I take the first sip of my Bulletproof coffee beverage at the newly opened Arts District location in the Santa Fe One Complex. The hot, greasy black liquid slowly settles onto my tongue, consequently coating the roof of my mouth, too. A minute later, I take another sip; Gently, grease from the prior ingestion combines to form what feels like a layer of butter in my throat. I try to take a third gulp for the team, but decide against it – watching the rest of the butter rise to the surface makes for a painfully guilt-filled sip when it initially brushes my lips with calorie-filled gloss.
Developed by entrepreneur Dave Asprey in 2009, Bulletproof Coffee is a part of the Bulletproof diet, an anti-inflammatory eating plan of high fats, moderate protein, and low carbs. The coffee itself is black, “upgraded” coffee that gets blended with grass-fed butter and octane oil. Asprey developed the concept after a fulfilling trip to Tibet and experiencing yak-butter tea drinks, a tradition that has been practiced in many countries like Nepal, Ethiopia, Vietnam, and Singapore.
Its main selling points are the, of course, weight loss benefits. The low-mold coffee grounds will trigger a metabolic state in your brain called ketosis, thus supercharging your body’s ability to burn calories at a much higher rate. The fat from the butter and brain octane oil will also reduce any cravings. Overall, your brain is charged, focused and ready to power through the morning while your body is filled with buttery goodness rather than that breakfast sandwich.
After seeing growing success and features on top television shows like Good Morning America and the Today Show, Bulletproof Coffee opened its café doors in Santa Monica in 2014. While this location serves food complementary to the Bulletproof diet, the Arts District location is currently limited to its coffee menu of 7-10 drinks and some ice cream, soup, and bone broth—anyone care to meet here for lunch next week?
The benefits aren’t just limited to the menu—the café itself boasts of an environment that is high performance-friendly. When I approached the front counter, two giggling Angelenos struggled to keep their balance on two vibrating scales placed on the floor next to me. I later learned that they were “The Bulletproof Vibes,” part of whole body vibration therapy that claims to detoxify and strengthen the immune system, regain muscle strength, reduce recovery time, and stimulate healthier brain function.
The location also serves their drinks in “borosilicate glass beakers” – everything tastes better in glass, right? In addition to using high quality materials and blenders, Bulletproof also boasts of strange, science-heavy features to power your coffee experience like pulsed electro-magnetic fields in chairs, aluminum free atmospheres, electrically grounded floors, tables, and chairs, and an extremely low mold atmosphere inoculated with Homebiotic spray.
What does this all make for a coffee experience?
It makes for the ultimate anti-coffee house experience. Sure, feel free to come in here and study but also find confusion as your “baristas” approach you to explain the Bulletproof diet, the menu, and why you should begin the diet yourself. You can’t shop for coffee beans but you can gaze upon the brightly-lit walls of diet pills, books and t-shirts proclaiming your enthusiasm and support of the Bulletproof diet.
Try the “CoffeePlus Protein,” Bulletproof coffee that gets loaded with collagen, the main protein found in animal connective tissue or their version of a mocha, the same coffee with upgraded chocolate and upgraded sweetness. Maybe a “No-Coffee Latte” will suit your fancy, that which includes brain octane, vanillamax, butter and upgraded sweetness. From enough research on the definition of “upgraded” in Bulletproof language, I’ve translated that it’s ingredients that are processed in such a way that erases as many molds as possible from them. However, you can also stick with just the original Bulletproof recipe, as I did, of coffee blended with 1-2 tablespoons of grass-fed butter and brain octane oil.
What does this come down to, exactly? A hot, greasy frothy cup of coffee that literally tastes like what it is, coffee with a shit-load of butter in it. It’s ironic that the alleged calorie-burning claims of the drink have the totally opposite mental effect on me as I take my few sips from it. The cold, sterile oranges and greys of the café make me feel like I’m inside a vitamin store rather than a coffee shop itself as I turn to look at the aforementioned displays beaming at me close by.
Essentially, I feel like I’m drinking a cup of fat, and make my way for the exit after that quick, third sip attempt.
While I will give Bulletproof credit for bringing something new to the already buzzing coffee scene of the L.A. Arts District, I warn anyone who’s looking for a comfortable coffee shop atmosphere and a steaming traditional cup of joe to stay clear from this space.
Judging from the environment, the drink and the very strategic location of the upscale boutique complex, the shop feels like an extended, tangible version of the Bulletproof diet in café form. If you believe in the Bulletproof diet or looking to experiment, then this is your go-to spot. It’s most definitely not a place to meet a friend and do work, but rather a spot to have a one-time experience or fuel your cabinet with Bulletproof diet-pills and ingredients.