What is Protein Coffee?

chapter 1

You may have seen protein coffee popping up on social media or started hearing about this trendy "protein shake" through one of your friends. 

Scoop and glass of protein coffee
Scoop and glass of protein coffee

Protein coffee is a beverage made by mixing protein powder with your morning coffee (hot coffee or cold coffee), typically to create a nutritious and energy-boosting drink.

It is popular among fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and those simply looking for a convenient way to increase their daily protein intake while enjoying the taste and benefits of coffee.

This unique combination gives you all the benefits of both protein and caffeine in one convenient drink. The protein powder can be any type, such as the most commonly consumed whey protein, but your best bet is to use a plant-based protein powder for some of the immense health benefits (more on that below).

Protein coffee is becoming increasingly popular as people look for ways to add more protein to their diets while still wanting to enjoy the taste and feeling that coffee gives them. Science is showing that protein coffee can help you lose weight, build muscle, and improve your workout recovery.

How Protein Coffee Works

Protein coffee works by combining the benefits of both coffee and protein powder to create a functional beverage that caters to various nutritional and energy needs. Coffee is a widely consumed beverage that is appreciated for its rich taste and stimulating properties, mainly due to its caffeine content. Caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant, providing increased alertness and mental focus.

A man drinking a protein coffee shake

On the other hand, protein is an essential macronutrient that plays a crucial role in the growth, repair, and maintenance of body tissues, including muscles, skin, and hair. Aside from its fitness-related advantages, protein coffee can also support general health and well-being. Consuming protein-rich foods or beverages can contribute to feelings of satiety, potentially aiding in weight management by reducing hunger and promoting healthier food choices.

The combination of both plant protein powder and caffeine may help to stabilize energy levels throughout the day, preventing the energy crashes often associated with the consumption of high-sugar beverages. Furthermore, coffee is a rich source of antioxidants, which can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and reduce inflammation. By incorporating protein coffee into a balanced diet, individuals can enjoy both the taste and health benefits of coffee while supporting their protein needs and overall wellness.

A close up of a person running on a track

Why is It Becoming So Popular?

Protein coffee is becoming increasingly popular as it caters to the needs and wants of many types of consumers! Some of the reasons for its growing popularity include:

  • Convenience: Protein coffee offers a quick and easy way to consume both coffee and protein in a single beverage, making it an attractive option when you struggle to find time for a proper meal or high-protein snack. This convenient protein coffee recipe combination helps people meet their daily protein requirements and enjoy the benefits of coffee without needing to prepare separate items.
  • Fitness benefits: As more people engage in fitness activities and adopt healthier lifestyles, protein coffee has gained traction among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. The combination of caffeine and protein offers a unique set of benefits that can support physical performance, muscle recovery support weight loss, and growth, making it an appealing option for those who seek to optimize their workouts and overall well-being.
  • Taste and variety: Many people enjoy the taste of coffee, and adding protein powder can create a variety of flavors and textures, depending on the type of protein used and any additional ingredients added. This versatility allows consumers to experiment with different combinations and find a protein coffee that suits their personal preferences.
  • Healthy alternative: As we become more health-conscious and seek alternatives to traditional high-sugar or high-calorie beverages, protein coffee has emerged as a popular choice. It offers a relatively lower-calorie option with added nutritional benefits, such as increased satiety and sustained energy levels, compared to traditional coffee beverages that may contain large amounts of sugar, cream, or flavorings with none of the nutritional benefits of protein coffee.

Nutritional Information of Protein Coffee

Nutritional information can vary greatly depending on how you make your protein coffee. You can certainly and easily make protein coffee healthy. In general, here’s what you can expect:

  • Calories: A nutritional protein coffee should ideally be under 100 calories. Black coffee contains almost no calories, and most of the calories can come from the protein powder you use. If you utilize any milk or artificial sweeteners, that will add to the calories.

  • Protein: Ideally, you’re utilizing plant protein, especially if you’re looking to remain full for longer and keep your calories low while intake protein. Usually, one scoop, around 30 grams, can provide you with 13 grams of protein.

