The 4 Secrets of Getting Wired on Caffeine

a cartoon drinking a pot of coffee holding a large mug
Share:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

It’s no secret that Bulletproof Coffee is one of the best ways you can supercharge your brain function.  Every day, more and more people are improving their cognitive performance thanks to Bulletproof Coffee.

Check out what others are saying about Bulletproof Coffee!

“Brew, blend, drink!  OMG! it’s like coffee on steroids that tastes like heaven!” ~ Vertun2002

“Upgraded Coffee has arrived! Love this stuff!” ~Shannon Ford, Mrs. USA

“Doing a weigh-in & realizing that I’ve lost 10 lbs over the last few weeks with the help of yummy Bulletproof Coffee and IF. 🙂 ”  ~Katie Brown

However, Bulletproof Coffee isn’t the end of the road when it comes to using caffeine to boost your brainpower.  Caffeine is a powerful stimulant, but there are four tricks you need to use to get the most benefit from your Bulletproof Coffee.

1. Take small, frequent doses.

According to a interview with neuroscientist Chris Chatham, small, regular doses of caffeine are better for improving mental performance than large doses.  As someone who used to drown himself in 64 ounces of coffee before computer science class every morning, this is powerful information.  Chatham says the optimal dose of caffeine for mental performance is probably around 20-200 mg/hour.  An average cup of filtered coffee has about 100-150 mg of caffeine, so one cup per hour is a good starting point.

There is only so much caffeine that your brain can deal with at any one time.  If you drink too much too soon, much of it will go to waste.  If you take smaller, more frequent doses, you can get the full benefit from each speck of caffeine that goes into your body.

2. Use caffeine for quantity, not quality.

You have to be selective about what you do when you’re wired on caffeine.  Caffeine doesn’t improve performance across the board.  It helps you perform tasks that you’re already good at faster, but it doesn’t help you perform better on many complex tasks.

In general, caffeine helps you work faster, but not better.  If you’re trying to get the most out of your caffeine buzz, do tedious work that doesn’t require the most cognitive effort, like data entry or answering emails.  You’ll get the job done faster, but you may sacrifice a small amount of quality for quantity, which is fine in some cases.

My experience is that I’m a much better writer and produce my best content on strong black or Bulletproof coffee.

3. Dial in your optimal dose.

Everyone has a different tolerance for caffeine.  For some people it makes almost no difference, while others get amped on the smallest amounts.  Your individual caffeine tolerance depends on your diet, lifestyle, and genetics.  As is often the case here on the Bulletproof Executive, the only real solution is to test it on yourself.  Experiment with different amounts of caffeine, consuming it at different times throughout the morning, and at different intervals.  Post your findings in the comments, we’d love to hear what you find.

4. Help caffeine do its job with grapefruit, sugar, and fat.

I’ve written about the problems of consuming too much grapefruit before, but as long as you don’t eat too much or do it daily, it can help increase the effectiveness of caffeine.  Tim Ferriss talked about this a little in his 4-Hour Body book, but the summary is that grapefruit has a compound called narangin that helps slow the clearance of caffeine (and toxins) from your system.  If you eat a small piece of grapefruit in the morning with your coffee, or take some grapefruit seed extract, you can make the caffeine stay in your bloodstream for longer than it otherwise would.  If you’re taking medications, before you try the grapefruit trick, make sure your meds aren’t contraindicated with grapefruit.

Sugar is bad for you if you eat too much, but a teaspoon in your morning coffee isn’t going to kill you (even if it does ruin your Bulletproof Intermittent Fast).  In fact, small amounts of sugar can increase your performance on a test if taken right beforehand, because your brain soaks up the sugar and uses it for fuel (glucose).  Sugar also helps the absorption of caffeine, but not as much as fat.

One of the reasons Bulletproof Coffee has such a strong effect on brain function is the fat.  Besides the high nutrient density and cognitive boosting effects of grass-fed butter or grass-fed ghee and Brain Octane Oil, these fats also increase the absorption of caffeine.  When you drink coffee mixed with healthy fat (aka Bulletproof Coffee), you’re getting a much stronger effect than if you were to have either one by itself. It’s even better if the coffee is brewed without a paper filter.

Hint: Those Four Secrets Are Only Just The Beginning….

Most businesspeople fuel themselves with caffeine, but not everyone does it right.  Most use high-toxin coffee that does more harm than good.  Even if you’re using a high quality mold-free coffee, you can still do better.

