The Year In Food » Fine Seasonal Eating

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Creamy Coconut Butter Coffee | the year in food

Years ago, when I was in India, I spent some time in the town of Dharamsala. It was a welcome respite from India’s chaos and overstimulation. Situated in the foothills of the Himalayas, Dharamsala is where the Tibetan government in exile is based, and there is a large community of Tibetan refugees who have made the town their home. It was springtime in the foothills of the Himalayas, and it was gorgeous: things were blooming, in the afternoon clouds would gather together in brief thunderstorms, insects buzzed, and the sun was warm in that mountain way – not oppressively hot. But the experience was a complex one: a number of Tibetan students were on a prolonged hunger strike down in Delhi, trying, as they have for years, to bring attention to their situation in Tibet. On the 49th day of the hunger strike, when Indian police moved to halt it on the eve of a visit from Chinese officials, a Tibetan man set himself on fire. It was heavy, and confusing, and most of all, heartbreaking.

Creamy Coconut Butter Coffee | the year in food

Creamy Coconut Butter Coffee | the year in food

Up in Dharamsala, the entire town gathered to attend the funeral procession. There was so much frustration, and grief, and sadness, and that powerful sense of togetherness that comes in the wake of trauma and tragedy. I sat in a crowd of Tibetans, and they gave me incense to burn, and they prayed. Children gathered and repeated om mani padme hum in unison, until they were distracted and fell into play. An old woman with a broad, toothless smile sat next to me while we waited, resting one twitchy hand silently on my leg, and another on the arm of a man next to me.

Creamy Coconut Butter Coffee | the year in food

Creamy Coconut Butter Coffee | the year in food

I had forgotten about much of this until I began to think about traditional yak butter tea, from which the current trend of bulletproof coffee has emerged. I found an old journal from my time there and it was amazing to be reminded of the day. A range of complicated emotions emerged. For the fact that so little has changed for Tibetans in the years since I was there, for the weird nostalgic memories of who I was back then, for the magic of having a journal that remembers moments from my life that I no longer recall. I tried to remember whether I tried yak butter tea – I don’t think I did. I was sort of a half-hearted vegan back then, and much more picky and far less adventurous around food, and it probably sounded too weird. Ah well.

Creamy Coconut Butter Coffee | the year in food

It’s a funny thing when a food shifts from low-resource ingenuity (tea leaves used over and over again with the most easily available calorie source: yak butter) to trendy beverage of privilege, but that’s exactly what happened, and I am fully a part of it. A version of this was recommended to me while I was taking a pause from sugar, and coffee is one of the things that was hardest for me to do without sugar. I had coconut butter on hand, so that’s how I’ve always made it. And I love it. It has kind of revolutionized my morning coffee experience. It has made me triply excited for the ritual every morning – it is like a creamy, fragrant latte, laced with the faintest coconut flavor and a hint of cinnamon or cardamom.

Creamy Coconut Butter Coffee | the year in food

Yield: 2 servings

A note: I have my own way of brewing coffee, but it is done by sight and feel, not measurement and temperature, so I’m not including any instructions on that. Brew your coffee as you like. This is all about the coconut butter.

16 ounces hot, brewed coffee
2 rounded teaspoons coconut butter
Milk of choice (almond, coconut, and oat have all been used to great effect)
Dash of cinnamon or cardamom
Immersion blender (an upright blender will work too)
Large, wide-mouth mason jar for blending

In a large, wide-mouth mason jar, combine the coffee, coconut butter, milk of choice, and a dash of cinnamon or cardamom if desired. Blend until frothy with an immersion blender. Serve hot.


