Protein Powder in Coffee: Benefits & Variations

You may wonder, ‘what’s the deal with protein powder in coffee?’ Mixing protein powder in coffee has become more popular over the past year due to a TikTok trend where it’s sometimes referred to as ‘proffee.’ It has been popularized because it’s an easy way to boost protein intake in the morning while drinking your usual coffee.

Adding protein powder can also provide flavor to your coffee without adding an excess of calories and sugar like lattes and other coffee drinks can have. Here, we’ll explore the benefits of consuming protein powder in coffee, the best methods for combining the two ingredients, and some variations you can make to switch up your morning brew.

Benefits of protein powder

Protein is essential for building muscle, creating enzymes, repairing body tissues, and providing energy to the body. Protein powder is one of the easiest ways to quickly consume a large amount of protein, making it popular amongst athletes and other active people with higher protein needs. Here are some other benefits of protein powder:

  • Increased muscle protein synthesis by providing the muscles with essential amino acids, especially when consumed around a strength training workout (1,2)
  • Improved blood sugar balance since protein intake promotes the release of insulin and can slow the absorption of carbohydrates
  • It may help with more consistent protein intake throughout the day, which is especially important for people who are trying to build muscle (3)
  • May help with weight loss by promoting satiety and potentially reducing your total calories consumed each day, boosting metabolism, and aiding in maintaining muscle mass in a calorie deficit (4,5,6,7,8)

Benefits of coffee

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages and one of the first things that many people consume every day. These are some of the health and performance benefits that keep people coming back for more:

  • Caffeine can improve endurance and muscle contractions and prevent exercise fatigue when consumed within 60 minutes before a workout (9,10,11)
  • Caffeine can aid in weight loss by increasing metabolism, decreasing hunger levels, and promoting satiety (8)
  • Coffee is shown to lower the risk of heart disease, liver disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease (12)
  • Coffee contains antioxidants which are important for immune health and may help offset the oxidation that occurs from exercise (13)

Who can benefit from consuming protein powder in coffee

You may benefit from drinking protein powder in coffee if any of the following apply to you:

  • You are an athlete, engage in weekly planned physical activity, or have an otherwise active lifestyle with higher protein needs, usually up to 1.6-2.2 g/kg body weight per day
  • You follow a vegan or vegetarian diet and have difficulty eating enough protein throughout the day
  • You tend to skip breakfast or prefer to have liquids rather than solid food in the morning

Mixing protein powder in coffee

All forms of protein powder, including whey, collagen, and plant-based, have the potential to clump and not fully dissolve when they’re not incorporated into coffee correctly. It’s usually best to mix protein powder into a small amount of liquid first so that the powder has less room to disperse and form clumps.

The most effective tools to mix protein powder in coffee include a small whisk, blender, milk frother, and immersion blender. If you like foam in your coffee, using a blender, milk frother, or immersion blender will create that for you. Otherwise, stick with a whisk or use quick pulses with the electric devices to prevent a foamy mixture. Next, we’ll provide more specifics for adding protein powder to hot and cold coffee.

How to add protein powder to hot coffee

It is best to blend protein powder with a small amount of cold water, milk, or coffee first, then stir it into the hot coffee. Incorporating the powder into a cold liquid first will allow for a smoother consistency and prevent clumps.

How to add protein powder to cold coffee

Even with cold coffee or cold brew, it is usually best to start with a small amount of liquid so you can more easily detect any clumps before adding the rest of your coffee.

Protein powder coffee recipe

Here is an easy recipe to enjoy protein powder in coffee:

  1. Add 1 scoop or serving of protein powder to ⅓ cup of cold coffee, milk, or water to a blender or coffee cup.
  2. Ideally, use a blender, milk frother, or immersion blender and blend for a few seconds at a time. Continue to blend in short intervals until the powder is fully incorporated with no clumps. You can use a handheld whisk if needed.
  3. Combine the protein powder mixture with your hot or cold coffee and briefly blend or stir together. If you are using a blender, do not use hot coffee unless your blender has a steam-release function.
  4. Add additional ingredients if desired, or add ice for iced coffee.

Below we’ve listed several other ways to enjoy your protein coffee by changing up the flavor of your protein powder or adding other ingredients.

Variations

  • Use a flavored protein powder, like coffee, mocha, chocolate, or vanilla
  • For a latte-style coffee, add milk or cream
  • For ‘bulletproof’ or keto coffee, add ghee or MCT oil
  • Use collagen coffee creamer in addition to or instead of a traditional protein powder
  • Add a pre-made protein shake to hot or cold coffee (perfect if you don’t want to use the blender)
  • Add instant coffee granules to a protein shake (another great option that doesn’t require a blender – simply stir or shake to combine)

Final thoughts

Consuming protein powder in coffee can easily boost your protein intake and prevent excess hunger throughout the day by aiding in satiety. Protein coffee is an excellent option before a morning workout to give you an endurance boost while providing your muscles with the amino acids necessary for growth and repair. Let us know if you try protein coffee and what your go-to recipe is!

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Photo of Collette Sinnott, RD, LD

Collette is a registered dietitian and has over a decade of experience working with athletes, children & adults on tube feeding, and people with chronic health conditions. She has been writing about food and nutrition since she was in high school and has a passion for sharing evidence-based information, especially on the topics of protein and the importance of maintaining muscle mass for healthy aging.

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