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11 Questions About Butter Coffee, Answered

Whether you’ve been putting butter in your coffee for years, or you’re just hearing about it, chances are that you’ve come across at least some of these questions. While I’ve obviously got an interest in the answer, it’s still a great idea to critically examine as many viewpoints as possible, so that you can draw your own conclusions.

1) What’s this new fad about?

Rich, Buttery CoffeeIt’s actually not very new. As Dr. Weil explains: “adding butter to hot drinks is a longstanding tradition in many parts of the world. Mixing spiced butter into coffee is common in Ethiopia, for example. Similarly, hot tea with yak butter…”

 

2) Isn’t all that fat a bad idea?

Of the many debunked nutrition myths many people still cling to, the Lipid Hypothesis is among the most stubborn. There are ample reasons to doubt the assertion that fat intake leads directly to heart disease, but the story is far more complicated than a simplistic “eating A causes B” simplification. Among those which I find most compelling, this is an excellent place to start.

Also take a look at Why a High-Fat Diet is Healthy and Safe, paying particular attention to the fact that the types of fat are essential.

 

3) But fat is fat, right? What’s the difference?

It’s tempting to think that what we call “fat” is basically all the same thing. Again, start with some basic definitions, paying careful attention to the differences between monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, essential fatty acids and saturated fats. And keep an open mind, because much of what you may think you know about these (“they’re all bad”; “avoid fat entirely”; etc.) deserves a much closer look.

Saturated fat has received a bad reputation, but it's what 1/2 of our cells' membranes are made of, and it's essential for good health
A saturated fat molecule. Saturated fat has received a bad reputation, but it’s what 1/2 of our cells’ membranes are made of, and it’s essential for good health

Because of what we’ve chosen to make fatCoffee from, it bears taking a moment to learn a bit about saturated fat, which many people assume is another phrase for “pure, concentrated evil.” It’s not. Saturated fat is an essential dietary element, as it comprises about 1/2 of our cell membranes. And “saturated animal fats, like butter or fatty organ meats, contain huge amounts of essential fat-soluble vitamins (K2, A, D, among others).” (Read more…)

 

4) Great, so butter is awesome. Any butter, though, right?

Grass-fed butter has a different nutritional profile than butter from grain-fed cowsIf only it were that simple! There are an abundance of differences between butter from grass-fed cows and butter from cows which eat grains. Your best bet for obtaining excellent, high-quality butter is your local farmer’s market. fatCoffee® is made with ghee that comes from 100% grass-fed cows, pastured in Lancaster County, PA (about 20 miles from where we make it.)

 

5) Why would I actually put butter in my coffee? It tastes fine on this piece of toast.

To each her own, but you might want to think again about that toast. Apart from the awesome nutritional profile of grass-fed butter, adding it to your coffee, and shaking it vigorously or using a blender, makes an incredible, latte-like beverage. And unlike these concoctions, none of that amazing taste comes from refined sugars.

If you’re a coffee drinker, adding grass-fed butter has some potential benefits.

 

6) But why ghee? And what is ghee?

One of the essential reasons I began looking for an alternative to butter was that I wanted to make butter coffee when I traveled. And although some folks don’t mind packing a Nutribullet and a stick of butter with them, I found that TSA officials tend to be suspicious of big oily stains seeping through your carry-on luggage.

Plus, butter needs to be refrigerated, and do you really want rancid, spoiled butter in your coffee? Of course not.

ghee is clarified butter. and amazing.Ghee, on the other hand, doesn’t need to be refrigerated. And the reason is simple: ghee is simply butter, with the water and milk solids taken out. Take a pound of butter, put it in a pot over medium heat for about 15 minutes, then strain the resulting goodness through a bit of cheesecloth. What comes out on the other side is ghee.

 

7) How does this actually taste? 

Well, if you ask me, it tastes amazing. But it would, right? It’s butter, and most people don’t complain that “this food is just too buttery. I mean, it’s just so succulent and mouth watering and satisfying, I can’t stand it.”

But truth be told, there’s definitely a trick to it: you need to mix it up good. Because butter floating on top of coffee tastes like… well, a mouthful of butter, followed by a cup of coffee.

When you mix it up, the fat in the butter emulsifies into the coffee, and the result is a very creamy, smooth, latte-like beverage.