The science of caffeine – and the benefits of caffeine itself, whether or not in the form of coffee – is an expansive and wildly fascinating topic.  Check out my recent blog post on the perks of caffeine (no pun intended!) for more, but in a nutshell:

  • Caffeine sensitivity varies from person to person.  That’s why you may only love one cup a day, but one of your friends can guzzle 6 while your other friend goes nuts from just a few sips.
  • Scientists have found at least 6 genes that directly influence how your body metabolizes caffeine (read more here.)
  • Caffeine competes with and suppresses a neurotransmitter in your brain called adenosine. It binds to certain receptors in the brain like a key fitting into a lock. If caffeine is in the lock, adenosine can’t bind, and it can’t make you sleepy. By blocking adenosine, caffeine keeps the cell running, and keeps you awake.
  • When caffeine blocks adenosine, stimulating brain chemicals like glutamate and dopamine join the party and flow more freely — giving you a surge of energy, improving mental performance, and slowing age-related mental decline.  Caffeine also increases serotonin, a major mood influencer. The boost makes you feel more positive, and it’s strong enough to measurably affect depression.

All this is in part why coffee power naps are so…powerful!  Learn how to hack your coffee napping here.

Self-Quantify Your Coffee Dosing

Drinking coffee in small, frequent doses helps maximize the absorption and potency of caffeine.  If you schedule your day so you’re most caffeinated when doing your most mundane tasks, you can get them done faster.

Everyone has a different tolerance for caffeine, so you’ll need to experiment to find your optimal dosing schedule.  And last but not least, you can use grapefruit, sugar, and grass-fed fat to help speed the absorption of caffeine.

How will you use caffeine to get wired?

Share:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

By Dave Asprey

  • Adam Fiddler

    Hey Dave,

    Cool article, thanks for all the info. I’m wondering what your preferred source of sugar is for this?


    • Ash

      I’m almost sure he’d advise raw honey. Same protocol as before sleep.

      • Michael A

        I’m relatively certain coffee is hot enough to turn raw honey into cooked honey so raw honey may just be expensive fructose. I think he did suggest dextrose.

    • I recall in one of the early podcasts, I believe it to be the #1 – Biohacking 101 with Andrew Clark, he talks about how they added dextrose to the BP coffee for brain power while Andrew was studying for an exam. Im 99% sure it was plain dextrose, but I could be wrong

  • Stu_UK

    I have been a heavy coffee drinker for years, and usually can drink it all day with no problems sleeping.

    However over the last 3 days I have been trying the Bulletproof Coffee with 80 grams of butter and holy mother of god! ive never felt so wired on coffee like this.

    Ive had to reduce the amount of coffee I use because I find it too much of a buzz. Scrambled thoughts etc.

    So as you say in the article, it must be the fats. But I wouldn’t have expected it to have such a synergistic effect

  • Zack_Leman

    How frequently and for how long should we take caffeine breaks to reset the tolerance and max out caffeine’s effectiveness?

    • LowBuzz

      I’m curious about this too Dave. I’d also be curious if you could share your thoughts on how best to go about doing the break / re-sensitizing protocol.

      I found that the Bulletproof Coffee wasn’t having as large as an effect on me after drinking it for about 5 months and my brain was getting real funky from about 11 AM on. My total caffeine intake during the period was about 2 cups of bulletproof coffee in the morning and (later on) sometimes a cup or two of loose leaf Dragonwell green tea in the early afternoon.

      I decided to cut all caffeine cold-turkey for two weeks and I was strongly miserable, tired, mildly depressed, and often useless at work and at home… even while getting plenty of high quality sleep (verfied by Zeo.) It didn’t seem to get much better even after two weeks, so I’m back on the Bulletproof Coffee. My break might have helped a bit but I’m nowhere feeling the benefits like when I first started.

      Any ideas on how to re-sensitize quickly, most effectively and with reduced symptoms as I described above? That would be helpful. (I did try experimenting with Modafinil and/or with a bit of L-Tyrosine and L-Phenylalanine but had limited success with that… perhaps because of neurotransmitter receptor down-regulation? *shrug*)

      While it seems the need for this varies from person to person just as caffeine sensitivity seems to vary from person to person; I’m sure that anything you can think of or share in this regard would be appreciated by the less fortunate types such as myself.


      • Ben Irvine

        I’m struggling with this too. I’ve always had a very low tolerance for caffeine that rises rapidly with continued use. After around 2 weeks of daily coffee use it just makes me feel normal and I end up with a fatigued feeling that comes back 3-4 hours after every coffee.

