee for that kind of money.
Is bulletproof coffee worth the money? We don’t think so. For that kind of money it would be good to know exactly what you are getting but they are a little vague.
The coffee is grown on “high altitude estates in Guatemala and Columbia” but they don’t tell you which estates so that a comparison can be drawn.
Having given it a try we can confirm that (in our opinion of course) it is not coffee that is deserving of a pricepoint of £47.85 per kg.
You can get some really good organic, single estate Arabica coffee beans for less than half that price.
So for the first ingredient of coffee save yourself some money and buy your own high-quality coffee beans.
Here are a selection of some really good coffee beans to choose from:
Ingredient 2 – Butter
Bulletproof butter is “grass-fed ghee clarified butter” which makes it sound a bit mystic and a little bit of a special potion.
Is it actually special butter and is it worth paying a lot of money for compared to normal unsalted butter?
Ghee butter is ever so slightly different to ordinary unsalted butter and it can get a little scientific but it is still just butter.
You take regular butter and melt it. When the liquid separates into fats and milk solids, the milk solids are taken out and has less lactose than regular butter. that’s pretty much it.
Here is a detailed article that explains the difference between ghee and regular butter.
You can easily pay 4 times as much for ghee clarified butter compared to regular unsalted butter so you need to ask yourself if it’s worth paying the extra for to get something that is very close to regular butter.
For your butter coffee, buy a good quality unsalted organic butter and save yourself some money.
Ingredient 3 – “Brain Octane Oil”
Bulletproof brain octane oil is actually MCT oil which is itself extracted from coconut oil.
MCT oil claims to offer a number of health benefits such as boosting energy and providing fuel for your brain.
We cannot verify that because we know a lot about coffee but not much about the health benefits of MCT oil.
Here is an article that explains some of the science behind MCT oil.
You can get hold of bulletproof MCT oil for around £38.95 for a 946ml bottle which works out at about £41 per litre.
A quick search on Amazon reveals that you can pick up pure MCT oil for between £20-£30 per litre.
Perhaps there are slightly different qualities of MCT oil out there but there is nothing to suggest that the branded bulletproof MCT oil is worth paying a 50% premium for.
Buying a non-bulletproof MCT oil offers better value and saves you money
Once you add it all together you can make yourself a high-quality butter coffee that replicates bulletproof branded products for around half the price of bulletproof branded products.
Now you have all the ingredients, what’s the best way to make butter coffee?
How to make butter coffee
First of all, you need to brew your coffee. The recommended way is to use a cafetière or you can also use a filter coffee machine.
If you don’t already have a cafetière or filter coffee machine, they are both a very low-cost way to brew a great cup of coffee regardless of whether you use them for regular coffee or butter coffee.
Here are some options for you to consider:
This recipe is for one cup of butter coffee. Just multiply it up for more cups.
170ml of brewed coffee in a cafetière for which you will need about two tablespoons of ground coffee.
One tablespoon of good quality organic butter (or 15 grams)
One tablespoon of MCT oil
Put it all into a blender and blitz for 20 seconds.
If you don’t have a big full-blown blender then an electric hand blender is ok as well but don’t mix it by hand with a spoon as you it just doesn’t all blend together correctly.
Here is a useful video that explains the science behind butter coffee:
And here is a video from the founder of bulletproof coffee Dave Asprey showing you how he makes it:
Does butter coffee provide extra benefits versus normal coffee?
Without the butter and MCT oil, it has been proven through many scientific studies that coffee is good for you.
MCT oil is just an oil extracted from coconut oil and butter is consumed by most people on a regular basis and so there is very little risk in giving this a go to see if you benefit from it.
A LOT of people swear by it and the energy and well-being that it provides.
Personally I gave it a go for a week and the taste didn’t really do much for me.
I was quite surprised at how little of the butter you could taste but it does dilute the coffee flavour and makes it more creamy and the MCT oil is flavourless so that’s a non-issue.
I didn’t really feel as though it gave me a specific energy boost over and above what I normally get through regular coffee consumption ad exercise.
Will it work for you? Give it a try and find out. There is very little to lose and potentially much to gain.
Keep costs down and buy the non-branded ingredients yourself. You can buy MCT oil in 10 gram bottles so worst case scenario is you are left with some nice coffee you will drink anyway and about £5 worth of MCT oil.