  • Carbs: Low carbs, depending on which protein you use. Ideally, under 3 grams.

  • Fats: If you add milk, cream, or any other high-fat ingredients, you can add those calories. However, a healthy, nutritious protein coffee should have very low fat (to be less saturated fat inherited from the protein powder).

  • Fiber: With a plant protein, you’re looking at a small amount of fiber, which has many benefits to your gut health.


9 Benefits of Protein Coffee 

chapter 2
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Improves Mental Alertness

Drinking coffee with protein powder increases brain function and memory retention and improves mental alertness. The caffeine in coffee can increase mental alertness and focus by stimulating the central nervous system.

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Enhances Workout Performance

Many people use caffeine to improve their workouts, but caffeine has its own limits, like limited energy flow and stamina. Drinking protein powder with coffee an hour before a workout can increase your stamina and give you an energy boost. Caffeine has been shown to by reducing perceived exertion, increasing endurance, and enhancing power output.

A woman sitting on the ground with her feet up
A woman sitting on a bench wearing a face mask while doing exercise
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Helps Build Muscle

People tend to lose muscles as they age. This leads to more fat gain and turns into chronic diseases like obesity and high blood pressure. By adding protein powder to coffee, you can prevent and slow down age-related muscle loss and in fact, build lean muscle as you increase your protein intake. Protein consumption, particularly after exercise, helps promote muscle recovery and growth by providing amino acids, the building blocks for muscle tissue.

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Promotes Healthier Food Choices

Protein-rich foods and beverages can contribute to feelings of fullness, potentially aiding in weight management by reducing hunger and promoting healthier food choices. Especially plant-based protein which keep you full longer, so you stay away from eating junk food.

A blue table topped with a bowl of fruit and a bag of awesome coffee
A woman measuring her waist with a measuring tape
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Boosts Weight Loss

Mixing coffee and protein powder can help you shed off excess weight and aid weight loss by increasing your metabolism rate. Furthermore, as described above, it also curbs your appetite by reducing cravings and naturally decreases your calorie intake as the plant-based protein keeps you full for longer.

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Improves Mood and Cognitive Function

Moderate caffeine consumption has been linked to improved mood and cognitive function, including better memory, reaction time, and decision-making. Consumption of adequate protein can decrease cortisol production and its stress-related symptoms, thereby creating a positive impact on your mood. Caffeine also acts as a mood enhancer when you feel dizzy or dull and makes you feel spirited and happy. Thus, by improving your mood and keeping anxiety symptoms at bay, protein powder in coffee helps you stay fit, enhance your cognitive performance and prevent chances of brain fog.

Four walnuts are arranged in a row on a red surface
Lemons, tomatoes, asparagus, and other vegetables are on the table
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Protects your cells

Coffee is rich in antioxidants, which can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and reduce inflammation. In turn, this may improve your health and reduce your risk of several chronic diseases.

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Improve Heart Health

In research done by Japanese Dr. Masato Tsutsui, it was found that drinking coffee increases the blood flow to the nervous system and that coffee can improve cardiovascular health. Also, consuming an adequate amount of plant protein every day can reduce high cholesterol, which is the leading risk factor for heart attack or other cardiovascular conditions. When combined together, protein coffee can improve blood circulation and lower blood pressure, thus keeping your heart healthy.

An individual using a stethoscope to check the heart rate of another person
A man holding a bottle with protein coffee in it
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Protein coffee provides an easy and convenient way to consume both coffee and protein in a single beverage, making it an attractive option for busy individuals like you!


Should you mix protein powder in coffee?

chapter 3

There are many considerations when mixing protein powder in coffee. Many people enjoy the combination, while others may find the taste or texture unappealing.

