There may be as many ways to alter your cup of coffee as there are people in the world: from different sweeteners to ingredients to lighten up the dark brew.
While many people stick with a standard of sugar and milk or cream, some people opt for something a little richer: bulletproof coffee with butter and coconut oil.
Another option, however, is to use ghee, a cooking staple from India that splits the difference between butter and oil.
But is ghee in coffee all it’s cracked up to be? Keep on reading for the details.
What is Ghee
Ghee is a type of clarified butter, which means that the milk solids have been cooked out, leaving only the butter’s fat and a little bit of water.
Milk solids are things like proteins, sugars, and minerals. What makes ghee unique is the method of making it. You see, there are a lot of ways to clarify butter, and the method you use changes the flavor.
French cuisine uses clarified butter in many classic dishes because removing the milk solids helps keep the milk from burning in high-heat cooking.
But the French method of clarifying butter is a quick process: the process involves simmering butter on low heat until the solids sink to the bottom, and then straining out the golden butterfat from the solids.
In the case of ghee, you simmer the butter for a more extended period, allowing the milk proteins to begin to brown.
t’s only then that you strain the fat away from the solids. The result is a richer, nuttier flavor and even lower water content.
Compared to standard butter, ghee has a deeper flavor and a higher smoke point–the temperature where an oil begins to burn.
Ghee also has a higher fat percentage compared to butter: butter is 80% fat on average, while ghee is closer to 99%.
Why Put Ghee in Coffee?
People put ghee in coffee for many different reasons.
Some people just like the flavor, of course–like any coffee preference.
For low-carb and keto diet adherents, ghee is an ideal condiment for coffee: it’s higher in fat than butter, and adding ghee to coffee cuts some of the bitterness of black coffee without adding sugar.
Some research suggests that ghee may have health benefits compared to butter and compared to other dairy products since the vitamins and other components are more concentrated.
According to science, ghee to your diet generally may improve vitamin and mineral levels and address some issues that come with weight loss. More on that later.
Finally, people may choose to add ghee to coffee because they have strong lactose intolerance. Since ghee has the milk solids removed, there’s no lactose in it, making it a safe option for people with dairy sensitivities.
Ghee in Coffee VS Butter
While you can buy ghee in specialty stores and online, it’s also relatively easy to make it at home.
But you may wonder whether it isn’t just easier to put butter in your coffee: after all, many people have unsalted butter in their fridge at any given time, so it’s right there, where ghee might mean buying a special product or spending time to make it.
Many keto diet fans swear by bulletproof coffee, which combines grass-fed butter and coconut oil as an alternative to cream or milk.
The bulletproof coffee company even sells a product called MCT oil, a blend of the two fats to add to coffee.
This MCT oil is a little different from ghee, and it’s different from regular grass-fed butter as well.
Adding ghee is a little tricky compared to other substances like coconut oil and butter. Ghee emulsifies a little differently and may require a little more agitation and stirring to get a smooth result in your cup of coffee.
Ghee coffee is not exactly the same thing as bullet coffee, but the saturated fat in ghee coffee may provide some of the same potential key benefits and features of using MCT oil or a combination of butter and coconut oil in your morning coffee.
Ghee in Coffee Flavor
Adding ghee to black coffee can be a fairly easy step towards reducing your sugar intake or helping to manage extreme dairy sensitivities, but if it doesn’t taste good, you’re not going to drink it.
Ghee coffee has a very distinct flavor, and it’s fair to say that not everyone likes it.
Ghee itself has a nutty, rich flavor due to the way that the process browns and caramelizes the milk proteins and sugars.
While those solids don’t make it into the final product, the flavors from them do linger in the butterfat. If you’ve ever had a dish with a brown butter sauce, you’re already somewhat familiar with the flavors you can expect in ghee.
Ghee also imparts a slightly sweet flavor due to the caramelized lactose in the butter it’s made from.
If you really want to sweeten things up, maple syrup and ghee used together can help smooth the transition to black coffee.
If you don’t like a fatty, sweet, nutty flavor to your coffee, ghee in coffee may not be the right choice for you. But for many people, ghee coffee is delicious and comes with a range of benefits.
Ghee in Coffee Benefits
Drinking coffee already confers some benefits for your health and well-being, from the phenols and other antioxidants in the brew to the potential health benefits of caffeine.
While there aren’t any peer-reviewed studies on ghee in coffee to show that it can provide an extra boost, the fan base continues to grow through anecdotal reports.
Nonetheless, there is some solid science related to the fats in butter coffee, which shares many similarities.
Adding ghee to coffee is popular for the following reasons:
Feel Full for Longer
Saturated fat gets a bad reputation when it comes to health, but the truth is that it is very good at certain things.
Fats help us to feel full and reduce blood sugar spikes throughout the day.
Anecdotal reports focus on the point that butter coffee or ghee coffee can help you feel full for longer and help you to avoid the sugar crash that can come from skipping breakfast or eating a sugary meal at the start of the day.