        My current solution is to take modafinil or rhodiola to counter the fatigue while taking breaks from the coffee to reduce my dependence.

      • Elenor

        Sounds adrenal to me! Go read up on the website Stop the Thyroid Madness — I’m not associated with Janie, except that my health was saved by the info there!

      • Ryan

        Caffeine can deplete magnesium, which can absolutely cause the symptoms you speak of.

    • Matthew Mathis

      I have had this question for a while. I have read all through the website, but have never found an answer. Did anyone find out if we should be taking a break from caffeine on the BP protocol?

      • Anirudh Vyas

        taking a break helps – best is recycling the source of caffeine – for example – if you normally rely on starbucks doubleshot, after a week for a few days – take AMP or something else like Red Bull – or any “other” preference. That’ll help make it more effective in long run.

        Eventually you’d hit a point where you’d wanna refresh – at that point go cold turkey for a day (you’d need 48 hours or so to start getting severe headaches (believe me 24 hours break is fine) – next morning after good night sleep – start again – this time with a lower dosage – Then recycle and continue to up the dosage… the cycle can go on forever.

        Taking cold turkey or even mild break for a week (very hard for a lot of people) can aid in milking the best out of caffeine later…

  • Thanks Dave, brilliant timing with this info, just what ive been looking for to share over here in UK ahead of buying some bulk Upgraded coffee.

  • Brian Cockburn

    Nice stuff! Do you know if physical activity before or after caffeine consumption would affect a person’s need or tolerance for caffeine throughout the day? I ask because I cycle to and from work every day. It’s a 30min ride each way, about 10.5km. I usually have a cup (12-16oz) of coffee before I leave and often feel like a need another one shortly after getting to work. I realize many other factors could be involved but I’m curious to know how my morning bike ride might affect things. Thanks!

  • ReneeAnn

    Great tips! Thanks for the article!

  • Pingback: Weekly Roundup #39()

  • RyGuy

    I’m just having a hard time believing that eating 3/4 a stick of butter in the morning then basically eating as much as you want after 2:00 (ie: Lunch) can possibly be good for you. But whatever, I tried it this morning. Heard about it on the Joe Rogan Podcast.

    EDIT: I’m Talking about the fasting. The coffees delicious though and I’ve felt full all day, but a little oily, like I just at 3/4 a stick of butter

    • Glen

      You could experiment with reducing the amount of butter and substituting MCT or coconut oil if you are opposed to the butter. MCT/coconut oil is metabolized differently.

    • RyGuy

      Tried it again today with 3 table spoons of butter, again felt full all day but I almost felt like I can feel arteries clogging and oily still, then ate a 1800 calorie lunch-diner. Got a head rush standing up but I also might not have been fully hydrated. I’ll try this for a week and see if anything changes. Feel good all day right up to about 2-3 then I’m in a complete fog and need food and coffee to keep going.

      I’ll find a different place to keep notes on how this is working for now on hahah.

      Oh one thing, how many days a week is it okay to fast for? I’m not fat at 5’11 155 but got a little flab that I’d like to go away.

      • Hi mate, try having more butter in the morning. I am now up to 200g of butter in the morning and that completly wipes out my hunger. At 2pm I am still not hungry, but force myself to have something. Usually sushi or salad with beef.

        I know what you mean about the oily feeling. I’m sure I can smell butter on me. Ive aksed my girlfriend and she says she cant smell it. But then again, shes nice and would say thatt to make me feel better 🙂

        • Fart in the Wind

          “200g” of butter? As in 200 grams of butter? Not the most efficient suicide method, but it’ll work.

        • James

          Tru dat. A fifth kilo of butter hahaha. 1800 kcals of butter should keep you full to lunchtime!

  • Interesting. So, the fat helps the positive effects of coffee. Never knew that. Will apply. Thanks Dave!

  • driver mark

    Thanks Dave the coffee butter mct oil is working great your on to someting here and good job on roagans pod cast.

  • Jim

    Dave, I love your coffee, but I am starting to roast my own green coffee beans at home. Do you have a recommendation for a quality organic green coffee bean distributor and source? Thanks, Jim
    PS – I miss the regular podcast on iTunes!

  • Spencer

    Dave, What if someone is a Fast metabolizer of caffeine?

