Bulletproof Coffee vs. Yerba Mate: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Bulletproof Coffee has spread through the Internet like a viral meme.

It’s become widely considered as the best energy drink for high performance athletes, executives, and more. It’s also touted as a healthy energy drink contrasted with the fizzy alternatives found in gas stations.

The hype is not unfounded either. Bulletproof Coffee (BPC) legitimately gives you a very strong dose of energy. I fell in love with BPC from my first cup.  Since that first cup, I’ve been very vocal about my own consumption and adoration on social media. (See this Post by Justin Brooke)

But there were always a few negative side effects for me.

  • My stomach would get a tight knot-like feeling that ranged from mildly annoying to painful
  • I found myself feeling jittery and grinding my teeth after about 45 mins to an hour at the peak of the “high”
  • There was always a crashy-type feeling after 3-4 hours that left me feeling “spent”

So I started looking for a fix.

My first thought was, “Well what else is like coffee?” Tea was the obvious answer, but when I started looking into the tea vs. coffee debate – I was shocked at what I found.

Plain Tea vs. Plain Coffee

Without even factoring in the “bulletproof” aspect (grass-fed butter + MCT oil), teas win on several levels over coffee.

First of all, coffee is roasted and tea is dried. Anytime you add high levels of heat to food products you create a reaction that causes the creation of acrylamide, a known cancer causing substance. This is why Dave Asprey must include a warning on his website where he sells his “Upgraded Coffee.”

This doesn’t mean that tea leaves are innocent. It is possible in the drying process for tea leaves to be contaminated especially if the dryers use a smoke drying technique. However, if you buy a good, air dried tea you’re already ahead on health benefits.

If you do just 10 minutes worth of research, you’ll see that, health wise, tea pretty much beats coffee all day. Tea has more antioxidants, is recommended by the National Cancer Institute, and is loaded with vitamins as well as essential minerals.

You may not want to scour the Internet, so maybe just read Dr. Joseph Mercola’s article about why he recommends teas over coffee. Dr. Mercola is very well trusted in the health community and his article includes all of his sources in case you want to dive deeper. Also, check out this article from a legit neuroscientist about caffeine which ends with him recommending tea (not coffee).

Finally, if you read Dave Asprey’s own article about how he discovered “Bulletproof Coffee,” it was actually from being served “a creamy cup of yak butter tea.” He then later created his own recipe which included coffee and surprise-surprise he started selling coffee.

Dave Asprey Caught Lying By Joe Rogan

Based on my own research and experience with bulletproof coffee/tea, I believe Dave switched the recipe to coffee because it has a stronger feeling. I don’t think bulletproof tea would have caught on as well as BPC has because it’s a milder feeling.

When I drink bulletproof yerba mate vs coffee, the coffee feels like I’ve been hit with a photon burst of directed energy, while the tea is just a level awakeness feeling.

That aside, I wasn’t happy to find out that Dave’s claim about most coffee’s being filled with mold was untrue. He promotes his brand of coffee as being the only form you should buy because it’s made with a special process that removes all the mycotoxins.

I always thought that was kind of bullshit, so I never bought it. I figured it’s just premium coffee and bought other types of easier to acquire premium coffee.

Then I find this video from Joe Rogan, where he tested Dave’s claims and found out that it wasn’t true. Joe was pretty pissed that Dave used his platform to spread false information.

Why I Chose Yerba Mate

Not wanting to be duped again I did some thorough research on different types of teas. What I found in my research on Yerba Mate made me feel like it was the best tea for my desired effect and just made so much more sense to use than coffee.

Yerba Mate has anti-inflammatory effects, very potent source of antioxidants, lowers cholesterol, burns fat, and loaded with vitamins and minerals. Honestly, I was just looking for a caffeine source, but when you add in all the other stuff that Yerba Mate does it just makes sense.

But there was just one problem…

To be perfectly honest, my first cup of Yerba Mate didn’t impress me. I drank another cup this time with two bags and I was still let down.

That’s when I went to Youtube and found I was doing it all wrong! I was drinking Yerba Mate from tea bags and everyone else was drinking it from loose-leaf filled gourds. Here’s a video I found for you that shows you how to prepare Yerba Mate the right way.

