Story About Coffee with Ghee
This story about coffee begins on an avocado farm
High in the hills of Guatemala, overlooking the cities of Antigua, Jocotenango and Ciudad Vieja. On this avocado farm there is a treehouse hotel (yes, you heard that correctly.) I was living there last year when a co-worker from South Africa named Bryan said to me,
He was holding out what appeared to be a latte in a pint glass. The color was rich and creamy and there was a bubbly froth on top. Steam fogged the rim of the glass and swirled overtop. I felt like something ominous was about to happen.
It’s Called Bulletproof Coffee
And it isn’t new. The world has been slowly catching on to the growing trend since 2013 when Dave Asprey started promoting it as a delicious, and healthy way to start your day. Now the health benefits have not been confirmed by regulated scientific studies, but the taste benefits certainly have. I study it every morning when I wake up, and believe me, it tastes really damn good.
So when Bryan handed me that first fateful cup in Guatemala, I had to know what was in it. Why was it so good? How was it so creamy? Why did the caffeine linger with me slowly throughout the day? “Grass-fed ghee” He replied in his smooth South African accent. “It’s all about grass-fed-ghee”
Ghee isn’t new either, I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It’s the pure golden goodness you get when you remove all of the milk solids from butter and are left with pure, undiluted lipids (that’s the sexy way to say fat, by the way).
Bryan was specifically touting ghee made from grass-fed cow butter and for good reason. When cows eat grass all their lives, they intake a proper, nutritionally balanced diet. Cows that eat feed are anemic and unhealthy. There are hundreds of articles like this one to be found on google that go into more depth about the differences between grain and grass-fed.
You can even see the difference in the butter and consequently in the ghee. Grass-fed is like sweet golden honey, it’s sterilized, lesser counterpart is paler in color and sometimes almost white. If you want to know how to make ghee, there are lots of online guides and resources. I used this one: http://thehealthyfoodie.com/homemade-ghee/
The Cleanest Bean
This is where Dave Asprey and I differ. Dave has a lot of smart things to say about mold toxins and particularly those found in coffee beans.
He goes into detail here: https://blog.bulletproof.com/why-mycotoxins-are-kryptonite/
And I don’t disagree, I just can’t afford the level of care and quality required to mitigate the risks of mold. So I use the best beans I can get my hands on.
Today that looked like this:
This blend is a mix from Indonesia and Ethiopia. This stuff was a gift and it’s mighty good. But normally I go with coffee that is 100% single source Guatemalan. If you recall, I have a thing for Guatemala, and I have seen the coffee fields where those beans are coming from. I know who’s tending those beans and how they’re doing it. One of the biggest benefits to Guatemalan coffee though, is it’s proximity. The closer you are geographically to the source of your product, the less carbon was burned to get it to you. Now this coffee is great, but it flew halfway around the world, from two different locations to get to my local coffee roaster. That’s hard to tote as a sustainable product.
The Daily Grind
Now, the most you can normally do to control the quality of your coffee before it is in your home is choose where to buy it (and that is a very important step.)
Once you bring your beans home, there are lots of ways to maximize the quality of your cups. Personally, I keep my beans in the freezer, for freshness and to prevent any more of that pesky mold growth that Dave talks so much about.
Most importantly, I grind fresh, this way I have maximum flavor every time I brew. If you are still relying on the ground coffee from the store, I highly suggest going to your local thrift shop and picking up one of these for five bucks. This is definitely the cheapest way to maximize your flavor. If I have extra, I keep it in the fridge until the next time I brew.
The Timeless Brew
Now I need you to promise not to make fun of me, but my coffee machine is a little old. In fact, it might be as old as me. It was bought by my parents and now brews my daily cups. When I asked my mom, she had to think really hard. We couldn’t be sure, but we were born no more than two years apart. We’ve been through a lot together. And let me tell you, this thing still brews like a champion every morning.
And to be honest, there are far better ways to brew your coffee than automated drip. Among my favorites are French press, espresso and hand dripped coffees. But hey, this is 2017, ‘aint nobody got time for that!
So if you promise not to laugh, you can see my coffee maker…
Blended, Not Stirred (Coffee with ghee and coconut oil)
And we aren’t talking martinis mister Bond. The reason for blending is actually all about bonding, funny enough. But if you’ve ever made a salad dressing you know that fat and water don’t get together easily. Kind of like Romeo and Juliet, you really have to stir things up to make any sort of lasting connection. So whip out the old blender (preheated for extra points!) and drop in one to two teaspoons of your grass-fed ghee along with your morning cup of freshly brewed hot coffee.
For extra flavor and health benefits, I add a teaspoon of coconut oil to the mix. The official bulletproof diet uses what Dave calls ‘brain octane oil’ which is a little over my budget. The added creaminess and flavor from the coconut oil is palpable though, and I recommend it if you have it on hand.
Now This Is What Bryan Was Talking About
And soon you’ll be talking about it too. You will notice when you pour the coffee back into your cup that it looks creamy and has a good foam on top. It will look a lot like a latte, just like when Bryan handed me my first taste back in Guatemala. In my opinion it’s ready to go, no sweetener needed, but you can make that call on your own.
I’m no doctor, and can’t speak to the health benefits of this habit. Dave Asprey certainly has a lot to say about them and you can check out his products here
He also talks a bit about how ingesting fat with your caffeine can increase the absorption of caffeine in this article on his blog. Worth a read.
I still drink my coffee black from time to time. I enjoy the occasional latte or Americano. But given the option, I will take bulletproof over all others without hesitation. Five years from now I would be surprised if it isn’t on the menu in coffee shops around the world.
For now, though, we’ll just keep it a secret and drink it all ourselves.
Written by Ian Carroll