Local label UltraMana puts more power in every cup of coffee.

Chieko Garland and Jon Kutsmeda, of course, don’t have any more hours in their days than anybody else, but from what they’re able to accomplish in 24 hours, it seems like they do.

Garland is a yoga teacher, who also runs her own small typography and advertising business. Kutsmeda is a mortgage-banking executive. Both surf and rock climb.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but Garland and Kutsmeda are insistent that part of the secret to their productivity is putting grass-fed butter and high-fat oils into their daily cup of coffee. Th ey say that this particular blend helps them power through busy days, both mentally and physically.

“Putting in [long] hours, this allows me to stay focused, but stay satiated—and actually gives me a high level of cognitive performance,” Kutsmeda says. “For both us, it is really about optimizing performance, for whatever you are trying to optimize.”

It’s something that they believe in so much that they created a company around it: UltraMana Coffee, locally grown coffee with grass-fed butter and high-fat oil blended together. UltraMana, which launched last spring, can be found at Nalo Juice, Down to Earth, Shaka Pressed Juice, Waialua Bakery, Umeke Market and other wellness enclaves around the island. (UltraMana also offers kits on its website, so you can brew your own at home.)

Th e duo is quick to extoll the coffee’s benefits: Th e fatty-acid medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oils and grass-fed butter, they say, can increase energy and focus, while keeping you satiated longer. But the real benefit, perhaps, is a fringe one: Th ey feel it can serve as a gateway into overall healthy living. Th rough UltraMana Coffee, they hope to—yes, get people drinking their coffee, but—above all, encourage drinkers to live healthier overall.

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Th e pair is certainly not alone in subscribing to the claim that butter and oil in coffee can increase energy and focus. Th e idea has been gaining traction in recent years, and by last year, it was sweeping the country as the latest wellness trend.

Th e way the phenomenon started is almost mythic—with former Silicon Valley executive Dave Asprey hiking through the Himalayas. On a stop in Tibet, exhausted and struggling with the altitude, he was given tea filled with yak butter. He felt, as he recounts on his website, “literally rejuvenated.”

When Asprey got home, he wanted to recreate that feeling; and two years and plenty of research later, he did. His product, which he dubbed Bulletproof Coffee, combines grass-fed butter with Asprey’s own oil blend, utilizing MCT oil with his signature Upgraded Coffee.

Asprey claims that his co?ee is the reason he was able to lose 100 pounds; he also credits it with helping him have the energy to work nights on Bulletproof as a side job until it took off. He’s since started a diet around the high-fat concept, which he details in his New York Times bestseller, Th e Bulletproof Diet.

Most of this coffee’s benefits rest on the assumption that the Paleo diet has been right all along, and that a high-fat diet really is the best thing for us.

“Th e simple analogy, that we’ll often use, is that carbohydrates are like lighting a piece of paper on fire,” Kutsmeda says. “Whereas, if you’re using fats for fuel, it is kind of like putting a log in the fire.”

Garland and Kutsmeda make it clear that they are not making medical claims— they’re not doctors or dietitians, and neither is Asprey—and that this type of coffee has attracted a great deal of controversy since Bulletproof debuted. Some studies have found that MCT oils are as energizing as Bulletproof would have you believe.

But there are nutritionists and dietitians who have countered that substituting a healthy breakfast for coffee—even one that is stocked with the good-kind-of-fat fats—is probably not the most nutritious option. It’s worth noting that the World Health Organization and American Heart Association still recommend limiting total fat intake.

At any rate, it seems generally accepted that this coffee is geared toward people who already maintain a healthy diet.

“By no means do we suggest having this coffee, and then having a full breakfast of waffles and eggs; that is not the purpose,” Garland says. “The purpose is: If you’re already drinking coffee, take something that you’re already doing, and make a small, simple tweak to it, and then just notice the change in your body. Notice the change in your mindset.

“It allows this longer space of time to move forward with your day. Then, instead of being “hangry,” and then eating a doughnut, you have that window where you, hopefully, can make a better decision.”

Helping people make better decisions is what UltraMana is ultimately trying to push. They hope that by introducing this type of coffee into people’s diets, that they can enable people to make better food decisions throughout the day. And feeling satiated longer, Kutsmeda and Garland argue, can have a huge impact on that. Many people, they feel, might skip breakfast in a typical weekday rush, only to make poor food choices later in the day. How many times have you gone for those doughnuts in the conference room mid-morning, simply because you were too hungry to turn them down?

After all, in addition to helping him stay more productive, Kutsmeda has found that it also has impacted him in a different, perhaps larger, way.

“It has kind of opened me up to different ideas. It’s also helped me pick better foods, too,” he says.

“Part of our mission is to educate people, and it’s to change performance level. We want you to be performing at your best,” Garland says. “Because then, you are going to be happier with yourself; you are going

to feel better … And when you are in that state of mind, you are a nicer person, and you have more to give to others.”

ultramana.com