Bulletproof coffee gained popularity globally for its health benefits, and soon local health conscious coffee drinkers were wondering what this “butter coffee” is all about. At its peak, we even had requests for butter coffee during our specialty coffee cart service! (unfortunately we do not serve bulletproof coffee as part of our regular menu.)
If you’ve just discovered this “health” drink and are wondering what it’s about, this article aims to answer some of your questions.
What is Butter Coffee?
As its name suggests, butter coffee is a drink of coffee with butter.
Locally, Kopi Gu You has been a staple in coffee shops for decades. However, this drink only caught the attention of coffee drinkers after the rise in popularity of a drink called “Bulletproof Coffee” (more on it below).
- What is Butter Coffee?
- What is Kopi Gu You?
- Where to find Kopi Gu You in Singapore
- How to brew Kopi Gu You at home?
- What is Bulletproof Coffee?
- Butter Coffee vs Bulletproof Coffee
- I tried Bulletproof Coffee for 2 weeks, here’s my experience
What is Kopi Gu You?
Kopi Gu You is kopi served with butter in it.
Its name translates to “coffee butter” in Hokkien and is said to have been served in Singapore coffee shops since the 1930s.
The addition of butter gives kopi gu you a smoother, thicker mouthfeel with a nutty finish.
Although it’s not the daily go-to drink for most, our version of butter coffee aka kopi gu you is prominent enough to be mentioned by Michelin’s Guide.
Where to find Kopi Gu You in Singapore
Today, some coffee shops continue to serve it (sometimes off the menu). Two popular places to find Kopi Gu You in Singapore are:
Heap Seng Leong
Located near Lavendar MRT, this old school kopitiam is easy to miss if you’re not on the lookout for it.
Fronted by a father and son pair, you can enjoy a local breakfast consisting of local kopi, kaya bread toasted over charcoal and half boiled eggs at a fair price. They also serve Kopi Gu You here.
According to Google Maps, they are open daily till 4pm, although based on my experience, their opening hours can be erratic. You’ll have a good chance if you head over early in the mornings.
Tong Ah Eating House
Located along Keong Saik Rd, Tong Ah Eating house is one of the oldest kopitiam around. They used to be located at the iconic building that separates Keong Siak Rd and Teck Lim Road, but have relocated to a shop opposite their previous location. (more on the story here)
You can enjoy Singapore’s favorite local breakfast along with a cup of Kopi Gu You at Tong Ah eating house.
They are open daily from 7am to 10pm but can get quite packed on weekends.
Although they are popular for their kopi and special crispy kaya toast, Tong Ah also serves local Tze Char dishes for a heavier meal.
How to brew Kopi Gu You at home?
If you prefer to brew your own Kopi Gu You at home, here’s a quick recipe:
Kopi Gu You/Butter Coffee Recipe
- To an empty cup, add 2 teaspoons of condensed milk
- Fill 4/5 of the cup with kopi concentrate.
- Top up with hot water. Feel free to dilute your kopi to desired strength.
- Add a slice of butter (~5g) on top of the coffee.
- Mix it all up before drinking
What is Bulletproof Coffee?
Developed, named and made popular by entrepreneur Dave Asprey, Bulletproof coffee is a drink made from brewed coffee, unsalted butter and medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which is an easily digested type of fat.
MCTs are naturally found in oils like coconut oil and palm kernel oil, as well as dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese. Although the official Bulletproof coffee site does retail “pure” MCT oil “sourced from coconuts”, priced at a premium.
As part of the Bulletproof Coffee merchandise, Ghee is recommended as a source of unsalted butter.
Bulletproof Coffee is a product for the health conscious consumer who is into ketosis and intermittent fasting. Although in recent years, they have added a “bulletproof latte” into the mix.
Bulletproof Coffee Recipe
- Brew a cup of coffee (between 8 – 12 oz).
