Keto beginners are likely to come across one staple drink when browsing for keto-friendly recipes: fatty coffee.
Along with fat bombs and low carb versions of your favorite foods, mixing coffee with fats like butter or coconut oil has become a morning ritual for many on the keto diet.
This keto coffee, popularized as bulletproof coffee, helps boost your ketones, energize you, and satisfy you.
If you’re not already on the keto coffee bandwagon, this guide will show you how to upgrade your morning coffee to make keto easier. You’ll learn:
Keto coffee, also known as butter coffee, was brought to the mainstream by Dave Asprey under the brand name Bulletproof Coffee[*]. As the ketogenic diet became more popular, people started making their own fatty coffees at home using freshly brewed coffee and grass-fed butter, coconut oil, or MCT oil as an easy and convenient way to raise blood ketones first thing the morning.
Here’s what’s in it:
#1. Caffeine from Coffee
Caffeine from sources like sugary energy drinks are not only a no-no on keto, they can also make you jittery, give you headaches, and lead you to a subsequent crash.
But caffeine from natural sources like coffee or tea doesn’t contain any sugar or net carbs and[*]:
- Skyrockets your energy without the jitters
- Increases focus and reduces brain fog
- Improves your mood
- Boosts physical performance
Coffee also contains antioxidants, essential B vitamins, and phytonutrients, which all work to keep your body healthy and fight off harmful free radical damage to your cells[*].
This may be why researchers from one comprehensive review of 201 meta-analyses learned drinking 3-4 cups of coffee every day was connected with a reduced risk of several conditions, including[*]:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s
- Metabolic conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes
- Liver disease
Coffee suppresses your hunger too, which means you’ll eat fewer calories during the day and create a larger deficit for weight loss.
Plus, caffeine from coffee bumps up your metabolic rate so you burn more calories at rest. The good news here is this effortless weight loss attacks fat loss specifically so you can keep your hard-earned muscles intact[*].
Replacing tea for coffee isn’t the only recipe change.
#2. Healthy Saturated Fats for Sustained Intermittent Fasting
- Improve markers of stress resistance
- Lower inflammation and blood pressure
- Lead to healthier lipid levels
- Reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders (such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s), and cancer
If you’re using high-fat keto coffee in the morning to replace breakfast on an intermittent fasting schedule, these wonderful fats will help you resist food longer.
This is why keto coffee is also called butter coffee; it starts out with black coffee and then requires:
Grass-fed butter, which boasts 500% more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than butter from grain-fed cows[*].
- Help prevent cardiovascular disease
- Lower your risk of cancer
- Improve bone mass
- Fight inflammation
- Boost your immunity
You can also make ghee from grass-fed butter and use that too, or these next two healthy saturated fats:
Coconut oil, which is made by extracting oils from the white meat of coconut, can be used in place of butter. There are over 2,000 studies on coconut oil and its benefits for your health so this is a good option even if you’re not vegan[*].
Cocoa butter is fat extracted from the cocoa bean (yes, the same one used to make chocolate)[*]. Cocoa butter, like coconut oil, is solid at room temp but melts quickly in coffee. It’s also full of antioxidants and healthy saturated fats.
Now, all these fats are great, but they’re not “the one”.
MCT oil is what sets keto coffee on a pedestal above the rest.
#3. MCT Oil for Brain-Boosting Energy
MCT oil is made from pure medium chain triglycerides extracted from coconut oil.
So is MCT oil the same healthwise as coconut oil?
You cannot use coconut oil in place of MCTs and cross your fingers and hope to achieve the same health benefits.
MCTs are a byproduct of coconut oil so they’re not interchangeable or really the same thing.
Coconut oil contains around 55-65% of MCTs; extracted MCT oil is 100% MCTs.
MCTs are one of the best bioavailable sources of energy; your body doesn’t have to spend time processing these fats before they kick into high gear.
Not only are they quickly absorbed, your body turns MCTs into ketones and uses this life force immediately.
So you add extra ketones to your body (which helps you reach or maintain ketosis) and your body never has a chance to store these calories as fat — it’s a true keto win/win!
Just when you think you’ve won the showcase showdown, medium-chain triglycerides provide additional health benefits other fats can’t match, which makes them especially helpful for people following a ketogenic diet.
MCT oil helps you:
- Lose weight. MCTs help you feel fuller for longer and they have a thermogenic effect, which gives a leg up to your metabolism so you score greater scale victories[*][*][*][*].
- Lower inflammation and improve gut health. The natural antibiotics in MCT oil help your gut get rid of harmful bacteria without harming the good bacteria. The result is an optimal pH balance, which leads to a healthy gut biome, which then improves your digestion and rocks your world.
- Score better mental focus. MCTs sharpen your cognitive performance because your brain consists of and works best on fatty acids.
Ketones are able to pass through the blood-brain barrier and become rocketfuel for your central nervous system so MCTs directly support brain health.
- Increase exercise performance and muscle gains. MCT oil helps secrete insulin and insulin is necessary for building muscle[*]. Combining MCT oil with your protein shakes will help you achieve ketogains without extra carbs or sugar.
- Lower your risk of diabetes. MCTs also improve insulin sensitivity — a key factor in diabetes prevention and management for both diabetic and nondiabetic study participants[*][*].
- Support better heart health by balancing your lipid profile and reducing unhealthy cholesterol[*].
