In case you haven't heard, Bulletproof Coffee is the latest trend in the Paleosphere http://www.bulletproofexec.com/how-to-make-your-coffee-bulletproof-and-your-morning-too/
To summarize, it's beans that are supposed to be low in mycotoxins + grassfed butter. Kind of a rift on traditional Tibetan butter tea.
I've been trying it because I love coffee, but normally it turns my stomach into sludge. So far, so good. Is it the butter? Or the low-mycotoxin coffee? Or french pressing it? Some roasting difference (I'm pretty sensitive to certain smoked/roasted foods)?For the record I had an allergy skintest and no longer test sensitive to molds, so it's quite curious to me.
Others are skeptical http://shotzombies.com/2012/02/01/bulletproof%E2%84%A2-upgraded-grass-fed-coffee/
The coffee community is skeptical because he makes a bunch of unsubstantiated claims about quality and provides none of the transparency required to back it up. Coffee is a crop that grows on the side of mountains and is harvested under incredibly varying conditions. Even at the most progressive farms in the world the end result is a product that changes every season. The idea that he's found some magical farm that is resistant to mold is total nonsense. That said, in order to be classified as Specialty Coffee it has to score an 80+ on a 100 point scale. Mold is considered a defect resulting in lower grade. In other words, bad coffee you shouldn't drink anyway. No high quality coffees have mold damage, by definition. The Specialty market is only about 20% of the overall market, so it's easy to drink bad coffee. But this guy is not operating in that 20%, and instead seems to be focused on hacking the marketing instead.
If you drink a coffee that makes you feel bad, I'd respectfully suggest that you've been sold a low grade coffee (80% of a $9 billion market).
Melissa since you're now in Chicago (or nearabouts) I'd recommend getting to know some folks at Intelligentsia. Just as you have with your new meat purveyors. They're operating at a legitimately high level and are helping to make that chain smaller. There are others as well of course, but Intelligentsia is one of the best and in your area.
He doesn't even tell us where it's from. Would you put anything else in your mouth whose origins you couldn't verify?
Scam or awesome? More like totally irrelevant. I can get great quality organic dark roast coffee in town, and our local organic dairy, with grass-fed Jersey cows, has fantastic heavy cream. I find the idea of a pool of grease floating on top of my coffee unappealing.
There are two totally unrelated issues with Bulletproof coffee:
1) lower mycotoxin coffee and specifically his "Upgraded coffee" beans
2) adding grass-fed butter to your coffee.
number 2, is relatively simple: butter replaces cream; it can be greasy if you don't emulsify it; some like it some don't; it works for the tibetans and their yak butter. give it a try -- no big deal.
number 1 is more complex. Bulletproof Upgraded coffee is Portland Roasting Guatemalan coffee -- you can go to their website and buy it directly slightly cheaper. I can't figure out if the Upgraded Coffee is just the regular Portland Roasting Guatemalan coffee packaged in his packaging, or if he gets special lower-mold versions of their coffee. I suspect the former. I would also be interested in the level of mold/mycotoxins in other organic or special high grade coffee. It is hard to tell.
Here is a detailed assessment of his coffee claims from: http://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/19863/are-fungal-toxins-a-significant-problem-in-coffee-and-if-so-can-they-be-avoide
The blog post: * Is (so far) the first and only one I've ever seen stating mold to be a practical problem in coffee - in the sense of being present in a high enough quantity to matter (mold grows everywhere). * Uses all kinds of weasel words to describe symptoms ("edgy", "cranky", "useless mentally"). * Describes symptoms that are well in line with plain old caffeine withdrawal. * Frequently links to other blog posts on the same site, most of which are "top 10 ways" and "top 5 reasons" fluff pieces. * Manages to cite and thoroughly misuse two studies: one from 1995, and another from 2003. Both are about Ochratoxin A (OA), which isn't even the biggest risk; Aflatoxin is. (More on these later). * Advertises a fairly expensive product, sold by the same author.
The author: * Is, according to his LinkedIn profile (which I refuse to link here), the VP of Cloud Security at Trend Micro - a Silicon Valley tech company. Neither he nor his employer has any experience in human biology or nutrition. * Makes all sorts of fantastical claims about himself: "He upgraded his brain by >20 IQ points, lowered his biological age, and lost 100 lbs without using calories or exercise." * Has an entire page of testimonials, which he frequently cites as "evidence". * Has an entire site dedicated to product-peddling, including the ubiquitous six-second abs and even a $60 "earthing mat", if you can believe that. Go ahead, see for yourself. * Is, in short, not much different from every other con artist and MLM out there on the web selling colon cleansers and magnetic bracelets; he just likes to use technobabble instead of conventional pseudoscience, hoping to woo the geeks out there who don't fall for the usual snake oil.