Here are some considerations if you decide to mix the protein powder in coffee:

  • Temperature: Protein powder can clump when mixed with hot liquids like coffee. To avoid clumps, you can either let your coffee cool down a bit before adding the protein powder or mix the protein powder with a small amount of cold liquid first to create a slurry, then gradually add the coffee.
  • Type of protein powder: The taste and texture of your coffee-protein mix can vary depending on the type of protein powder you use. Some protein powders, like whey or casein, may curdle when mixed with hot liquids. Plant-based protein powders like pea, rice, or hemp may work better, but the taste and texture will still vary.
  • Flavor: The flavor of the protein powder may affect the taste of your coffee. Unflavored protein powders will have the least impact on the taste of your coffee, while flavored protein powders may add an interesting twist to your usual coffee flavor.
  • Solubility: Some protein powders mix better than others, so choose a protein powder with good solubility to avoid a grainy or lumpy texture.
  • Nutrition: Mixing protein powder with coffee can help you reach your daily protein intake goals and may provide an energy boost. However, be mindful of the total calories and sugar content, as some protein powders may be high in these.

If you're unsure about mixing protein powder in your coffee, you can try it in a small amount of coffee first to see if you like the taste and texture. 

Best Coffee for this purpose?

The best coffee for mixing with protein powder depends on your personal taste preferences and the type of protein powder you're using. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a coffee for this purpose:

  1. Flavor profile: Choose a coffee with a flavor profile that complements the taste of the protein powder. If you're using a flavored protein powder, consider a coffee with a more neutral or complementary flavor. If you have an unflavored protein powder, you can experiment with different coffee flavors to find one that suits your taste.
  2. Roast level: Light, medium, and dark roasts all have distinct flavor profiles. Light roasts tend to be more acidic and fruity, medium roasts have a more balanced flavor, and dark roasts are usually bold and rich. Depending on the protein powder and your taste preferences, you may want to experiment with different roast levels to find the best protein powder match.
  3. Brewing method: The brewing method can also affect the taste of your coffee. French press, pour-over, and espresso are just a few options to consider. Each method produces a different coffee strength and flavor, so experiment with different brewing methods to find one that works well with your protein powder.
  4. Hot or cold coffee: The temperature also depends on your preference.

Ultimately, the best coffee for mixing with protein powder is subjective and will depend on your personal tastes and the specific protein powder you're using. It may take some trial and error to find the perfect combination for you.

A man holding a cup of protein coffee shake

Which is the Perfect Protein Powder?

Many of you may have tried different protein supplements and shakes, so you may already know what works with your digestive system. We suggest using different protein powders depending on your health goals and when you plan to drink protein coffee.

Whey protein is the most commonly used type of protein powder and a high-quality protein that is derived from milk. It is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all the essential amino acids needed to build muscle. Whey protein is also easy to digest and has a high absorption rate, making it an ideal choice for you if you're working on building muscle mass.

Plant protein powders, such as pea protein powder, rice protein powder, or hemp protein powder, to name a few, are also high-quality protein powders. Not only can they be used in muscle building, but due to their slow-digesting nature, they can make you feel full longer, allowing for low-calorie consumption and therefore aiding in weight loss goals.

How to add Protein in Coffee?

There are three simple steps and only three ingredients:

  1. Take 1 cup of coffee (cold brew coffee, iced coffee, cold coffee, or hot coffee)
  2. Add 1 to 2 scoops of protein powder. Depending on your protein intake needs, you can decide which one of the protein powders in the market you'd like to add.
  3. Pour 10 to 12 ounces of water or your favorite milk. This can be almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, or regular milk, depending on your dietary preferences!
Adding a scoop of protein coffee powder to a shaker

When should you drink it?