So let’s do a quick recap here:
One cup of keto coffee — packed with what we now know is caffeine and healthy, energizing fats — will increase your blood ketone levels, supercharge your brain, and lead to better overall health.
Now you definitely need to learn how to make this convenient beverage.
The only “wrong” time to sip on keto coffee is right before bedtime, but feel free to drink a keto coffee when you most need a blast of energy or a quick way to squash your appetite between meals, such as:
- In the morning after you drink a full glass of water to hydrate beforehand. This will help you wake up on the right side of the bed even if your alarm clock jarred you out of bed.
- In the afternoon when you need a brain boost to make it through the rest of your hectic day.
- During a fast to reach your intermittent fasting goals without feeling famished and tempted to nosh before your eating window opens.
- On the go. Keto coffee may not be the easiest beverage to whip up on location, but you can make a batch and bring it with you to drink as a pre- or post-workout pick-me-up.
Keto coffee will be one of the best additions to your keto meal plan, so have these ingredients on deck.
You probably already have most of these ingredients in your well-stocked keto pantry.
If not, they’re not super expensive to grab and they’ll last a fair amount of time to spread out the costs over several servings.
The classic keto coffee recipe calls for:
- 1 cup freshly brewed hot black coffee
- 1-2 tablespoons grass fed butter
- 1-2 tablespoons MCT oil or MCT oil powder
All you have to do is combine these ingredients in a blender, whip it on low for a bit, and then up the speed to high for 30 seconds until it starts to get frothy like a latte.
Pretty easy, right?
Now to make the perfect cup of keto coffee, we like to use these ingredients:
#1. Single origin, light roast coffee
Single-origin means coffee beans sourced from one single producer, crop, or region in a specific country[*].
Arabica beans are less susceptible to mold and mycotoxins, which are allowed to be present in your coffee at very low levels[*].
Single origin Arabica beans are a safer alternative because you can trace the source of your beans to local estate farms where they roast in small batches. You also get to experience a richer, deeper flavor profile specific to where those beans are grown.
Beans which are not single-origin are flown in from growing regions all over the world and then blended, roasted, packaged, and shipped from different locations. This not only increases the chances of picking up unfriendly mycotoxins but also makes for less tasty coffee.
Additionally, a light roast is key here.
The longer coffee beans are roasted, the more caffeine those beans lose. This means dark roast coffees have the least caffeine and medium-roast are somewhere in between.
So light roast coffees contain more caffeine and they’re usually less bitter, brighter, and better tasting without sugar.
How you brew your coffee is totally up to you: stick with your classic automatic coffee maker or check out an Aeropress, Chemex, or French press on Amazon, which all brew delightful, smooth cups of coffee without the plastic pollution of a Keurig.
#2. Grass-fed butter or organic coconut oil
Unsalted grass-fed butter is standard. You can read more about why we love the butter from grass-fed cows over butter made from grain-fed cows in this guide.
And you’ll want to look for virgin or unrefined coconut oil, which is widely regarded as the best type of coconut oil for consuming. Here, the meat of fresh, mature coconuts is extracted without the need of super high temperatures or chemicals.
#3. Liquid MCT oil or MCT oil powder
Boxers or briefs? Chocolate or vanilla? Lannister or Stark?
We don’t judge your choices or preferences.
Learn all about the differences between liquid MCT oil and MCT oil powder in this guide, or check out this handy chart for a quick recap of where these two titans both shine:
If you can’t decide, or if you’re a glass-half-full, always see the good side in people kind of person, it’s not a bad idea to stock both.
You can add liquid MCT oil to your keto coffee when you’re home and take along MCT powder when you’re traveling or making your second cup at work for way less mess.
Adding these staples is a solid investment in your keto pantry.
But these next optional ingredients take your keto coffee next level.
#4. Optional add ins
Use one or more of these to flavor each cup of keto coffee like a new coffee shop experience:
- Heavy whipping cream
- Unsweetened almond milk
- Unsweetened coconut milk
- Collagen peptides from collagen protein powder
- Pink Himalayan salt
- Maca powder
- Sugar-free cocoa powder
- Peppermint or almond extract
- Lavender oil
- Pure vanilla
- Monk fruit
Try experimenting with your favorite flavors and you’ll be able to whip up a keto coffee with your eyes closed in less than five minutes.
What if you don’t have time to wait for coffee to brew, add in all your keto coffee ingredients, blend, and wash up before heading out the door?
Skip the coffee chemistry class and mess hall duties and just grab a Perfect Keto Instant Keto Coffee single serve pack and go.
We combine high quality, spray-dried coffee beans (standardized to 60mg of caffeine) with 10g of MCT oil powder from organic coconuts to deliver an instant, perfect, keto-friendly coffee.
And as you’ve come to expect from us, our Perfect Keto products contain no fillers, additives or chemicals. But Instant Keto Coffee does come in three flavors:
- Unflavored: Brew with hot or cold water for first class coffee in seconds.
- Mocha: with a dusting of 100% organic, Ecuadorian cocoa powder and stevia for a guilt-free mocha latte or cold brew.
- French Vanilla: with a hint of vanilla and stevia for a perfectly sweet latte.
Add hot water for a steamy, relaxing cup of warmth and comfort or make it with cold water for an instant cold brew any time you need it.
Either way, adding keto coffee to your day will be one of the best decisions you can make before you’re totally awake.
And how often can you say that?