Londoners are gradually developing a more refined coffee palate and antipodean barristas can be found brewing V60s and flat whites at every turn. The health and fitness world has always had a mixed view of coffee, however – with some eschewing caffeine entirely and others swearing by coffee as a healthy and tasty way to prepare for a workout, and a guilt-free treat – provided there’s not too much milk involved. Bulletproof hopes to win over the health sceptics, with a unique blend which provides a paleo energy hit and not just a brief caffeine high.
Bulletproof coffee – and indeed ‘health coffee’ in general – was a totally new concept to me. I love coffee, and ditched Starbucks and even Nero’s as soon as decent independent coffee shops arrived in London. But this is another level of niche. A proper bullet-proof coffee has three ingredients: specially selected coffee beans, grass-fed butter – yes, I said butter! – and a carefully formulated ‘brain octane oil’. Bulletproof claim this blend is a perfect way to start your day, providing a long-lasting energy boost and clear mind. The coffee provides caffeine (though, Bulletproof claims their brew has fewer toxins than regular coffee); the butter provides lasting carb-free energy; and the oil is ‘cellular fuel for your body and brain’. The more detailed science is plastered all over the rather scientific looking packaging so you can read more if you decide to check it out – or pop over to Bulletproof’s website.
Making the coffee is not too complex despite the extra ingredients. You brew a coffee – they recommend a French press but a filter or aeropress would probably be fine too. You blend it with butter and the oil (the better the blender the better the results). It takes longer than a regular cup but, like anything, if you want it to form part of your routine you will get faster each time you do it.
But what about the taste? I’ll be honest, the idea of butter in my coffee took a bit of getting over, as did the oil but I think the trick to preparing bulletproof coffee is not to really think of it as gourmet treat. This is important because brewing the beans alone (without butter and oil) doesn’t get you a particularly tasty cup. It’s a supermarket quality ground coffee taste at a top of the range roastery price. The taste of the full recipe is also simply decent – it’s quite pleasantly rich and creamy but it didn’t really taste like coffee to me, perhaps because I usually drink my coffee black. The other difference from regular coffee frankly is heat. By the time you’ve added butter and oil to your hot coffee, expect the temperature to be below what you’d normally enjoy – so I’d recommend drinking it as soon as possible after blending, which I failed to do first time around.
The real benefits of Bulletproof coffee are clearly meant to be around health and energy levels. Here, I confess that I’m less sure what to think. The claims on the company website and packaging are pretty bold and I certainly didn’t notice a transformational impact on my energy levels. But then maybe I didn’t try it for long enough – or perhaps I’m simply a naturally energetic person! I think one issue is that I do drink a LOT of coffee, so the caffeine impact is probably less noticeable on me. A friend tried it and swore she had the opposite problem: a racing heart rate and quite a lot of anxiety as a result!
Bulletproof coffee is clearly an interesting product – as much fuel as coffee and a brew that has an increasing number of devotees. I don’t think you should buy it for the taste – but do experiment and see if it gets you the energy boost you need for your busy lives.
Who’s it for: Paleo enthusiasts willing to spend a bit longer making their morning brew
How much: £9.95 for 250g Upgraded whole coffee beans, £16.95 for 473ml Upgraded Octane Oil, From £1.60 for grass-fed unsalted butter
Where to buy: Online at uk.bulletproof.com
More information: BulletproofExec blog