Recipe Type: beverage
Cuisine: healthy
Author: Kimberley Hasselbrink
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
  • 16 ounces hot, brewed coffee
  • 2 rounded teaspoons coconut butter
  • Milk of choice (almond, coconut, and oat have all been used to great effect)
  • Dash of cinnamon or cardamom
  • Immersion blender (an upright blender will work too)
  • Large, wide-mouth mason jar for blending
  1. In a large, wide-mouth mason jar, combine the coffee, coconut butter, milk of choice, and a dash of cinnamon or cardamom if desired.
  2. Blend until frothy with an immersion blender. Serve hot.
  • Nicole - I’ve just started to get into coffee and the bulletproof coffee intrigues me! I love this frothy and beautiful version.ReplyCancel

    • Kimberley - It is my favorite thing ever. :)ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - This is such a neat recipe!! Love this idea!ReplyCancel

  • Kasey - Wow, I don’t even like coconut, but your description of this coffee sounds heavenly. Beautiful writing about the event, too…It is amazing how our emotions can be triggered by a memory of taste.ReplyCancel

    • Kimberley - Thank you, Kasey! The coconut flavor is subtle – there’s also a faint fragrance of coconut, but I’m a coconut freak. :)ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn - What a powerful piece of writing Kimberley; thank you for sharing your memories and stories with us.ReplyCancel

  • Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table - I appreciate the beautiful story, especially as it makes me more excited to try coconut butter coffee. I have honestly never understood this trend, and wasn’t quite looking forward to trying it, either… But your recipe makes it sound honest and beautiful. Thank you for this!ReplyCancel

    • Kimberley - I had the same reaction to this trend too, so I especially appreciate hearing this. Thanks Ksenia!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Was just about to make a latte before I read this, but as I love coconut I am now off to make a coconut coffee instead – I don’t have butter, only hard oil, which doesn’t look too different to your photos, fingers crossed.ReplyCancel

    • Kimberley - Coconut oil totally works! And who knew that an immersion blender can essentially make a latte? It’s my favorite thing.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - This is SO happening. Whipping up some coconut butter, STAT!ReplyCancel

    • Kimberley - Next, I need to make my own coconut butter.ReplyCancel

  • cynthia - This is such a beautiful post, Kimberley. Thank you for sharing, and for this gorgeous coconut butter coffee — I can’t wait to try it!ReplyCancel

  • Melisa - Normally I don’t like coffee, but I’m definitely going to try this out! X


  • RIa - How do you make the coconut butter? I would love this coffee!ReplyCancel

    • Kimberley - Hi Ria! You can actually buy coconut butter at most health food stores, and I believe that Trader Joe’s carries it now too. You can substitute coconut oil as well, which is more readily available.ReplyCancel

  • Gaby - This looks like a fantastic coffee, love that you used coconut butter!ReplyCancel

  • Emily - This beautiful post inspired me to make coconut butter from scratch for the first time yesterday (it was so easy!) and now I have this delicious frothy thing in front of me. Thank you! Having something to look forward to in the morning is pretty much the only way I get out of bed, and this is perfect.ReplyCancel

    • Kimberley - I love that! I still have not made it from scratch (apart from one failed attempt that overheated my food processor.) It is exactly what I need to feel enthused in the morning too. A revolution!ReplyCancel

  • Kirstie - Your writing is so moving. The photographs are beautifully inspiring and light and you’ve created an amazing feeling around your ritual. I need to try this. Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

    • Kimberley - Thank you so much, Kristie! I couldn’t have asked for a more thoughtful response. It’s appreciated. :)ReplyCancel

  • thefolia - Wow that sounds like quite the experience…the things we take for granted :(ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - I like your cooking blog! Check out my blog too! Let’s connect!


  • Aimee - How much milk do you think you use?ReplyCancel

  • Djaniella - YUM! Wow this looks super delicious :) I LOVE LOVE LOVE coffee and have never heard of the use of coconut butter. Does it substitute as the sweetener for the coffee?ReplyCancel

  • Tarin Lindsey - This CREAMY COCONUT BUTTER COFFEE recipe looks delicious and yummy. Your ingredients is good with perfect background. I have to make this and share it with my friends. I am so excited to prepare this recipe.Thanks for this recipe I learned a lot. GREAT!ReplyCancel

