Protein Powder in Coffee: Kickstart your Day

What is the one thing most people fancy first thing in the morning? Coffee!

Adding protein powder to this coffee can make all the difference between having ‘just coffee’ or an all-in-one nutritious meal. 

Of course, nothing can compare to having whole foods for your daily dose of nutrition, but with all the rush on weekday mornings, who even has the time for cooking. 

Protein bars are a convenient alternative but do we really need all that sugar and other laboratory-made additives?

Adding protein powder to your coffee is the perfect solution to ensure that you have a wholesome breakfast to kickstart your day. This protein-infused coffee or popularly known as protein coffee gives you the best of the two worlds. 

Keep reading to know more about what ‘Protein Coffee’ exactly is, how it benefits you, and what to keep in mind while preparing this.

Protein Powder in Coffee

What is Protein Coffee?

The protein coffee is simply a combination of proteins (whether whey, soy, or collagen) and coffee. It may also be called a coffee-based protein supplement.

The dual benefit of the coffee and protein powder that you gain from the protein coffee provides you with ample antioxidants, stimulates you, and keeps you energized. Its appetite suppressing properties help you with weight loss as well.

Protein coffee has made its name amongst the athletes, bodybuilders, gym-goers, and anybody else trying to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Summary: Coffee protein powder is the mixture of coffee with a protein powder supplement that provides you with the best of the two worlds, coffee, and protein.

Does Caffeine Influence Protein Powder Absorption?

There is very little research done on whether caffeine effects and protein absorption. The few claims that we did find were not backed up by sufficient scientific studies. 

However, clinical trials have been conducted to study the effects of caffeine intake on muscle protein synthesis rates and the results show that there are no effects on muscle protein synthesis (1).

Also, there are no changes in muscle performance and lean muscle mass development. 

Summary: According to studies conducted on the topic, caffeine does not adversely affect protein absorption in any way.

7 Great Benefits of Adding Protein Powder to Your Coffee

Improves Heart Health

Coffee boosts heart health by improving blood circulation (2). It increases the blood flow of the peripheral nervous system.

It improves the functioning of the cells that line the blood vessels, help open the blood vessels, and reduce inflammation.

All these together reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Proteins at the same time lower blood pressure by reducing insulin levels in your body (3).

High insulin levels increase retention of sodium in the body thereby increasing blood pressure (4).

Summary: Coffee enhances blood circulation, reduces inflammation, and opens up the vessel enabling the free flow of blood. Proteins lower blood pressure by reducing the insulin levels. 

Improves Cognition and Mental Alertness

Coffee, as we all know, enhances memory performance (5).

Proteins contain an amino acid called tyrosine which encourages the production of Dopamine, which is associated with learning, memory, and more.

Protein coffee enhances mental alertness and cognitive functions (6).

Summary: Coffee improves memory and mental alertness while proteins increase the production of Dopamine which enhances cognitive functions.

Supports Weight Loss

One of the benefits of having protein in the morning is that it keeps us from making unhealthy food choices later in the day. Protein keeps us feeling full for longer.

Drinking protein coffee helps in revving your metabolism rate and suppressing those hunger pangs by inducing satiety (7).

This helps in decreasing daily calorie intake. Our body requires more energy to digest proteins thereby further aiding in weight loss and helping to preserve lean body mass (8). 

Summary: In the protein coffee, coffee increases your metabolism and protein increases satiety thereby reducing the cravings. This results in lower food intake and together they help in reducing weight.

Reduces Age-Related Muscle Loss

Both strength and muscle mass reduce as we age. Muscle mass decreases by 3-8 percent per decade after the age of 30 and the rate keeps on increasing as you age (9).

Muscles become less responsive to dietary proteins with age and there is a need for protein supplements.

Whey proteins, in particular, build and maintain muscle mass as it contains leucine, an amino acid that is responsible for the healing of skin and bones and building muscle mass. 

