How to Make Protein Coffee + Its Benefits
Protein oatmeal, protein pancakes, protein cookies — just add some protein and you’ll have a healthy dish, right? Not quite, but protein is an essential macronutrient that’s important for the growth and repair of muscles, cells, tissues and more.
So should you add it to your coffee too?
The Benefits of Protein Coffee
Protein coffee may be a good option in the morning if you’re not a breakfast eater or if you want to get a dose of caffeine in after your workout (me!).
While it’s easy to reach for sugary cereals and other quick-digesting carbs in the morning, you’ll feel hungry soon after eating them. Protein helps you to feel fuller for longer, which may curb your urge to snack and help with weight loss.
If you’re a morning workout person, protein coffee can aid in the repair and recovery of muscles post workout while giving you a burst of energy for the rest of your day (just be careful of too much caffeine consumption if you take preworkout).
You may be familiar with this “window of opportunity” — the belief that it’s best to consume protein 1-2 hours after a workout to best rebuild muscle and restore your energy. While this idea is debated by some, in my opinion consuming a protein shake post workout is best practice for recovery and can help your muscles heal.
Since I workout in the morning, I’ll start my day with a breakfast of fast-digesting carbs and protein (think egg white oatmeal or a sweet potato, kale, egg scramble) and then fuel up with a protein shake and coffee, or protein coffee if I’m feeling ambitious, post workout.
Can You Heat Protein Powder?
A common myth is that heating protein destroys its nutrients. Don’t worry, it doesn’t!
Heating protein denatures it, meaning that the amino acids that the protein consists of start to change shape. Your body denatures protein once you ingest it, and consuming this denatured doesn’t ruin any nutritional integrity. Your body will still absorb the same amount of protein heated or unheated!
What Type of Protein Powder Should You Use?
You can use any type of protein powder, though consider the consistency and flavor. In my opinion, protein coffee should be a treat! If the protein you add makes your coffee chalky or unappetizing, make a shake (or something else) instead. Whey is my go-to for protein coffee because it mixes well and tastes great! Collagen peptides also mix in easily and don’t really change the flavor.
How to Make Protein Coffee
There are three methods for making protein coffee that keep clumps to a minimum. I typically mix in one scoop of protein with about twelve ounces of coffee.
Whatever you do, don’t mix protein powder with hot liquid! It’ll turn into a clumpy mess that’s destined for the trash.
Mix Protein Powder With Cold Liquid First
If you take cream in your coffee or need to dilute an extra strong pot, this method might be a good one for you! Mix about ¼ cup of cold liquid (creamer, milk, water, etc.) and one scoop of protein powder until there are no clumps. Add this mixture to your coffee, stir, and your creamy cup of joe will be ready!
Use a Blender or Immersion Blender
If you don’t want to add cream to your coffee or prefer a frothy drink, use a blender or immersion blender. Just throw everything in, blend for a few seconds, and you have a smooth, cappuccino-like coffee. If your protein doesn’t mix well by hand (cough, casein), you’ll want to use a blender to avoid clumps.
You should avoid putting hot drinks in a personal blender as the heat can create too much pressure.
Mix With Cold Brew
Similar to mixing up a regular protein shake, add a scoop or protein to cold brew or cold coffee and mix with your utensil of choice. Voila! Cold protein coffee.
Protein Coffee Recipe Ideas
Flavored protein powder and coffee may be enough to do the trick, but if you want to channel your inner barista, here are a few combos we love:
Cinnamon Honey Protein Coffee
- 12 ounces coffee
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Dash of cinnamon
Chocolate Banana Protein Coffee Shake
- 12 ounces coffee
- 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
- ½ banana (ideally frozen)
- ¼ cup milk of choice
Coconut Protein Coffee
- 12 ounces coffee
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Light coconut milk to taste
How Much Protein Do You Actually Need?
Like we talked about, putting protein in your coffee could be a good way to get your post-workout protein fix, or may be a useful way to supplement breakfast. But if you’re getting enough protein in your normal diet, you may not need to add more!
According to the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board, the average sedentary adult needs 0.8 grams or protein per kilogram of body weight, which equals 0.36 grams per pound. However, if you’re trying to build muscle a more common recommendation is 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
For reference, a serving (4 ounces) of chicken has 32 grams of protein — keep in mind that 4 ounces is about the size of a deck of playing cards, and many people eat way more than that in a sitting if they don’t portion their food. A serving (½ cup) of Greek yogurt has about 12 grams of protein. So, if you’re eating protein with every meal and as snacks, you’re likely hitting your daily goal.
Now that you know how to make protein coffee, it’s time to go caffeinate! Have a favorite protein coffee recipe? Let us know in the comments.
Easy Protein Powder Coffee Recipe
- 1/4 cup cold liquid (milk, water, etc.)
- 1 scoop protein powder about 30 grams
- 12 ounces coffee
- Put the cold liquid in a cup and add the protein powder. Stir until the mixture is smooth. You can use a frother if you have one.
- Add coffee and mix again until all ingredients are combined.
- Add other syrups or flavoring to taste and enjoy!