Coffee with butter: the history, why it is brewed and alternatives
Butter coffee is usually made by adding a few tablespoons of butter and oil containing medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) to the coffee. In addition to giving your cup of coffee a rich taste and creamy texture, it can also have some health benefits.
In fact, fans of butter coffee swear by its ability to boost energy levels, accelerate weight loss, and fine-tune focus. It has become especially popular among keto dieters and intermittent fasting practitioners, who claim it can help speed the transition to ketosis1a metabolic condition that uses fat as fuel instead of sugar.
“While mixing butter or oil into your morning cup of coffee seems like a recent trend, people have been adding animal fats to coffee for over a thousand years,” Hannah Cutting-Jones, Ph.D., food historian and Director of the Department of Nutritional Research at the University of Oregon, tells mindbodygreen.
“Sometime between 575-850 AD, Ethiopians consumed coffee beans ground with animal fat (probably ghee or clarified butter) to provide them with energy, stamina and courage,” adds Cutting-Jones.
According to Cutting-Jones, the practice is still quite common in many parts of the world, including Tibet and some areas in India, Singapore and Vietnam.
Its recent resurgence may have been thanks to American entrepreneur David Asprey, who visited Tibet in 2009 and “came home a believer in the physical and mental benefits of yak butter coffee,” says Cutting-Jones. Back in the United States, Asprey developed his Bulletproof Coffee recipe made with coffee, MCT oil and butter, starting the trend throughout the Western world.