The facts and studies: * The largest sample tested was just 60 samples of beans, and was tested from only one source (Brazil). This is fine for individual studies, but in the real world there are hundreds (thousands?) of sources from many different countries. It's safe to say that the current studies don't even come close to testing all of the coffee from around the world. * Both OA studies found an incidence rate of approximately 50% for the OA-producing mold, at wildly different concentrations (minimum 0.2 ppb in one study, maximum 7.8 ppb in another). * Neither the FDA nor the EFSA actually have a legal limit for OA, but the EFSA "suggests" a limit of 8 µg/kg, which means that even the worst samples are below the very conservative legal limit. * One study actually tested the incidence of OA in brewed coffee, not just the beans, and found a maximum of 7.8 ppb in the brew (that's 7.8 µg per 1 kg of ground coffee). For reference, there's an EFSA directive recommending an intake of no more than 120 ng/kg (body weight) per week, which comes out to 8.4 µg/day for a 150 lb/70 kg individual, or 1.2 µg/day. * Based on the worst contamination of brewed coffee (7.8 µg/kg), doing the math, you'd have to consume the brew from 150 g of ground coffee per day. That's about half a standard-sized tin of coffee. Per day. * The 3rd study (the one rumtscho linked to, not cited by the blogger/con artist) looked at Aflatoxin, not Ochratoxin, which actually is regulated by the FDA at a maximum of 20 ppb. This study also showed approximately a 50% incidence rate after roasting, with the highest concentration of AT being 16 µg/kg for decaf (less with caffeine). So that means with any random cup of coffee you have up to a 50% chance of consuming an amount of AT that's still well below the FDA limit - that's very nearly zero risk. * None of the studies test the rate of mold growth on beans while in storage under various conditions (temperature, humidity, etc.), so we can't comment on what happens in storage.
So I guess if you want to really be on the safe side, only buy as much coffee as you think you can use in a week or two.
Don't believe everything that people tell you - especially people with something to sell. Unless you're drinking gallons of coffee a day, brewed coffee is perfectly safe. [end of quote from other site]
As for a general assessment of his website: I think the diet info is generally very good, and the infographic is especially good. But there are some very scammy elements to his website. He recently delved into investment advice and even directed readers to a specific investment adviser/manager and the investment advice is complete and utter nonsense -- literally very obvious snake oil "I-have-a-secret-formula-for-beating-the-market". Total hucksterism. It really makes the whole website suspect for me and makes me suspect the coffee and anything else he is selling. I suspect he read Ferris' 4 hour work week book, and this website is 4 hour work week business all aiming to make money and I would not trust anything on the site unless it refers to specific authoritative sources. Much of the diet advice does refer to specific authoritative sources, but most of it is just basic paleo conventional wisdom that most here would not find controversial.
In short, I think the diet infographic is the best thing on the site, and I would be very hesitant to trust any of the other claims aobut products or anything else on the site without more transparency and sources that back up the claims.
Seems to me that a stimulant addiction is a scam no matter who the dealer is. They should make coffee that you can snort off of a mirror for the full 80s club scene effect.
Can't tell you whether it's a scam -- what I -can- tell you is that the coffee smells wonderful and has an amazing flavor, so whether it's got any benefits in terms of health or not, it satisfies on an emotional level -- and that's important, too, isn't it?
Here's my response, and it echoes what others have said.
I'm a fan of Dave Asprey. A big fan. However, like anything, Bulletproof coffee is something you have to try if you're a regular coffee drinker. Those who are, like daily, it's very easy to incorporate and test. Like others, I'm always looking for a new edge to my morning/after coffee.
The stuff is legit. At least N=1. I feel great when I use MCT Oil + Butter. I also use Cinnamon + Stevia and blend it for a minute. The result is a fabulous, filling and creamy drink that can last a few hours (I generally make 32-40 oz at a time and carry it in a thermos).
I have a pretty demanding job, at least one that requires a cognitive function on-point most of the time. I've definitely seen benefits not only getting started in the day, but maintaining a high-level performance for a longer period of time. Maybe some of it is placebo, thinking I'm consuming this great stuff that should make me perform higher.
However, if this isn't enough for me to buy-in, I've tried a few other things with it. Using it DURING a heavy strength/Crossfit workout. I'm not sure if it's the MCT Oil (most have tried this as a pre-workout in the past) or the caffeine (or a combo), but it works. It's works great. After letting it cool, I've sipped on BPC for an hour and been able to complete things I've never done before. Again, maybe there is some natural progression going on here, but in-comparison to previous stuff, it's seemed to work better.
So in conclusion, maybe it's not magic, but for two things I take very seriously (work and fitness), I've seen serious benefits both physically and mentally since I started making BPC (or some personal variance) everyday.
Hmmm...my initial thought is does it have to be either a scam or awesome?
If you are finding that your tummy is handling it better than your regular cup of joe, then great! You'll find skeptics of EVERYTHING on the internet!
The bulletproof exec site is down right now, so I'm not too sure as to what their big claim is, also what the price difference is. Now I'm SUPER curious though.
Mycotoxins in coffee is interesting - and I would think that there is HUGE variability in how much would be in different types of coffee, brands and could also vary greatly from bag to bag.
I have been super skeptical of Dave Asprey and Bulletproof... been pretty vocal about it with some of my answers here on PaleoHacks.
But F me I dig bulletproof coffee! Ordered the beans and have been drinking it for a week along with the MCT oil and a teaspoon of sugar and I feel incredible. I am 10 days away from shooting my senior thesis film so things are incredibly crazy and non-stop for me with very little opportunity to get a full nights rest (7 hours max)... but the coffee has keep me sharp, energetic, but still able to calm down at night and sleep. I guess I feel bulletproof.... HAA!