Coffee. Potus niger et garrulous. The black and tongue loosening drink.
The best beverage in the world. Some say wine. Some say beer. I say shut up.
I can’t remember my first experience with coffee, but I’m pretty sure I had my first cup at either a Denny’s or an IHOP, the two places I spent the most late nights in college. Now most of my coffee comes from either Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks. Do either of these establishments have great coffee? No they do not.
But Dunkin Donuts is easy to get to during my morning commute. And Starbucks is the only quiet place in the world that’s open late where things like reading take place. Gradually I am beginning to buy real coffee from an awesome shop in Tampa to make in the morning. Sadly, I don’t always make it as I am not a morning person and would generally trade one minute of extra sleep for just about anything.
But I am making progress. I have recently enjoyed some Ethiopian Harrar which the barista told me had notes of blueberry. And it actually did! It was all very exciting.
(UPDATE: I recently received an email from one of the drones at this company demanding I use a ® and a ™ after Bulletproof Coffee and Upgraded Coffee. So enjoy, because apparently these symbols are going to make or break this product.)
Several months back I heard about Bulletproof® Coffee on Boing Boing’s Gweek podcast. I figured I’d try it eventually, but it took my friend Jeeg from the Nerd Lunch podcast to actually light that fire. Be sure to check out his experience with Bulletproof® Coffee.
Essentially what we have today is two reviews. The first is for a coffee sold by The Bulletproof Executive. It’s called Upgraded™ Coffee. It’s coffee that is as free of mycotoxins as possible. Mycotoxins is a catchall term referring to toxic chemicals produced by certain molds that grow on coffee and are responsible for everything bad that has ever happened to anyone. Ok, maybe not, but the author claims that getting rid of these mycotoxins results in coffee that will make you feel better than any coffee you’ve ever had. No headaches. No jitters. No crankiness. I don’t have anything of those things when I drink coffee but whatever.
Reading through some threads on various boards, a lot of people think he’s full of it. I was going to read through some of the studies but come on, have you ever read a medical study? They’re almost as bad as Nicholas Sparks’ novels.
The coffee tastes like coffee. It is completely unremarkable. It is not bad and it is not great. Very firmly middle of the road. Did it energize me? I guess. The energy fix lasted around four hours, about the same time as my usual coffee. I actually had the complete opposite experience of what the author claimed. I did feel twitchy. Extremely so. Way more than from the good coffee from the good coffee shop.
I tried Upgraded™ Coffee several times, both black (as recommended) and with my usual dressing of cream and sugar. I didn’t love it, but it was fine.
Upgraded™ Coffee sells for around $24 for 12 ounces (shipping included). Extra energy or not, that price is not worth the trade-off of flavor. I’ll just get a larger cup of the good coffee.
Now for the second and far more bizarre part of this coffee experiment. It’s called Bulletproof® Coffee. The formula is as follows: 2 cups of prepared Upgraded™ Coffee, 2 tablespoons of Kerrygold Unsalted Butter, and two tablespoons of MCT oil.
I substituted coconut oil for MCT oil, so this is not the exact recipe as hyped by The Bulletproof Executive. But Jeeg, a chemistry major and all around smart guy, assured me that would be ok because coconut oil contains a lot of MCT.
You blend all of these ingredients together and you’re left with a frothy, slightly yellow beverage that looks a bit like a cappuccino. This concoction was dreamt up by the Bulletproof Executive guy after he sampled some yak butter tea when he was off in some area of the world where rich people go to do rich people things. It’s supposed to sharpen your brain and give you tons of energy and program your body to burn fat all day. Indeed.
Bulletproof® Coffee, in this version made without pure MCT oil, smells delightfully of coconut oil. Very nutty and aromatic. It tastes…well, not so great. Coffee is good. Butter is good. Coconut oil is good. Together they are not good. The drink has a very unusual sharpness to it, which is weird because none of the individual ingredients have a sharp taste profile. The coffee flavor is overpowered by the coconut oil which provides most of the taste. The butter adds a lot of texture making the drink very creamy and thick.
I did not enjoy it. My wife was repulsed by it, as was a coworker. Eventually I added some sugar to the mix, I’m sure violating the sacred principle on which this stuff is based because sugar is the devil, but it helped. It toned down the weird sharpness and made it drinkable. It didn’t make it great, just drinkable. Maybe it would be better with straight MCT.
This time around the energy rush was more intense. I felt super jittery and my face felt hot for a couple of hours. I can’t say I enjoyed either sensation. The boost started to wane at about the four hour mark again.
So as incredulous as I’d like to be, I’ve got to admit that something in Upgraded™ Coffee or the Bulletproof® Coffee concoction did add some extra pep to my step. A very jumpy, shakey, young recruit in a Vietnam movie kind of pep, but a pep nonetheless.
That being said, I’ll probably never prepare another cup of this again. A week’s worth was enough. I like the energy that coffee gives me in the morning, but more than that, I like the taste of coffee. And again, there’s no way I’d trade the sweet sweet taste of a high quality coffee for the something I’d have to choke down and that would ultimately leave me feeling like a pair of those chattery wind-up teeth. And for those keeping score at home, this variation on the formula for Bulletproof® Coffee runs about 460 calories. I’d rather just have some oatmeal.
Adding that to the high cost of the Upgraded™ Coffee, the extra cost of the butter and oil, and the extra time it took me to prepare the stuff, there is no conceivable reality in which I’d work this into my daily routine.
But to each his own. Give it try, if you’re curious. It was certainly an interesting experiment and led to some good workplace conversations. Now I’ve got to figure out what to do with the rest of this tub of coconut oil. My friends just refuse to come over and wrestle in it with me. Jerks.