Drinking protein coffee can be a convenient and enjoyable way to consume protein while also getting a caffeine boost. Here are some suggestions for when you might consider drinking protein coffee:

  • Pre-workout: Consuming protein and caffeine before a workout can provide you with energy and potentially improve your performance. Drinking protein coffee 30 minutes to an hour before your workout can help ensure that the caffeine has taken effect and the protein is available to support muscle function.
  • Post-workout: Protein is essential for muscle recovery and growth. Consuming protein within 30 minutes to 2 hours after your workout can help maximize muscle protein synthesis.
  • Breakfast or morning snack: Protein coffee can be a convenient and satisfying option for a quick breakfast or morning snack, providing you with protein and caffeine to start your day. The protein can help keep you full and curb hunger, while the caffeine can provide a boost of energy.
  • Mid-afternoon pick-me-up: If you find yourself feeling sluggish in the afternoon, protein coffee can be a great way to boost your energy levels and stave off hunger until your next meal.

Tips to Store it

If you're planning to make protein coffee ahead of time and store it, here are some tips to ensure it stays fresh and maintains its taste and quality:

  1. Use an airtight container: Store your protein coffee in an airtight container, such as a mason jar, thermos, or travel mug, with a tight-fitting lid. This will help prevent any spills, keep the coffee fresh, and maintain the temperature.
  2. Refrigerate or keep cold: If you're not planning to consume the protein coffee immediately, it's best to refrigerate it to preserve its freshness and prevent spoilage. This is particularly important for protein coffee that contains dairy or other perishable ingredients.
  3. Use cold brew or iced coffee: If you're planning to store protein coffee for an extended period, consider using cold brew or iced coffee as the base. These types of coffee are more suitable for refrigeration and storage compared to hot coffee, which can become bitter or lose its flavor when cooled and reheated.
A person picking out awesome coffee bags from a shelf


Risks You Need to Know About

chapter 4

Caffeine sensitivity

Drinking too much caffeine can cause an increased heart rate, anxiety, and insomnia. If you’re already drinking too much coffee throughout the day, and adding on protein coffee, it could lead to these symptoms. Check out the caffeine calculator to see if you’re going overboard with caffeine.

Terrible taste and texture

If you don’t know how to mix protein and coffee properly, you’re going to get a gritty and clumpy protein coffee experience. Especially if you're trying to make a hot protein coffee.

Despite some of these potential risks and drawbacks, if you find that protein coffee works for you and fits within your overall nutrition plan and goals, you can continue to enjoy it and gain all its benefits.

Note: pregnant women should consult with their physician before consuming protein coffee.



chapter 5

Protein coffee offers numerous benefits, including enhanced mental alertness, workout performance, muscle building, and weight management. It’s not a fad but a trend that is here to stay as one of the healthiest breakfast, snacking, and weight management options out there. It’s easy to make, quick, customizable to your taste buds, and delicious! Whether you are looking for a pre or post-workout boost, want to help with weight loss goals, or just want an easy way to increase your protein intake each day, protein coffee is the perfect solution for you!


Frequently Asked Questions

What does protein coffee do?

Protein coffee is a drink made by mixing protein powder with coffee. It is generally used as a pre-workout to help with muscle recovery post-workout.

Will protein powder dissolve in coffee?

Most protein powders will not directly dissolve in coffee and be clumpy.

Is protein coffee good for you?

Protein coffee is good for losing weight, building muscle, enhancing workout performance and improving mood.

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Customer Reviews

Based on 70 reviews

A bit strong in flavor.


I'm extremely disappointed. The protein powder is very prominent. I do not like that even in my smoothies. It is very strong, and I will drink it on long days at work, but I am not impressed by the flavor at all. It is grainy and tastes like a coffee smoothie blended iced or hot. I will not order this again or recommend it until a new formula gets rid of the grainy, heavy residue that it leaves.

Coffee fix!

It's a great way to get my coffee fix and my protein fix in the morning. Unlike a lot of other coffee substitutes, this one actually tastes like coffee. It's scrumptious and I absolutely love it. Look forward to having it every morning


Taste really good!!

Phoebe Haberkorn

Awesome coffee is incredible for someone who loves to pay her protein with their coffee in the morning to keep their hormones in check. You don’t have to put any thought into it when drinking your morning coffee because you’re already getting protein with it. The ingredients list is amazing which is also super important to me. I’ve been able to add this product in smoothies, baking, etc!!