What is the Controversy?
If any of you listen to Joe Rogan, you may have heard him denounce Dave Asprey awhile back for “unethically using his platform (podcast)” to talk about his patented, low-toxin coffee manufacturing process. If you read Gizmodo at all, you may have seen their article, which is one of many denouncing the claims Dave Asprey has made and calling Bulletproof coffee a scam. Healthline has yet another shitty article as well, explaining that mycotoxins are a nonissue.
Interesting note: A good friend of mine is a health major, and was specifically told that she couldn’t use Healthline as a reference.
If you haven’t heard of this controversy, let me break it down for you.
The Bulletproof™ Coffee Claim
Okay. So for starters, mycotoxin content in coffee is real. The articles listed above agree with that; however, the discrepancy lies within the claim that they are “performance robbing,” as Dave Asprey states, and they are actually a problem for humans to consume.
The argument is that “the coffee industry has known about this for decades. This is why wet-processing was developed.” It’s funny to me though; all of these people who are so strongly opposed to this concept and are convinced it’s all bullshit didn’t bother to thoroughly read Dave Asprey’s article. If I was going to stand strongly against something, I wouldn’t just drink my shitty moldy coffee and start bashing someone and using claims bolstered by clickbait health websites like Healthline! Ai-Yai-Yai!
The article on the Bulletproof blog plainly states that wet processing significantly reduces the mycotoxin content compared to the old way, but doesn’t completely eliminate them. If you actually read his article, you would understand that no one way exists to successfully test for all mycotoxins. You must approach the testing from many angles, which is what he does.
But the Roasting Kills the Mold, Doesn’t it?
Dave puts this in a very interesting way. To answer the question concisely, no it does not. Although the most of the mold is gone, the toxin it produces (a mycotoxin called Ochratoxin A) still remains. It would take 180 degrees to start breaking down the toxin, so unless you drink Starbucks coffee (lol), you aren’t drinking toxin-free coffee unless you drink Bulletproof. That was a joke referring to the over-roasting of Starbucks’ coffee beans.
But You’d Have to Drink 200 Cups a Day for it to Affect You!
Herein lies one of the obstinate claims that’s actually true. Yes, I said it: only trace amounts of the mycotoxin is present on most coffee beans that aren’t Bulletproof and the studies suggest you need much more of it to have a carcinogenic effect. WEEP WOW (cartoon sound effect). You know who else said it, though? Dave Asprey! And it’s right in his blog article. Sure, he goes on to say that mycotoxins have a compounding effect and therefore should be avoided, but the fact that he even admitted it being well below the carcinogenic limit should tell you he’s out for the truth and not solely to make money.
Speaking of the whole making money thing pertaining to Dave Asprey: I love his products and the information he provides, but some bull shit is definitely festering in some of his products and he definitely takes the whole upgraded thing and runs with it for a lap or two. The point, however, isn’t that Dave’s out to make some money—that’s pretty obvious considering he only offers 10-15% promos to entice you to buy—the point is that his entire diet plan and philosophy is about removing as much of the harmful things our environment spews out to us as humanly/cyborgedly possible, and that’s what I think a lot of the opposition fails to get in touch with.
My Own Experience With Bulletproof Coffee
I’m Not Part of the Cult
Up until now, you might have thought I’m just a “buttery-lipped adherent” to the Bulletproof diet, or someone who is endorsed by the company, therefore my words are biased and should be discounted. I would totally get this vibe too if I was reading from an outside perspective. The fact of the matter is, yes, I love his podcast, and yes, I love many of his products, but I’m one of the biggest skeptics to any and all health trends and gimmicks. I just can’t stand when people pay more money for shit that’s not worth it. That’s part of the reason I started this blog.
I view it as a source of truth, cutting through all the bullshit clickbait articles and viewing topics from an unobstructed eye, by weighing the pros and cons and allowing readers to make their own informed decisions on whether to buy something or not. This is why I try to point out things I don’t like about things I actually like or personally endorse. Nothing in this industry is flawless, and you should know each and every blemish.
That little nugget aside, I did finally try Bulletproof Coffee™ beans in 2017. . .
They make a fantastic cup of coffee, and they should for nearly $20 for 12 ounces of the stuff! The pricing is something I would wholeheartedly like to see changed, especially for a person who considers themselves a progressive and idealistic biohacker. Wouldn’t you like to make it toxin-free products more accessible to the masses if your goal was to make people healthier? That being said, as a business man, I totally get the pricing. The way Dave puts it, other people have their products priced similarly and it’s strictly a marketing ploy for a great tasting, single origin cup of coffee. The price doesn’t reflect anything concerning the rigorous, toxin-testing process the Bulletproof™ company uses on its beans.
What About the No-Crash, Jitters, or Bitter-Taste Claim?
So, I haven’t really A/B tested with his beans and obsessively journaled the results in comparison to other beans, like the Kroger brand hazelnut coffee I drink sometimes (which undoubtedly has a musty smell that makes me scratch my head), but I will say that I definitely don’t get jitters when I drink his coffee.
The coffee is also not very bitter. As I said before, it tastes fantastic; however, I think all coffee has elements of bitterness. It’s like a grapefruit in that aspect. It’s just an innate quality of coffee, but some taste more bitter than others, for sure.
The no-crash thing is something I am up-in-the-air about. I think it definitely helps smooth out the caffeine buzz when you put Brain Octane and cacao butter in your coffee, as I do, so it’s hard to tell if it’s that or the quality of the beans. I will say that most of the time if I’m reaching for more than my daily 24 ounces of coffee, it’s strictly for taste when I’ve drank Bulletproof and not so much because I need a boost. So, take that with a grain of salt.
VWR Bottom Line
- Great taste
- Probably toxin-free (you never know these days)
- No jitters
- Effect of quality is subtle for most people
- There may be a way to get his beans from here (though they aren’t lab tested)
The bottom line is Bulletproof™ coffee beans are worth it if you have the money or already spend close to that amount on coffee. It’s also worth it to get if you are meticulous about removing toxins from your environment as much as possible; however, if you’re a “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” kind of guy/gal, don’t bother. The philosophy behind the diet isn’t that a little poison is okay, it’s about removing as much of the poison as you can.
As I always do, I present my skepticism at the end, but in the case of this article, most of it has already been stated. I think Dave is definitely out to get money, but I think he’s also out for the truth. Read his article and you’ll see that most of the claims against his product have been either directly or indirectly answered. If you’re OCD about making sure you remove toxins from your environment, this is the product for you. If you’re not, then don’t bother. Plain and simple.
Most of my questions today lie within the realm of “Who the hell chooses these health and fitness writers and why don’t they actually dig into their topics?!” The Gizmodo article was, for the most part, trash—as were the Healthline and Fast Company articles, though the latter of the two may have spilled the beans (so to speak) on how to get high quality coffee for cheaper than $23 a pound, which I appreciate.
But as always feel free to leave your questions, comments and concerns in the comments below. I’d love to hear your opinions, so long as they’re well-informed.
Cheers to drinking good coffee.
Thanks for reading and stay well.
– Adam Vincent