Studies like this one in Current Developments in Nutrition have consistently found that while some of the benefits of bulletproof coffee may have been overstated, there’s still some science behind it.
Especially where butter coffee or ghee in coffee excels is in helping you feel satisfied for a more extended period.
The high-calorie density (about 250 calories for a serving of bulletproof coffee), with most of those calories coming from a fatty acid complex of unsaturated fat and saturated fat, mean that ghee coffee is akin to a small meal.
The end result of this is that it may help you avoid overeating due to feeling more full.
While the same caloric load of carbohydrates may leave you feeling hungry within three hours, fats tend to take longer for the body to digest.
This means that even if you’re not a breakfast person, ghee in coffee may help bridge the gap.
It’s still a high-calorie beverage, so you probably shouldn’t drink ghee in coffee multiple times a day if you want to lose weight via a calorie deficit.
But as a breakfast replacement for your morning coffee, it can be helpful.
Lactose-Free Cream Replacement
For people with extreme dairy sensitivities, ghee coffee can make an excellent solution to the bitterness and harshness of black coffee.
Because of the way that ghee is made, people who are lactose intolerant generally have no problem with ghee coffee.
The clarifying process removes all but the smallest traces of lactose, and in some cases, all of the lactose altogether.
Coffee drinkers who want to avoid cow’s milk have many other options on the market.
Still, lactose intolerant individuals often find that the replacements don’t have quite the same satisfaction that cow’s milk provides.
That’s partially because of the saturated and unsaturated fat content in dairy milk as opposed to plant-based milks.
Then, too, if you’re following a low-carb diet for weight loss, plant-based milks can be a minefield of added sugars and starches.
Ghee coffee is an easy way to avoid the added starch and avoid potential plant allergens you might come across.
Adding ghee to your cup of Joe is easy, and if you’re used to fatty drinks, it’s tasty as well.
People with extreme dairy sensitivities should ask a medical practitioner before they try to add ghee to coffee, just because the process for making ghee can mean that trace amounts of dairy protein and dairy sugars can end up in the end product.
It’s not enough to cancel out the potential health benefits of a low-carbohydrate drink, but it could be helpful for allergies.
Ghee Coffee is Rich in Healthy Fats
Your morning coffee can be a significant hidden threat to your calorie intake.
A coffee drinker who adds lots of sugar to their cup of Joe may be consuming primarily empty calories, setting themselves up for a blood sugar crash later on.
When you add ghee to coffee, the calorie content is still reasonably high since ghee is high in fatty compounds, but the potential benefits go above and beyond what you get if you add milk.
Ghee contains a lot of healthy fats, since the milk it comes from is meant to nourish a growing cow. Those fatty acid compounds are not just tasty but good for you.
It’s also important to note that for some vitamins and minerals, you need fatty acids for the body to absorb them properly.
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are needed for fat to be adequately absorbed, and they are all essential vitamins that you need for good health, according to science.
Speaking of vitamins: ghee is rich in vitamins all on its own.
Ghee is Vitamin-Dense
It isn’t hard to imagine that ghee coffee is high in calories, but it might surprise you to know that ghee is vitamin-dense as well.
Adding ghee in coffee is a good way to boost your dietary intake of vitamin A, choline, vitamin E, and vitamin K.
A significant issue with weight loss attempts is the potential for vitamin deficiencies, especially in those four vitamins.
Vitamin A is essential for maintaining your eyesight, keeping your immune system functioning, and reproductive health.
It also plays a role in maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails. Unfortunately, it’s a fat-soluble vitamin, so low-fat diets can lead to deficiencies in this important vitamin.
Choline regulates your central nervous system, as well as your mood and memory. Lack of choline can lead to a loss of muscle control, depression, anxiety, and forgetfulness.
This vitamin is absolutely essential to developing children, which is why so many children’s foods are enriched with it.
Vitamin E is probably best known for its role in maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails, but it does many other things in the body. It’s an antioxidant, fighting damage from free radicals in your body.
Vitamin K doesn’t get as much press as some of the other compounds, but it serves an absolutely vital purpose in the body: it helps your body make the proteins it needs for blood clotting and bone formation and assists wounds to heal.
While you should get your vitamins and minerals from a variety of sources, ghee in coffee is a nutritional powerhouse, from calcium content to vitamins.
Wrapping Up Ghee Coffee
Adding ghee to black coffee isn’t just a fad based on flavor, nor is it pretentious.
The potential health benefits of adding ghee to black coffee coupled with a little more productivity make it both valuable and enjoyable.
In parallel, If you’re lactose intolerant, ghee coffee is also a good option to avoid the issues that come along with adding milk to your black coffee.
Butter coffee is common throughout the world, but it’s up to you to decide if ghee coffee takes the potential health benefits further.
The next time you’re looking to switch up your morning cup of coffee, consider adding ghee and see how you like it!