Try this morning tea cocktail instead of coffee. It’s rocket fuel for the brain.
I started experimenting with fat-plus-stimulant beverages in 1998 and 1999 while on the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD). For the above tea blend, I now add turmeric and ginger to the aged pu-erh, usually Rishi brand.
The above video was shot while filming the parkour episode of The Tim Ferriss Experiment TV show. We filmed 13 episodes back-to-back and I needed a morning pick-me-up that could be prepared quickly but sustain me for hours.
The tea prep might seem reminiscent of Bulletproof Coffee, and it is. They serve similar purposes. For this reason, I jokingly referred to the cocktail as “Titanium Tea” with the production crew.
Alas, BP coffee looks like a delicious frappuccino, and my concoction looks like diabetic horse urine.
Here’s why I still drink TT Horse Urine nearly every day:
- I’m a caffeine “fast metabolizer” according to genetic test results from 23andMe, Navigenics (since acquired), and personal experience. If I drink a cup of black coffee, I feel like a superhero for 30 minutes, then need two cups to get back to baseline. But…
When I use a blend of — say — green tea and fermented black tea, I’m combining slightly different pharmacokinetics and biological half-lives, so respective peak plasma (blood) concentrations of stimulants and other compounds are staggered. Instead of one single high point and then a rapid descent into fatigue, I have multiple high points. Rather than feeling amazing for 30 minutes and then fatigued, I can feel 20% more effective for 3-4 hours.
This can be extended further if I include a tea like yerba mate (I like Cruz de Malta), which includes three xanthine alkaloids. For our purposes, you can think of these three xanthines as “stimulants”: good old caffeine (by weight, often <50% compared to coffee), theophylline (found in green tea), and theobromine (the primary alkaloid in cocoa and chocolate). Yerba mate isn’t the only tea to include these three, but the ratios in yerba mate appear optimal for my biochemistry and creative writing.
NOTE: The most extended effect is only achieved if you sip the yerba using traditional technique. The gourd is my constant companion — plus one glass of Malbec — for 10pm-4am jam sessions when on book deadline. Just as coca-leaf teas don’t = cocaine, which doesn’t = crack, the form and speed of administration matters. For the nerds, this is why powdered “good” foods (e.g. bean flour) aren’t always compliant with the slow-carb diet.
If I rely on theobromine and/or theophylline as my uppers, instead of primarily caffeine, I can quit stimulants cold turkey without caffeine-withdrawal headaches. This can be a massive competitive and health advantage, as you can cycle off of stimulants to minimize tolerance development.
But — I’m not a doctor and don’t play one on the Internet! As always, the dose makes the poison. Excessive theophylline and theobromine have plenty of adverse effects, particularly when consumed with fat like coconut oil (i.e. “dose dumping“). So speak to your doc first if you have any medical conditions, m’kay? This is an N=1 article.
I still drink coffee on occasion, especially if empty handed in the middle of nowhere. It’s a hell of a lot easier to find coffee and butter than pu-erh tea and coconut oil. Definitely 10x better than straight black coffee, and kudos to Dave Asprey for taking it mainstream. It’s now ubiquitous, and that’s no small feat. Many of the top performers I know drink BP coffee, including legendary producer Rick Rubin.
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Posted on: May 25, 2015.
The Tim Ferriss Show is generally the #1 business podcast on iTunes, and it was selected for iTunes' "Best of 2015." Each episode deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to extract the tactics, tools, and routines you can use. If you want to 10x your productivity, click here.