test-What is Keto Coffee, Coconut Oil Coffee and Butter Coffee?
Food & Nutrition
What is Keto Coffee, Coconut Oil Coffee and Butter Coffee?
Lindsey Toth, MS, RD • March 11, 2018

Adding coconut oil to your daily cup of joe may make you smarter, give you a longer-lasting energy boost and it may even help you lose weight. Coconut oil coffee is a modern spinoff of a Tibetan breakfast coffee tradition. Many Tibetan natives add grass-fed yak butter to their coffee or tea in the morning for an extra kick of energy and mental clarity. And health-savvy consumers took that a step farther, switching the butter for coconut oil, which is an excellent source of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Here’s everything you need to know about the history and benefits of this modern morning staple steeped in Tibetan tradition.

The History of Keto Coffee

Butter coffee, coconut coffee, keto coffee, MCT oil coffee, fatty coffee–the act of putting some type of fat in your morning brew goes by many names, and it was popularized by a traveler who encountered the traditional, yak-butter blend while hiking through Tibet. It's often consumed in place of a morning meal there and gives hikers and mountain-dwellers a long-lasting, clean-burning supply of energy while suppressing hunger and boosting mental clarity. When news of the concoction made it back stateside, it started a buzz. Soon after, butter coffee, and many variations thereof, were showing up in coffee shops across the nation.

Coconut Coffee Benefits

Adding coconut oil to your morning coffee might sound a little odd, but it’s actually pretty delicious. It adds a light, nutty flavor that isn’t overwhelming and the texture is smooth. But what are the benefits and how does it work?

Provides Clean, Long-Lasting Energy
If you try keto coffee, the first thing you might notice is that it evens out the caffeine-fueled energy boost. If you are sensitive to caffeine and coffee makes you feel a little jittery, this may help. Instead of a jolt of energy followed by a crash, adding coconut oil to your coffee gives you a get steadier, longer-burning energy.

Keeps Hunger at Bay
Another benefit of coconut oil coffee is that it keeps you feeling satisfied for longer and gives you even more energy because of the unique combination of fatty acids in coconut oil. More than 50% of the fats in coconut oil are MCTs, which are absorbed in the intestine and go straight to the liver to be used for energy or converted to ketone bodies.1 Studies also show that MCT oil may enhance weight loss and help you lose fat.2

Enhances Mental Clarity
Feeling a little foggy-headed? Medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil enhance your body’s production of ketones, which is a preferred source of energy for the brain, and ketones may help activate proteins in the brain called brain-derived neurotrophic growth factors (BDNF)3 which work to protect brain cells and stimulate the growth of new, healthy neurons.4

How to Make Coconut Oil Coffee

To make coconut oil coffee, brew a cup of your favorite coffee and blend in some coconut oil–and that’s it! But the secret is to really blend it well. Use a blender, food processor or an immersion blender until your coconut oil coffee is frothy like a latte.

We prefer using organic coffee that is sustainably sourced, and high-quality extra virgin organic coconut oil or liquid coconut oil.

Blend well in a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender until your coconut oil coffee is frothy. You can add flavor extracts or natural sweeteners if you’d like, but that’s totally up to you!

Grass-Fed Butter Coffee

If coconut oil is so great, why do some people still put butter in their coffee? Well, it isn’t just any butter, it’s grass-fed butter. And butter may just be milkfat, but it’s actually the most complex natural fat out there, containing about 400 fatty acids plus fat-soluble vitamins.5 And contrary to popular belief, numerous studies have reported that the consumption of full-fat dairy products may actually be good for you and support heart health.6 Also, grass-fed butter contains more omega-3 fatty acids than butter from grain-fed cows plus five times more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).8,7

Why does that matter? We need omega-3 fatty acids to stay healthy, but our bodies can’t make them, which means we need to get them from food sources. Omega-3 fatty acids support heart, joint and brain health, and may give your mood a boost.9 Butter might not be the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids, but it's a source nonetheless. And the benefits of CLA include weight management, immune system health and maintaining healthy blood pressure levels already within the normal range.

Adding butter to your coffee will give you many of the same effects as coconut oil, including prolonged energy and warding off hunger. You won’t get the benefits of MCTs with butter, but grass-fed butter may offer some benefits of its own, and it’s more faithful to the original Tibetan yak-milk recipe. If you get a little queasy thinking about putting butter in your coffee, just remember that butter is milkfat after all, and so is creamer. So, it isn’t such a far-fetched idea after all. But make sure your grass-fed butter is the unsalted kind.

Ghee vs. Butter in Your Coffee

Ghee is a type of clarified butter that is very common in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisines. It's made by first heating butter until it separates–milk solids start to float to the top, and liquid butterfat (clarified butter) stays on the bottom. When it's heated even longer, the milk solids begin to caramelize and the liquid butterfat loses some moisture. After that, it's strained to remove the milk solids and the result is ghee–a nutty-flavored fat with a high smoke-point that doesn't need to be refrigerated.

What's the benefit of ghee versus butter? They are similar when it comes to calories, and many of the nutrients are the same, but ghee doesn't contain casein or lactose since the milk solids are filtered out.

How to Make Butter Coffee the Right Way

Our favorite way to make butter coffee is to start with freshly ground coffee made in a French press (we love Swanson® Organic Coffee) then add in 1 tsp to 1 tbsp of unsalted, grass-fed butter and blend. Kerrygold butter works great because it’s smooth and full of flavor. Using ghee works too and results in a slightly nutty flavor.