  • Wei - I think my mind exploded just from reading the title. This looks so amazing! Your photos are always so beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Linda - I prefer using coconut cream and coconut oil in my coffee, but I love the idea of using an emersion blender. I’ve been using my stand blender, but recently noticed that the hot coffee might be affecting one of the seals. A wide mouth jar and hand blender is the perfect solution. Especially since both me and my husband like blending our coffee. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Ronoh Robert - Can tea be used as alternative for coffee?ReplyCancel

  • martin - this drink is inspired by such a sad story, feeling almost sad as i drink it.ReplyCancel

  • paul - between tea and coffee I will always go for coffee.ReplyCancel

  • tabby - just stumbled on to your blog.So happy.ReplyCancel

  • Rosy - Thanks for sharing. Really nice.ReplyCancel

  • Tools of Chefs - Beautiful story Kimberley! Sad that not much has changed for the Tibetans since that tragic incident.

    Also your pictures are simply breathtaking!

    Question regarding the recipe. Do you think it would be ok to use Soy milk instead of an Almond or Coconut milk? Not sure if it might mix up the flavors too much?


  • Jarvis - very nice i like the looks of themReplyCancel

  • DrinkOfTheGods - This stuff is amazing! I drink it almost every morning, but especially if I need to study or push my brain. It really gets your brain going in amazing ways. Better short-term memory, enhanced awareness, I stay full and I feel great!ReplyCancel

  • Cristina - I do wonder what yak butter tastes like…I suppose nothing at our local stores even comes close to it…I am going to investigate how that tea is made in Tibet…it sounds fascinating.

    That is a sad story and, unfortunately, one that repeats itself all over the world every day…maybe even as I write these lines.

    Thanks for the post. I have all the ingredients that you mention at hand and I also have my Chemex coffee maker all ready to go…I will try this recipe.ReplyCancel

  • Best pediatrician in Dubai - super recipe. will try this today itself.ReplyCancel

  • Niña - I searched for coffee and coconut butter since I didn’t have coconut oil on hand then found your post. Lovely writing and my cup of coffee +coconut butter + coconut milk came out really nice. Thank youReplyCancel

  • dianne willimon - is there a recipe for coconut butter or is it available for purchase and is there a specific brand?ReplyCancel

    • Michael Hill - Besides purchasing making coconut butter is super easy. 5-6 or so cups of flaked or shredded coconut(unsweetened) and 5 to 10 minutes in a food processor or blender with maybe 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil mid way through.ReplyCancel

  • margie - Looking for some coconut butter recipes, I was very happy to come across your post. I spent a couple of years in the Dharamsala area in the late 90s. I was living in one of the Tibetan refugee camps outside Dharamsala and was served salted Tibetan butter tea early every morning. This was cow’s butter as they do not keep yaks in that area of India. It took a little time to get used to the flavor, but after a short while, I came to love it and pretty much gave up on coffee during that time. Now I have become very fond of Coffee and coconut butter blended in a high speed blender, a lovely treat every day.
    Btw LOVE your site!!ReplyCancel

  • Danica - Wow! I don’t normally love coffee, but this idea has completely changed me. This coffee is so yummy and creamy, its amazing!

    I recently got this chai spice blend off of etsy and have been including a sprinkle of it into the recipe and it really puts it over the top! I would highly recommend it!ReplyCancel

  • Meghan R. - I have been using coconut butter and a small bit of coconut milk creamer to make vegan “bulletproof” coffee for the last week or so, and it’s SO delicious. My only criticism is that it can be a little grainy/gritty, do you experience this at all? Could it be I’m not using the best brand for the job? Would love your thoughts :)ReplyCancel

  • david - these recipes are good and I want to share this with everyone good work.ReplyCancel

  • Gabrielle - I am way late to this post, but just want to say a huge THANK YOU for this coconut butter coffee recipe! I have tried to give up sugary creamers in my coffee for so long, but nothing ever satisfied me and I end up going back. I made this this morning and omg I am never going back! I am so looking forward to this new ritual and delicious morning bevvie every day. Thank you for sharing!!ReplyCancel

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