At first glance, it looks like a normal cup of joe. Upon closer inspection though, something’s amiss: a suspiciously oily sheen, a muddy consistency.
This is no ordinary latte. This brew is “bulletproof”.
“Aside from being delicious, this is the drink that will make you as productive as you want to be,” says Steve Menger, 35, the American owner of Coin Cafe and, since last month, Cambodia’s first (and, for now, only) purveyor of “bulletproof coffee”, a highly-caffeinated super brew made by blending black coffee with coconut oil and butter.
Dave Asprey, an American entrepreneur and lifestyle guru, invented the fatty recipe in 2009 after sampling Tibetan yak-butter tea on a meditation retreat in Nepal.
Since then, the high-octane java has found a devoted following of AM imbibers, particularly among Silicon Valley techies and “biohacking” crowds (US rock band Third Eye Blind also reportedly swears by the stuff).
Along with promising drinkers laser-like focus, Asprey claims the 460-calorie beverage helps with weight-loss through a process known as “ketosis”.
While the jury is still out on the brew’s scientific benefits, Dr Andrew Weil, a famous naturopath, deemed the coffee on his website a “worthwhile experiment for the sake of both taste and health”.
Preparing the potent java is simple: two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of coconut oil are blended with a cup of Vietnamese-style coffee.
Menger uses Ratanakkiri whole coffee beans, locally made coconut oil and grass-fed butter - in accordance with Asprey’s recipe.
While Menger does not fully understand the science behind the brew’s heart-thumping attributes, he swears it’s a ferocious pick-me-up.
“The mental effects are real. This stuff makes you focus,” he said.
Menger stumbled upon Asprey’s recipe earlier this year while scanning the internet for ways to improve his own mental clarity and energy levels.
He made a cup for himself and was instantly sold.
“Since I had this cafe here, I thought, ‘Well if I’m gonna drink it in Cambodia.
I might as well sell it too’,” said Menger, who relocated to the Kingdom six years ago.
Along with the cafe (which is also Cambodia’s first business to accept Bitcoin), Menger manages a Cambodian retail website called bitcambodia.com.
His bulletproof brew costs $3 and is served hot in a glass. It is a rich concoction, like a very thick latte, the kind of stuff that leaves a frothy mustache on your lip.
The coconut flavour is front and while some hardly taste the butter, others find it overpowering.
The brew’s effects, which kick in five to 10 minutes after the sips, are not to be taken lightly.
Menger, who distributes flyers advertising his unique brew around town, hopes that it will become the go-to drink for Phnom Penh’s go-getters.
He himself drinks it everyday.
“But only one cup,” he said. “That’s all you need.”