I take coffee seriously.
Nothing compares to starting the day with a piping hot cup of joe.
Naturally, one day I noticed a few minor but slightly annoying side effects of coffee. My second cup of the day brought with it jitters and a feeling of tightness in my chest.
My coffee ritual needed some hacking.
After extensive research, I introduced an ingredient claiming to offset caffeine’s side effects.
Not only did my homemade recipe work, but I felt an uncharacteristic smooth, level-headed focus.
Small tweaks can make all the difference. I started thinking.
Why settle for just offsetting side effects?The right science-backed ingredients turn coffee into a potent neuro-cocktail. Click To Tweet
I found Bulletproof Coffee and liked it. I had an easier time intermittent fasting. But I wasn’t content there. I experimented, tweaked, and upgraded the original Bulletproof Coffee recipe. I cut ingredients. I added others. Genius coffee, my new go-to, includes coffee, some fat, and beloved “boosters”.
What is Bulletproof Coffee?
Bulletproof coffee is a combination of coffee, MCT oil, and butter (optional) or ghee. Popularized by a biohacker named Dave Asprey, it resembles a rich latte but without the dairy.
Proponents of Bulletproof coffee use it for greater energy, to stave off hunger, and improve focus.
Dave claims to have come up with the Bulletproof recipe from observing Tibetan tribes in the Himalayas. Newer formulations sometimes substitute coconut oil for MCT oil, and others omit butter altogether.
Does Bulletproof Coffee Work?
Specialty coffee alone won’t turn you into a super human (sorry).
Bulletproof Coffee does have a few advantages over traditional brews:
- Greater weight loss since MCT staves off hunger and keeps insulin low.
- Sharper cognition from the ketones generated by MCT oil.
- Stable energy as the fat slows down caffeine absorption.
Best of all, Bulletproof Coffee cuts coffee’s bitterness without sugar. Although sugar causes a brief energy rush, the preceding sharp crash drops you to below baseline levels. Just as the caffeine wears off too. A vicious combination.
Do MCT or butter need to go in your coffee? Probably not. You could achieve similar results from having them separately. Dr Pollack believes that MCT blended in coffee can structure the water and make it more useful for your body.
Fat of any kind contains calories, and while MCT won’t necessarily make you fat, I wouldn’t consume it ad-libitum.
Can You Drink Bulletproof Coffee Everyday?
When you feel the difference in energy and mental clarity you might wonder if it’s safe.
I recommend getting a blood panel every year and checking in with your doctor.
Bulletproof Coffee is safe for everyday use in normal amounts if you have healthy cardiovascular biomarkers. If you’re worried about the extra fat, you can use less in your cooking and try it in your coffee instead.
I don’t drink it every day now (the fat partially breaks a fast), but I wouldn’t have hesitations about it. Especially if it satiates you.
Warning: introduce MCT oil slowly. If you don’t work your way up, you may experience a rather unpleasant side effect affectionately called “disaster pants”.
Do You Need MCT Oil for Bulletproof Coffee?
MCT oil (Dave calls it Brain Octane/XCT Oil) is the magic ingredient.
You do need MCT since the best cognitive, energy, and weight loss results come from the MCT. More on this below. Coconut oil can work in a pinch since it contains small amounts of MCT. Coconut oil is an imperfect substitute though, so don’t expect miracles. The taste of unrefined, extra virgin coconut coffee may also throw you off.
Butter’s optional. Some people replace it with ghee, and others (myself included) omit it altogether. I eat enough butter already, thanks.
However you go about it, adding a quality fat source makes the Genius Coffee boosters more bioavailable.
Introducing the Genius Coffee Boosters
I geek out on experiments.
I’ve tried adding all kinds of things to my coffee: herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, you name it.
I have an iron stomach, but have dumped more than a cup or two from some absolutely putrid concoctions. I don’t advocate you do the same.
From hundreds of personal trials, and time spent reviewing the literature, here are my favorite enhancers I blend into my coffee when I need to be at the top of my game and crush my work:
Genius Coffee Booster #1: Theanine
An ancient biohack.
It was also the first ingredient that I used to enhance my coffee.
L-Theanine is an amino acid abundant in high-quality tea. L-Theanine prevents normal caffeine jitters and shifts the brain into focused and productive alpha brain waves.
It’s relaxing without sedating, improving creativity and helping you get into “flow”. Theanine has little flavor and easily blends into coffee.
I prefer a dose of 100-200mg.
Genius Coffee Booster #2: Mushrooms
Wait! I’m not talking about shiitakes.
Certain species of mushroom have broad effects on your physiology. You probably won’t find these ones in your local supermarket. Adaptogenic mushrooms, as they’re called, are safe and nicely compliment coffee.
I often use two in particular:
- Lions Mane for brain neuron generation and strengthening.
- Cordyceps for physcial and mental energy.
Get good mushrooms. Most are a waste of money. I’ll write up another post on how to sleuth out quality mushrooms later.
Warning: good cordyceps is one of those supplements you feel. It might make your coffee feel like a pre-workout supplement.