Think of it this way: on a scale of 1-10, where “1” is the limp, pasty complexion of coffee with skim milk, and 10 is the rich, creamy succulence of coffee with heavy cream, butter ranks around 12.

 

8) So, it’s high calorie, yeah?

Yes, not that that’s a bad thing. Again, look at the structure of what’s going into your coffee. Grass-fed butter has a vastly different nutritional profile than conventional whole milk – and, heaven-forbid, CoffeeMate (whoa, those are certainly some… ingredients.)

 

9) Coffee + Butter = Breakfast?

Satiating, certainly. And some people do find that they’ll skip breakfast when they have butter coffee, but we don’t recommend it. (Besides, why would you skip bacon?) Many people who drink butter coffee find that it helps them stay focused and energized through the morning.

But I tend to view butter coffee in general, and fatCoffee in particular, as a supplement to a breakfast that is high in the nutrients which butter and coconut oil aren’t. (Which are plenty, and important.)

 

10) This all sounds complicated

There are a number of recipes you can follow for making butter coffee, but I obviously have my favorite:

  • Add 1 packet of fatCoffee to a small, sealable water bottle
  • Add 8 oz of fresh-brewed, hot coffee
  • Shake for 30 seconds; open carefully
  • Drink (or, optionally, pour it into a mug first)

 

11) Does it matter what kind of coffee I use?

There are definitely people who think it does, as well as some considerable number of people who’ll tell you that most single-source, fresh-roasted beans are equally fine to use. We have sourced some excellent single-source coffee which I’m including in our Private Beta Taste Release 1, if you’re lucky enough to get a pack.

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Why Put Butter in Coffee?

Maybe you saw someone do it on TV. Or you read about it on a Paleo blog. Or you saw something about it on the internet. Or maybe you’ve been to Tibet or Nepal, or Ethiopia at some point in the last 1,000 years. Adding a high-quality fat to a hot drink such as tea or coffee has been around a long time.

Unexpected? Think about what you might put in your coffee today: milk, creamer, or half-and-half. Butter (and ghee) is just way further up the so-creamy-it-tastes-like-heaven curve.

Not all Butter is Created Equal

You can’t just slap a pat of any old butter in your coffee, though, and expect decent things to happen. Because butter coffee is about more than just the taste of churned cream or ghee, it’s about getting the right kinds of fats into your body.

Milk from grass-fed cows makes all the difference, both in the taste and color of the butter, and in the composition of the fats inside.

Not all “Pastured Butter” is actually 100% grass-fed

If you’re trying to maximize the benefits of putting grass-fed butter in your coffee (or anywhere in your diet), it makes sense to look for butter that comes from cows which are always 100% pastured and grass-fed. Unfortunately, for one of the most popular grass-fed options, this isn’t the case. If the cows’ feed is being “supplemented”, it needs to be supplemented with hay, alfalfa, or other grasses that can be stored for winter feed. 

We use ghee made from 100% pasture-raised and grass-fed butter, which comes from cows raised in Lancaster County, PA.

Ghee or Butter?

Sometimes people ask why we use ghee instead of butter. The answer is simple: ghee doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and that’s why fatCoffee packets can go anywhere with you, and be ready anytime you want to make butter coffee. 

ghee is clarified butter. and amazing.Ghee is essentially clarified butter. When you slowly and gently heat butter, the milk solids settle to the bottom, and the water evaporates. What’s left is ghee, which has a slightly sweeter, nuttier taste profile. It’s also completely shelf-stable, so again – no refrigeration required.

Substitutes are no substitute 

We mix only the highest quality organic coconut oil and MCT oil, along with whole powdered goat milk from pastured goats, in with our ghee. As a result, fatCoffee ain’t cheap. But we haven’t ever really looked for cheaper alternatives, because the quality of the ingredients is 100% of the reason why we make fatCoffee – the best fats, for the best you.

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The Shaker Method

fatCoffee® is designed to be easy to make, and this is by far the easiest and most portable way to make it. This video shows you how to use a water bottle and hot coffee to make fatCoffee in about 60 seconds (well 54 seconds, not including the time it takes to pour it into a cup. Which is optional anyway.)

We use the Nalgene OTF Kids Chomp bottle in this video.