Use a blender instead of trying to mix it by hand for a much smoother cup of coffee, or use an immersion blender in a mason jar. You have to blend it really well to get a creamy, latte-like texture.

  • 1 cup of your favorite coffee
  • 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon unsalted, grass-fed butter (depending on your preference)

Mix well in a blender, food processor or use an immersion blender until you get a creamy, frothy texture. Add a special touch with a dash of cinnamon on top.

Butter Coffee Variations

Before blending, add cinnamon, nutmeg, a tiny bit of sweetener (such as honey, maple syrup, stevia or sugar), maca, MCT oil or anything you think would taste good! Experiment to find your favorite butter coffee recipe.

Coffee with Butter and Coconut Oil

Some recipes are taking keto coffee a step further and adding both coconut oil and butter to the mix. Instead of just one type of fat, this recipe uses half coconut oil and half grass-fed butter or ghee. What’s the benefit of using both? Coconut oil contains MCTs, but it doesn’t provide omega-3 fatty acids, and grass-fed butter is exactly the opposite. Butter doesn’t have MCTs, but it contains omega-3 fatty acids along with many other fatty acids. If you use them both, you get the best of both worlds–efficient brain-fuel from MCTs, plus omega-3 fatty acids. Try it yourself and see which keto coffee you like best!

Butter and Coconut Oil Coffee

  • 1 cup of your favorite coffee
  • 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon extra virgin organic coconut oil (depending on your preference)
  • 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon grass-fed, unsalted butter or ghee (depending on your preference)

Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix well until creamy and frothy.

Best Coffee Creamer for Weight Loss

If you are looking to lose some weight, your instincts might be to avoid fat at all costs and reach for low-fat products or creamers with artificial flavors or sweeteners to keep you from getting bored with your morning beverage. But some fats are actually good for you and may even help you lose weight. It isn’t fat that makes you gain weight, it’s calories. And sure, fat tends to have more calories per serving than other ingredients, but there’s a really good chance that if you start off your day with a little fat you won’t feel as hungry later. You’ll have more energy and you will probably be less likely to snack throughout the day.

So, as long as you eat a healthy diet, fit plenty of activity in your day and keep an eye on your total calorie intake, adding coconut oil or butter to your coffee might be a better idea than using low-fat creamers. If making keto coffee every morning sounds like too much work, pick up some coconut oil coffee creamer to keep on hand.

Keto Tea with Butter or Coconut Oil

If coffee isn’t your thing, that’s okay! Another variation of this traditional Tibetan drink combines butter with tea, which Tibetans say provides a better mind-body balance than either butter or tea alone.10 Traditional butter tea recipes use pu’erh tea, a type of fermented tea, combined with yak butter, barley powder and milk curds. But you can enjoy a simpler version by using your favorite breakfast tea in place of coffee in any of the recipes above. You’ll still get the prolonged energy boost and satiety from adding healthy fats. Try it with green tea or in a Matcha green tea latte to add a healthy dose of antioxidant catechins to your morning routine.

Keto Coffee Benefits

Start your day with more energy and mental clarity by adding coconut oil or butter to your morning brew, and if you are looking for more ways to get your day off to a great start, read Kick-Start Your Morning: 6 Morning Hacks to Kick-Start Your Day, and keep the momentum going with Move More: How to Move More Each Day.

Do you drink keto coffee? Share your favorite keto coffee recipes in the comments and tell us about the benefits you’ve gained from adding healthy fats to your diet. At Swanson Health, we carry a wide variety of high-quality food and beverage products to help you pack your pantry and achieve your health and wellness goals.

Lindsey Toth, Swanson Health Products

About Lindsey Toth, MS, RD
Registered Dietitian, Swanson Health

Lindsey is a nationally recognized registered dietitian and nutritionist with a soft spot for ice cream. She empowers people to take charge of their health by finding the balance between the pleasure and nourishment in food.

Her philosophy is that you should take care of your body because it’s the only permanent home you have. It’s what inspired her to pursue a career in nutrition and, ultimately, led her to Swanson Health.


1 Coconut oil and palm oil's role in nutrition, health and national development: A review. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5044790/ (Accessed 3/08/2018)

2 Weight-loss diet that includes consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerol oil leads to a greater rate of weight and fat mass loss than does olive oil. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18326600 (Accessed 3/08/2018)

3 Mechanisms of Ketogenic Diet Action. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK98219/#masino.s15 (Accessed 3/08/2018)

4 Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2504526/ (Accessed 3/08/2018)

5 Fatty acids in bovine milk fat https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2596709/ (Accessed 3/08/2018)

6 Dairy consumption and patterns of mortality of Australian adults. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. https://www.nature.com/articles/ejcn201045 (Accessed 3/08/2018)

7 Increased concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids in milk and platelet rich plasma of grass-fed cows. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7905466 (Accessed 3/08/2018)

8 Conjugated linoleic acid content of milk from cows fed different diets. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10531600/ (Accessed 3/08/2018)

9 Omega-3 fatty acids. University of Maryland Medical Center. https://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids (Accessed 3/08/2018)

10 Yak Butter Tea Is a Traditional Tibetan Drink with a Practical Purpose. The Eater. https://www.eater.com/2016/8/25/12624068/butter-coffee-tea-tibet-yak (Accessed 3/08/2018)

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.