Genius Coffee Booster #3: Collagen
Care about your skin, hair, muscles, heart, bones, and joints?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body. Problem is, most of us don’t get enough. Collagen is an incomplete protein source high in non-essential amino acids:
- Arginine: the “anti-aging” amino acid
- Glycine: builds muscle, improves cognitive and fuels the metabolism
- Proline: produces cartilage, heals wounds, strengthens the heart
Supplementing collagen reduces wrinkles and keeps the skin elastic.
Even meat eaters don’t get enough. Unless you eat obscure cuts of meat.
When you’re choosing a collagen peptide product, look for:
- Hydrolyzed collagen peptides
- 100 percent pure collagen: no added dyes, flavors, or preservatives
- Sourced from wild-caught fish or grass-fed cows
Genius Coffee Booster #4: Essential Oils
I poo-pooed essential oils until I tried the good stuff.
Peppermint essential oil packs a serious punch. Perfect for winter holiday mornings, peppermint is known to promote concentration. One drop mixed into my coffee and my coffee becomes a decadent treat without sugar or sweetness.
Cinnamon oil has a stronger scent and taste than the spice. One drop mixed in my coffee improves circulation and blood flow. Greater blood flow to the brain leads to clearer thinking. Cinnamon also keeps your blood sugar stable and fights infection.
I don’t use essential oils unless I’m sure they’re high-quality and from a reputable brand. Pounds of plants go into each drop of essential oil. To avoid chemical toxins, fillers or solvents I check the label to make sure they’re:
- Therapeutic grade
Genius Coffee Booster #5: MCT
If you’ve tried Bulletproof Coffee, you know the power of MCT.
MCT oil crushes fatigue.
MCT eschews normal digestion and rapidly converts into a cellular fuel source called ketones.
Since the brain regulates your perceived energy levels, MCT users report greater physical and mental energy.
Some MCT is better than others. When choosing an MCT product, make sure you get 100 percent C8 MCT. C8 is slightly more expensive, but a league more potent (and effective) than normal MCT oil.
How To Make Genius Coffee
1. Clean Beans
Coffee connoisseurs can pick out the good stuff by sight, smell, and appearance. The last thing you want is beans that make you feel “meh”. Dave first became wary of most coffee due to the high prevalence of mold mycotoxins.
Like other produce, coffee’s health-promoting antioxidants and phytochemicals don’t fare well with age. After roasting the beans start to decay. Grinding them hastens the process. Noticeably.
My developing coffee palate can easily differentiate the taste and smell of fresh stuff. I now roast my own, but you can also choose freshly-roasted organic, whole bean coffee.
2. Great Water
Baristas scoffed at my use of tap water.
Not me. I don’t mind it. Then again, I have pretty clean tap water. People have all kinds of water preferences. Reverse osmosis, distilled, mineral-enhanced, to name a few.
Your coffee will taste best with some form of filtered water. Boil it at around 195 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Measure It (Optional)
Another point of contention, is the ratio of coffee to water.
I use about two tablespoons of freshly ground coffee to six ounces of water. You’ll find what you like from trial and error.
Or you can just eyeball a healthy amount of grounds in your preferred brewing device.
6. Brew Coffee
There are plenty of brewing techniques too.
I usually reach for my glass French Press. Sometimes I’ll go for a pourover stainless steel filter or my Aeropress to make espresso.
I try to stay away from anything plastic or aluminum. Including the aluminum Bialetti moka device, a camping staple.
5. Add Healthy Fat (Optional)
The official recipe calls for butter. Make it grass-fed. Fat stores toxins. These include chemicals, heavy metals, and pesticides, and plenty of others. Things you don’t want in your body.
One to two tablespoons of unsalted, grass-fed ghee or butter will do it. Ancestral medicine favors ghee, and it’s my choice. If conventional stuff is the only option, I say skip it.
4. Add MCT
You don’t need much.
Start small with one teaspoon. I usually eyeball it.
Over time you can work your way up to one to two tablespoons of C8 MCT oil.
7. Add Boosters (Optional)
THE key to super coffee.
You can add one or a bunch of boosters. Again, start small with just one and see how you respond. Follow the dosing recommendations on the product.
With some experimentation you’ll find favorite ingredients for different situations.
This is no ordinary coffee.
A stirring spoon won’t suffice. Most people use a blender to mix everything together. It gives the coffee a beautiful color, fluffy consistency, and even frothy taste. But blenders are loud, inconvenient, and creates dishes.
I like to use a mini handheld milk frother instead. Not quite as powerful, but far more convenient and doesn’t create angry neighbors from early morning racket.
You’ll regret using a spoon as the ingredients separate from the coffee, and pool at the top.
An Easy Homemade Bulletproof Coffee Recipe Upgrade
Back to the Adderall quote.
I hadn’t added any crazy pharmaceuticals or research chemicals to his mug. Just Genius Coffee along with boosters. Apparently it hit him hard.
Bulletproof Coffee is all about adding fat. An easy coffee hacking step. The fat makes some of the boosters more readily absorbed. Your coffee is more than that:Genius coffee is the perfect trojan horse to sneak brain and body boosters into your morning. Click To Tweet
I’m sure I’m not alone in whipping up some crazy coffee concoctions. What goes into your coffee ritual?