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USC’s coffee gets Bulletproof power
BULLETPROOF: This bio-hacking coffee trend perks things up on campus in a space that was once a ho-hum study zone.

USC’s coffee gets Bulletproof power

Bulletproof Coffee, the drink that’s said to boost energy and cognitive function, wakes up sleepy Trojan Family Room venue, also serves kombucha and pressed juice.

Are coffee fanatics thrill seekers at heart? Signs point to yes. Offer a way to turbocharge that cup of joe and watch the coffee people line up. That’s been the case with Bulletproof Coffee, the bio-hacking drink that started a new health craze: a blend of coffee and grass-fed butter along with an oil called “brain octane” that’s purported to boost mental clarity and metabolic function.

The dining team at the University of Southern California (USC) were hoping to wake up the Trojan Family Room in the RTCC venue, a place where quiet studying took place and the mood was subdued and sleepy. Bulletproof Coffee has turned out to be just the wakeup call that was needed when it opened last school year in an existing space for a total project cost of $7,000.

The Family Room is run by USC Student Affairs, and when an old coffee concept moved out, they looked to USC Hospitality for a fresh set of eyes and a revitalizing rebrand. The overall design, a bar top with refrigeration, doesn’t allow for a kitchen, but there’s a six-tap system that allows for fresh kombucha and juice on tap, a three-compartment sink and the blenders required to make the Bulletproof coffee.

Seating around the rotunda area where the coffee shop is located has been no problem at this location, but the atmosphere itself was putting a bit of a damper on the “lively coffee shop” idea.

“The location had become somewhat of a study space where everyone speaks in whispers, but Student Affairs sees the space as more of a social zone and wanted to liven it up,” says Kris Klinger, assistant vice president of USC Dining.

Dining was tasked with “increasing the energy in the room,” and the high-octane coffee seems to be working.

To help get the ball rolling, Bulletproof has provided free branded cups and coffeemakers and donated up to one month’s work of product in order to get established at the location.

So where did Bulletproof Coffee come from? It’s the invention of biohacking entrepreneur Dave Asprey, who has said that his goal is to live to be 180 years old and has devoted his career to finding ways to “hack” the human body on a cellular level to beat the natural aging process.

With more and more consumers experimenting with their diets, along with the rise in popularity of the paleo and keto diets, buttered coffee fits into the current “fat good, carbs bad” mindset of many dieters. According to Asprey, the fat in butter—as tiny droplets suspended in coffee after being put through the blender—takes shortcut to energy in the body’s cells, mimicking a biological process in the blender. 

Asprey, who calls pour-over coffee making “meditative,” prefers toxin-free coffee beans and butter from grass-fed cows (normal butter “won’t cut it,” Asprey says).

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