- Add coffee, 1-2 teaspoons of MCT Oil and 1 – 2 teaspoons of Ghee to a blender.
- Blend for 20 seconds or until all oil and ghee has been incorporated.
- Down it. (tip: don’t bother to sip)
You can get the official bulletproof coffee recipe here which at the point of writing suggests a wide range of 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoon of MCT oil. (They had recommended 1 tablespoon of MCT oil previously.)
They also recommend grass-fed butter for a higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids and a slew of vitamins and antioxidants.
Butter Coffee vs Bulletproof Coffee
The key difference between butter coffee and bulletproof coffee is the addition of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in bulletproof coffee. Although in western media, these terms are used interchangeably as “Bulletproof coffee” has been trademarked by Asprey’s company.
The addition of MCTs also calls for the latter to be blended for better incorporation of all that fat into the drink while the former can be enjoyed without being blended.
Why did Bulletproof Coffee gain popularity?
Bulletproof coffee gained popularity among biohackers initially and gained traction among those on intermittent fasting or keto diet lately.
It offers an efficient way to consume a high fat, high calorie drink without a tinge of processed carbohydrate. And according to the Bulletproof Coffee website, Bulletproof Coffee helps you “feel full and focused”.
MCT oils are also touted to help the body burn more calories and regulate cholesterol levels, although according to Examine.com’s compilation, most of its effects are minor.
There have been (small group) studies done on the effects of Bulletproof Coffee, but most of them suggest that the benefits are not significant. This paper does not recommend bulletproof coffee for those with high serum lipid levels or dyslipemia. And most nutritionists don’t recommend bulletproof coffee due to its high saturated fat content.
I tried Bulletproof Coffee for 2 weeks, here’s my experience
After hearing about the benefits of Bulletproof Coffee, I asked a cousin to bring a set back for me. I consumed it for 2 weeks, limited to the weekdays and here’re my takeaways:
- It does not suppress hunger initially
There’s a period of acclimatisation for those who just started on Bulletproof Coffee. I usually only consume a cup of pourover coffee for breakfast, starting on the Bulletproof Coffee gave me hunger pangs initially.
I would expect those who are used to a full breakfast to experience a similar acclimatisation period.
- Runny stool initially
What goes in, must come out I guess.
The switch from a regular coffee to a fat-filled coffee for breakfast definitely made a difference, to my gut. This lasted for the first week only.
According to some forums, bulletproof coffee helps to improve gut health. In a way, I guess it did?
- More focused / awake
I’ve got to say, after taking bulletproof coffee, I did feel focused (and motivated) for the morning, till the hunger pangs hit.
I generally took the drink at around 7 to 7.30am and crashed by 10.30am which was also when the hunger pangs came.
Thereafter, whatever focus generated from the bulletproof coffee diet couldn’t win the distraction of the hunger pangs.
I didn’t track my food intake before and during the bulletproof coffee test, so I’m not sure if I ended up eating more.
- Troublesome to make – blender and all
I tried to cheat by manually incorporating all that fat using a spoon initially – it doesn’t work. The key drawback of the bulletproof coffee to me, is the need to blend the coffee. It was a pain to have to wash all that fat and oil from the blender every. single. morning.
Overall, I’m not sold on the idea of bulletproof coffee and the scientific research available is not strong enough to back it up but to each his own. I still enjoy a cup of kopi gu you occasionally though.
This article aims to answer questions on coffee with butter following the Bulletproof Coffee craze. Although it has cooled down significantly, it is remains popular especially among those who practice low carb diets. In fact at the point of writing, Jay Chou’s mother is considering an IPO for the Modong Bulletproof Coffee in Hong Kong!
That said, my take is that Kopi Gu You is a great way to enjoy local kopi, but I do not think it should be indulged in on a daily basis. If you’re on a low carb diet, please consult your physician if you’re thinking of adding Bulletproof into your diet. And in case you’re wondering, no, we do not serve butter coffee at our coffee carts. 😅