Buttered coffee is sweeping the nation, from the tech offices of Silicon Valley to the aisles of Whole Foods.
On September 6, Dave Asprey, CEO of Bulletproof Coffee and the godfather of the buttered-coffee movement, announced he’s bringing a ready-to-drink version of the high-fat, caffeinated beverage to more than 400 Whole Foods stores nationwide this fall.
Bulletproof Coffee, named for the company that makes it, is made with cold brew coffee, grass-fed butter, and a proprietary “Brain Octane” oil derived from coconuts. It claims to diminish brain fog and increase mental function and energy, in addition to delivering a caffeine jolt.
The company has sold the ingredients needed to make buttered coffee separately for years, but the new carton format makes it more accessible for sceptics, of which there are many.
Buttered coffee has been catching on in Silicon Valley, where tech workers say the creamy blend gives them a boost in energy and productivity, among other perks. A high-fat diet has been shown to promote weight loss and stave off age-related diseases, but there’s no evidence that butter in coffee achieves the same health benefits as a diet made up of 80% healthy fats.
Bulletproof Coffee might be more indulgence than brain hack. But Asprey insists it’s real.
A little over 10 years ago, Asprey was hiking a remote mountainside in Tibet when he encountered buttered coffee for the first time. He said the drink restored his health.
“I felt a mental clarity come on. Everything just felt easier,” Asprey told Business Insider.
He spent the next seven years trying to perfect a recipe for buttered coffee. He launched a wellness brand, Bulletproof, around his mind and body hacks, of which buttered coffee is the most famous. Today he runs a multimillion-dollar empire based on his DIY approach to biology, complete with two best-selling books, conferences, and a branded café in Los Angeles (with more in the pipeline). Bulletproof sold 48 million cups of buttered coffee in 2016.
Asprey continues to drink Bulletproof Coffee every day. He said having it for breakfast outweighs poor choices he makes later, like eating a greasy meal out.
“Even if you’re going to have Taco Bell for lunch, you seriously improve the quality of your life all morning long [by drinking Bulletproof],” Asprey said.
The science behind buttered coffee is spotty, and it has drawn public scepticism from doctors. There are no studies showing the combination of ingredients in Bulletproof Coffee is safe, and eating too much saturated fat could present risks for people with elevated cholesterol levels.
Bulletproof isn’t the only company to tap the buttered coffee market. Picnik, a specialty coffee retailer based in Austin, Texas, launched a ready-to-drink beverage in Whole Foods in August.
Bulletproof Coffee is available in four flavours: Original, Vanilla, Mocha, and with collagen protein. It has a suggested retail price of $US4.99 per bottle.