  • Justin Newman

    Any thoughts on the best way to brew for a single person? You mentioned its better without a paper filter. Are you recommending french press? I tried the refillable keurig cup, and the coffee came out watery and disgusting. I’d rather not use my 12 cup coffee maker since i’m the only coffee drinker and i’m caffeine sensitive so I only drink one cup. I have to buy something, but the question is what? Thanks for any advice.

    • Dave Asprey

      Simplest is a water kettle with temp controls. Set it to 195, pour water over grounds, stir once, let sit for 4 minutes, grounds will drop to bottom, pour coffee through a cup size metal filter.
      Sent from my nobile phone. You understand….

      • errantNite

        a nobile phone? is that a nubile mobile phone? or one that only make free calls so you get no bill?

  • arianna

    thank-you I am very, very sensitive to caffeine, but using it carefully
    per your instructions it works perfectly!

  • Mike8

    Is it wrong if I enjoy my cup of coffee black and once it’s finished I blend some butter, mct oil in a little water and chug it down?

  • Michael A

    Hey Dave, thanks once again for the awesome blog! I just have a question – when I make BP coffee with 2tbsp KG butter and 2tbsp coconut oil I get a decent, smooth energy boost.When I do BP coffee with 2tbsp KG and 2tbsp MCT or even 1tbsp MCT, I get a crazy amount of energy and I even get palpitations (I am young so it is particularly odd).

    This confuses me because coconut oil is 60% MCT oil so 2tbsp coconut oil has more MCTs than 1tbsp MCT oil. Any idea what gives? The energy effect is consistent and extremely strong (stronger than Modafinil).

  • Pingback: Detoxing Off Caffeine - The Bold Blend()


    hey dave just wondering what this means in regard to having a bulletproof coffee in the morning ? since a bulletproof coffee is around 500m i was just curious if you recommend having it all at once or splitting over a few hours life this article states. also do you ever have off days form your coffee ? or ever cycle off caffeine (coffee)? i have had a bulletproof coffee everday for the last 6 months so was just curious.
    thanks alot for your work

  • I recently watched Dave’s interview at London Real TV. He mentioned its better to have a metal coffee filter. I have been a non coffee drinker and am now going to try the Bulletproof coffee. Can anyone enlighten me on the metal filter and what to buy?

    Many thanks


    • Elenor

      I just started using the Hamilton Beach “Scoop” — comes with two metal filter/cups and makes really excellent coffee! Well,once you figure out your proportions — as many people have complained– the first couple of tries come out dirty water, with barely any coffee flavor! I’m ex-Navy — I believe a good cuppa coffee should ‘bite the bowl off the spoon’ — and this coffee maker actually lets me make it that way! Waiting on my first order of Bulletproof coffee to try replacing the plain-old store stuff!

  • NRGizer Bunny

    I just placed an order for BP coffee for my hubby, but I detest the smell and taste of coffee. (Also, I’m ADHD emphasis on the hyper and extremely caffeine sensitive) Is there any type of tea that can be substituted for coffee beans that might offer a similar effect. I already have/use MCT/coconut oils, and grass fed butter in my kitchen so they are on hand to add to coffee and/or tea. Thanks!

  • deborah

    My question was not answered..if you use 2 tblsp. of coffee per 8 ozs. of water does this make the coffee higher in caffeine ???

    • Josh Bobb

      Yes. More coffee added = more caffeine. I started with 2T / 8oz’s, but have since reduced to 1T / 8oz because it was too much caffeine for me.

  • Sheila

    If a person already has sleep issues, why in the hell would they drink coffee?????

    • Andrew King

      when you reach a certain level of exhaustion, you are unable to recharge properly. Sometimes i’m so tired, i don’t “rest”, i found that taking an excedrin migrain dose of 1 pill, gives me enough caffeine to actually rest properly and i feel better in the morning.

  • Derek Lauber

    When I’m properly caffeinated, I can crush non-complex tasks. Too much coffee and my brain starts misfiring. I drink 4 oz of half caf/decaf and eat 1 piece of super sold whole grain organic toast with coconut oil, almond butter and banana. I’ve found that my energy, from even my reduced caffeine, lasts a lot longer in the morning when I eat this breakfast then when I don’t . Now I know why. So if you don’t like mixing oil and fat in your coffee, eat coconut/ butter fat on your toast, bagel, etc… along with your coffee.

  • Ben El

    How soon after drinking my bulletproof coffee can I eat a meal?