When I drank Yerba Mate this way, I all of a sudden knew why Tim Ferriss and my buddy Tom Beal call it their secret weapon. Here’s Tim’s article about Yerba Mate and Tom’s video.

What About Yerba Mate Cancer Claims

When you google “Yerba Mate” or “Yerba Mate Safety” you’re going to find a couple headlines saying that it causes cancer. Google wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t show both sides, right?

However, I wish Google knew how to tell the difference between someone who is twisting the facts and real facts.

The lady who wrote the article about Yerba Mate causing lung cancer linked to sources that don’t conclusively prove Yerba Mate causes cancer in humans. One of which was done on a bunch of poor, disease sticken, drinkers and smokers from Uruguay. Uhhh… Tainted much??

Ironically, that same lady links to an article from Cancer.gov which recommends tea as cancer preventative.

To date there are no studies that conclusively prove Yerba Mate causes cancer.

Here’s what the worlds foremost mate scientist has to say on the issue…

Yerba mate has been consumed for centuries but it has only been scientifically studied in the last 2 decades. The growing worldwide interest in Mate has made it paramount that research on this herbal tea continues, as it has shown extraordinary possibilities not only as a consumer beverage but also in the nutraceutical industry. In regard to carcinogenesis, the most recent information suggests that the association between Mate consumption and the occurrence of cancer may not be due to the raw material itself but to contaminants that may be present in processed Mate. The high temperature at which Mate tea is consumed may also play a role. Therefore, postharvest technologies need to be improved—especially the drying process needs to be optimized to completely eliminate contaminants. Additionally, good quality control, including [thorough] analytical testing becomes imperative to insure its safety.

Elvira de Mejia (2007)

I will say though that there is overwhelming evidence that drinking hot to very hot beverages can lead to forms of mouth and throat cancer. It doesn’t matter whether it’s coffee, tea, or just plain water. This even goes for eating hot food as well.

The heat of the hot foods and beverages damages your esophageal mucosa and overtime that can lead to cancer… (so just wait for the shit to cool off and you’re ok).

Now, if you do some real research and look at the authoritative medically relevant data on Yerba Mate you’ll see that it has way more PROVEN benefits than it does bad side effects.  Here’s what the U.S. National Library of Medicine and Journal of Food Science had to say. Even WebMD rates it as “POSSIBLY SAFE.”

From Now On It’s Yerba Mate For Me

The last couple weeks have really turned me into a tea fanatic. There is so much to offer and they’ve been around for over 5,000 years.

  • Black Tea
  • Green tea
  • White tea
  • Oolong tea
  • Yerba Mate
  • Pu erh
  • Rhodiola
  • Kava kava

There seems to be a different type of tea for every flavor and use you could imagine. They’re good hot or cold and with a little stevia or honey they taste great. My favorite part is that unlike coffee, you can drink tea all day long with little to no bad side effects. In fact, with some teas it’s almost like the more you drink the better it is for you (without being excessive).

This morning I made my first cup of bulletproof yerba mate and it was delicious. It had a creamy almost milky texture to it. The flavor was much better to me than coffee, but I’ve never been a big fan of the coffee flavor. So if you’ve stayed away from bulletproof coffee because you hate the flavor of coffee, definitely give this a try.

To anyone who is switching over from BPC, realize that it’s not going to be the mega rush feeling you’re used too. It’s going to be more like a smooth ride up and a smooth ride down. Just keep in mind how much healthier it is for you over coffee and experiment with different brands.

I won’t be drinking “bulletproof” yerba mate daily though. It’s hard to make enough of it to make sense with blending in the butter and MCT oil.

It’s good enough as is anyway.

IF you decide to buy some make sure you’re buying an unsmoked kind.

In fact, if you want my recommendation, here’s where I’m buying my Yerba Mate from. It comes in big 5lb bags so you don’t have to worry about ordering often.

I also recommend getting a mesh loose-leaf tea ball. It will make the preparation and clean up much easier than pouring loose-leaf right into your mug.

Lastly, remember not to boil the water. If the water is too hot you’ll make the mate very bitter. You want the water to get hot enough to produce steam, but not boil.