By Catherine Toth Fox
There’s a friendly yellow fruit stand parked between two palm trees at Sunset Beach that also sells something unexpected for this idyllic scene—bulletproof coffee.
Pioneered by Silicon Valley scion Dave Asprey more than a decade ago, bulletproof coffee is a high-fat, caffeinated drink of coffee blended with butter and coconut oil. It combines filling fatty calories with omega-3 fatty acids and an energy boost that devotees—including many Crossfitters—say helps them burn more calories and keeps them fueled up throughout the day. And it’s sold every morning at this little fruit stand, called Sunrise Shack, on the North Shore.
“It’s really amazing,” says Travis Smith, a 23-year-old Kaua‘i-born model who opened Sunrise Shack last week with partners Koa Smith (his brother) and Koa Rothman. “It comes out creamy, just like a latte. It’s like how you feel caffeinated after you drink coffee, only this is the next level of that. It’s really good for athletes or to just start your day.”
Adding butter to caffeinated beverages isn’t something new; Tibetans have been mixing tea with yak butter for ages. And there are myriad opinions on the health stats on hot, buttered coffee. (Just Google it to see.) But the combination isn’t something you see on most coffee-shop menus, and Smith is hoping to carve out a niche on the North Shore. His Classic Bullet ($5) features organic Peruvian coffee with coconut oil, grass-fed Kerrygold butter and a pinch of Madagascar vanilla. For $1 more, you can add cacao butter for a chocolate boost.
Smith, who has, in the past five years, made a name for himself as an international model working for such big-name designers as Versace, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, says Sunrise Shack is his way of sharing his passion for healthy living with others.
“I respect the fashion industry and I’d like to somehow stay involved [with it] for the rest of my life,” says Smith, who will be one of the models featured on the runway during HONOLULU Fashion Week. “But I’m passionate about staying in the moment, about health, about being the best we can be.”
The stand also serves a variety of teas, from the fabled gynostemma tea ($4), which promises balanced energy and longevity, to the Royal Tea ($12) with ghee, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon and stevia that’s said to boost clarity, resilience, energy and strength. He also sells fresh, local fruits, including papayas and avocados, and dried fruits. He plans to add locally made kombucha, freshly husked coconuts, protein bars and popcorn.
“I’m lucky,” Smith says. “I’m in Hawai‘i, living the life.”