  • L

    I have a query about caffeine. I don’t have the same reaction to it as most people do. When I take coffee or caffeine based products, it tends to make me sleepy. Is there an alternative?

  • Simon

    Hey , wondered if you could give me some advice. I cycle to work 3 times a week and its 90 minutes away leaving 7 am. I’d like to try this bullet proof coffee but wondered when to have it , before I cycle? after I cycle? And once I arrive at work should I be having some protein as I normallly do or just waiting till I break the fast for lunch 3/4 hours later? Thanks for any reply you may have

  • kkkk

    HANK sais; put coffee in cold water, heat slowly, stop heating when it boils, wait to cool down, saturate with salt, stir, add isopropil alcohol over 90% purity, mix all together, wait a while, isolate the upper part of the layered liquid(alcohol+caffeine), pour it into a tray, let it vaporate, the remaining crystals are mostly caffeine and some organic matter. you can put it in your orange juice, or water or you can even snort it. If you want to get around this coffee bussiness. Supposedly.

  • allnatural singh

    max dosage should be around 500 mg/ DAY, thats MAXIMUM dosage…

    you’re on here suggesting people have a starting point of ”100-150 mg of caffiene/cup/ HOUR?”

    are u insane?

  • helena david

    I Am Helena David, i live in South Africa
    Truthfully, i was tested HIV + positive last 3 years. I keep on managing the drugs i usually purchase from the health care agency to keep me healthy and strengthen, i tried all i can to make this disease eave me alone, but unfortunately, it keep on eating up my life, this is what i caused myself, for allowing my fiance make sex to me unsecured without protection, although i never knew he is HIV positive. So last Two Months i came in contact with a lively article on the internet on how this Powerful Herb Healer get her well and healed. So as a patient i knew this will took my life one day, and i need to live with other friends and relatives too. So i copied out the Dr Greg Carlos, the traditional healer’s email id: and I email him immediately, in a little while he mail me back that i was welcome to his temple home whereby all what i seek for are granted. I was please at that time. And i continue with him, he took some few details from me and told me that he shall get back to me as soon as he is through with my work. I was very happy as heard that from him. So Yesterday, as i was just coming from my friends house, Dr Greg Carlos called me to go for checkup in the hospital and see his marvelous work that it is now HIV negative, i was very glad to hear that from him, so quickly rush down to the nearest hospital to found out, only to hear from my hospital doctor called Browning Lewis that i am now HIV NEGATIVE. I jump up at him with the a test note, he ask me how does it happen and i reside to him all i went through with Dr Greg Carlos. I am now glad, so i am a gentle type of person that need to share this testimonies to everyone who seek for healing, because once you get calm and quiet, so the disease get to finish your life off. So i will advice you contact him today for your healing at the above details: Email ID: or you can also add him up on whataspp +2348146867873. CONTACT HIM NOW TO SAVE YOUR LIFE AND DOCTOR ALSO CURE ALL KIND OF DISEASE AND SICKNESS: AS HE IS SO POWERFUL AND HELPFUL TO ALL THAT HAVE THIS SICKNESS…

  • Heather

    What are your thoughts on caffeine depleting your body of or blocking absorption of iron and other vitamins and minerals?

  • Aajaxx

    I was once told by a pharmaceutical chemist that putting cream in coffee reduced the absorption of caffeine, so I am wondering if the effect of butterfat (same as in cream) is a recent scientific discovery or he was just wrong, or what?

  • Jonathan Swaringen

    I’m experimenting with cold coffee. The whole process of preparing coffee with hot water takes quite a bit of extra time so I figured I’d try to use cold.

    I have no clue how well it works though. I’ve heard of cold brewing which is letting coffee sit in water for 12 hours than straining, but all I did is basically put course ground coffee in my french press mix it and let it sit for a few minutes and than pour the coffee into my morning smoothie.

    Will a few minutes at cold temperatures give benefits or is that not long enough to absorb anything appreciable.

    I definitely have the coffee taste, but I’m clueless as to the absorption mechanics of coffee using cold water. I know whatever I do will get will be less acidic which is supposed to be a good thing in some ways..just not sure of benefits without the heat involved.

    I’m trying also to get less caffeine because I think I have a gene that doesn’t let me process caffeine properly.

    I just did a 23andme test so hopefully I can find somewhere to help me interpret that data and see if their is an anti-caffeine gene. Anyone know of such a thing? I thought I read about something like that once.

  • Luz Eneida Félix

    With the water to be taken? I have not looked that is mentioned in everything I’ve read