We recently reported on the butter coffee trend. Some folks tout the health benefits of adding saturated fats to coffee and some swear by the morning ritual for a weight loss aid. The drink has been largely popularized by Dave Asprey, creator of the Bulletproof Coffee brand and the trademarked Bulletproof name for the butter coffee beverage.
A local early adopter of Bulletproof coffee was Erewhon Natural Foods, one of L.A.'s oldest health food stores. Both their Fairfax store and the new location in Calabasas sell the drink. You can order a Bulletproof coffee at Erewhon's Tonic and Juice Bar, where most of the options on the menu are green smoothies or colorful “tonics” with supplements like bee pollen and St. John's wort.
Erewhon's blend is made with ghee, Bulletproof coffee beans and MCT oil (a concentrated version of the fat found in palm and coconut oils). After a spin in the blender, the drink looks like a latte with a small oil spill on top. The rich taste is creamy and nutty, with a hint of spice and caramel. Of all the reasons people try butter coffee, we find the taste is reason enough to become a fan, at least of the Erewhon version.
At $4.50 a cup, the blended drink is no more expensive than many pour-over coffee options, but it's still certainly cheaper to brew your own at home. Erewhon sells all the ingredients they use in the grocery department: Bulletproof coffee beans, Bulletproof MCT oil and Ancient Organics ghee. Erewhon advertises that they're currently the exclusive retailer for the Bulletproof brand, outside of the Bulletproof online store.
See also: Bulletproof Coffee: Probably Just Buttering You Up
You may wonder why you'd care about a specific brand to make this drink. We wondered too. After many kitchen experiments adding coconut oil, butter and ghee to coffee, we found some results were about as unappetizing as eating a stick of butter.
Although Bulletproof coffee does have a noticeably low acidity and the MCT oil may be a smoother and stronger enhancement to the drink than regular coconut oil, we found the ghee was the real difference maker as far as taste and mouthfeel.
It turns out the Ancient Organics brand of ghee has its own devoted following and health claims. Unlike clarified butter, some of which is labeled ghee, traditional ghee is made by cooking off all the moisture and caramelizing the milk fats in butter before removing them. Ancient Organics ghee is made traditionally (and is even chanted over and made during a full or waxing moon, following Vedic practice). The strong caramel notes make Ancient Organics ghee taste like dessert straight out of the jar, and it's definitely doing the heavy lifting in the flavor of Erewhon's Bulletproof coffee.
On the day that this reviewer had her first Bulletproof cup at Erewhon, the energizing buzz lasted from ten o'clock in the morning to ten o'clock at night. And while the experience can differ from day to day depending on factors like how much you eat and how much oil you already have in your diet, the added fats do seem to smooth out your caffeine high and eliminate the crash.
The fervor for butter coffee is growing. A video clip released from The Tonight Show last month shows Jimmy Fallon discussing Bulletproof coffee with Maya Rudolph during a commercial break, though they don't seem entirely convinced of the benefits. And in a recent New York Times travel section piece, a reporter went to Singapore to track down some of the real stuff.
Erewhon makes it easy for you to give the trend a try and decide for yourself. But don't blame us if you find yourself climbing the walls or plotting a world takeover in place of your usual afternoon slump.