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Written by Kristen Carli, MS, RD
If you’re someone who loves both their morning coffee and the benefits of a protein shake, you might be wondering if it’s possible to combine the two. The short answer is yes, you can indeed mix coffee with your protein powder.
In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about mixing coffee and protein powder. From the benefits of drinking coffee before exercising to the effects of heat on protein, we’ll cover the best methods for blending coffee and protein, and who might want to avoid mixing their protein with their coffee.
Is Coffee a Good Pre-Workout Drink?
Coffee is a worthy contender for pre-workout beverages, largely due to its caffeine content. Here are some potential benefits of drinking coffee before a workout:
Coffee contains caffeine, a natural stimulant that can provide a quick boost of energy. This can help improve alertness and readiness for a workout.
Caffeine has the potential to improve physical performance by stimulating the production of adrenaline. This boost in adrenaline can lead to increased endurance and strength during exercise.
Caffeine may increase metabolism, encouraging fatty acid oxidation, fat loss, and weight management.
While coffee can be an excellent pre-workout drink for many, everyone’s tolerance to caffeine varies. Some people might experience unpleasant side effects such as jitteriness, heart palpitations, or gastrointestinal discomfort when consuming excessive amounts of caffeine.
Can I Put Protein Powder in My Coffee?
Let’s get to what you’re really wondering: Can you mix protein powder into your coffee?
The answer is a resounding yes. Combining protein powder with your coffee is an easy and delicious way to boost your protein intake in the morning, but there are some things you may want to consider when preparing your morning protein coffee.
Will Heat Destroy Protein?
Some proteins can be sensitive to high temperatures, which may lead to denaturation and impact their quality and digestibility. When adding protein powder to hot coffee, it’s possible that slight denaturation may occur, but it’s unlikely to make the protein less effective.
To minimize heat-related damage to your protein, consider the following tips:
- Use Warm Coffee – Allow your coffee to cool slightly before adding the protein powder to reduce the heat’s impact.
- Use a Hand Blender/Frother – Blending your coffee and protein powder can help distribute the heat more evenly, minimizing denaturation.
- Enjoy Iced Coffee – Make an iced coffee with a cold brew coffee.
What’s the Best Way to Mix Coffee and Protein?
There’s no right or wrong way to mix coffee and protein. However you enjoy your coffee is the best way, but here is one of our favorite ways to enjoy this delightful combo:
A Delicious Coffee-Infused Protein Shake Recipe
- 1 scoop of Naked Nutrition mocha protein coffee powder
- 2 shots of espresso or 1/4 cup of cold brew coffee (chilled)
- 1 cup of milk (dairy or non-dairy)
- Ice cubes (optional – if you’re an iced coffee lover)
- Sweetener (optional – stevia, honey, etc.)
- Optional flavorings: cocoa powder, cinnamon, or vanilla extract
- Brew a shot of espresso or prepare cold brew coffee and allow it to cool.
- Use a hand blender/milk frother to combine the espresso or cold brew coffee, milk, protein powder, and sweetener (if using) to taste.
- Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Taste and adjust the sweetness or flavorings as needed.
- Pour into a glass over ice and enjoy your coffee-infused protein shake!
Who Should Avoid Coffee in a Protein Shake?
While coffee and protein is a safe and convenient combination for many, there are certain people who might want to exercise caution or avoid it altogether.
If you’re highly sensitive to caffeine or have a medical condition that makes caffeine intake problematic (such as heart arrhythmias), consult a healthcare professional before incorporating coffee-based protein shakes into your routine.
It is recommended that pregnant women limit their caffeine intake to 200 mg or less per day, so it’s best to consider your overall caffeine intake for the day. It’s best to check with a healthcare provider to make sure coffee is safe for you.
Some medications may interact with caffeine, potentially leading to adverse effects. If you’re taking medication, ask your doctor if it’s safe to drink coffee.
Mixing coffee with protein powder is a flavorful and energizing way to enjoy your morning coffee while boosting your protein intake. This combination is convenient and made for those living life on the go.
All you need is your favorite coffee beverage (espresso, drip coffee, or cold brew), a scoop of protein, and some milk (dairy or plant-based). If you enjoy your coffee hot, don’t worry about the heat denaturing the protein. The little denaturation that happens will not decrease the benefits of the protein shake.