Protein powder mixed with coffee when taken ensures that the body has those crucial amino acids that can avert muscle wasting (10).

Summary: The muscle mass and strength starts decreasing with age. Protein powder mixed in coffee gives the perfect opportunity to avert or lower it. Whey protein supplements that contain leucine especially have shown great benefit in this regard.

Reduces Risk of Developing Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome precedes many lifestyle chronic conditions like diabetes, obesity, hypertension, etc (11).

A protein coffee can help prevent the onset of this disease and even reverse its effects. Polyphenols such as phenolic acids and flavonoids present in coffee are believed to be the reason behind it.

A 2018 study from the Nihon University College of Bioresource Sciences (NUBS), Japan, reviewed studies that explored the effects of coffee in protecting vascular endothelial function and preventing metabolic syndrome (12). The researchers concluded that:

Coffee has many health-promoting properties, and chlorogenic acid appears to protect against metabolic syndrome through its antioxidant activity.

Protein powders, especially whey protein has been found to reduce components of metabolic syndrome (13).

Summary: There is a need to increase the intake of protein supplements as we age. Protein coffee (whey) builds and maintains muscle mass and reverses the effects of metabolic syndrome.

Increases Stamina and Strength For Workout

Drinking protein coffee about an hour before your workout enhances the functioning of the respiratory system boosting oxygen circulation. 

Caffeine boosts energy and stamina and keeps you sufficiently charged for the duration of your workout. This ensures that you are less tired and can thus exercise for longer periods.

In a 2018 study from the University of North Carolina, USA, the researchers reviewed 20 studies conducted on the effects of caffeine intake on muscle strength and power (14). They noted that 

Caffeine ingestion had significant ergogenic effects on maximal muscle strength of the upper body and muscle power.

The protein enhances strength, increases endurance, improves stamina, provides energy, and aid in muscle recovery after your workout session (15, 16, 17, 18).

Summary: Protein coffee enhances blood circulation and the functioning of the respiratory system. It boosts energy and stamina and also aids in muscle recovery after your workout.


As you’re on your way to a healthier lifestyle it means that you have cut off things like sugar and flavored coffee creamers from your list of acceptable food. Coffee may taste bland without them.

The addition of protein powder in your coffee not only is nutritious but also tastes great. At the same time, it has low percentages of carbs and fat.

What’s even better is that the protein powders have a variety of flavors like vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, banana, and cream, etc. to suit your taste.

So why spend on a Mocha when you can make your own in the comfort of your home with an added benefit of an energy boost.

Summary: Protein powders come in a variety of flavors like vanilla, chocolate, cookies, and cream, etc. to suit all tastes and change your bland simple coffee into a delicious concoction.

Tips to Mix Protein Powder and Coffee

Given below are simple tips to ensure that the protein coffee tastes perfect while providing you that much-needed boost.

Wait For Your Brew To Cool Down

The high temperature of the coffee may affect the protein structure. Also, combining protein powder in piping hot coffee will leave you with clumps of the powder that don’t blend.

The logical step would be to wait for the coffee to cool down before adding your protein.

Sprinkle And Stir

Sprinkling the protein powder into the coffee while stirring continuously will leave you with smaller manageable clumps that can easily be squashed with your spoon against the wall of your cup. 

Blend Both Together For A Creamy Effect

A simple stick blender can be used to create the creamy, frothy effect of a latte but without the use of milk.

This will also depend on the amount of whey protein powder added to the coffee. 

Using Milk or Creamers

The protein powder can be first added to the creamer or milk and mixed thoroughly. This concoction can then be added to the coffee. 

Alternatively, you can add milk or creamer to your coffee to hasten the process of cooling down and then add the protein powder. 

Using Flavored Protein Powders

There are a variety of flavors to choose from right from the humble vanilla to flavors like cookies and cream, peanut butter, snickerdoodles, etc.

There are also fruit-flavored protein powders available, but you may need to think twice before adding this to your coffee!

Enjoy it Cold

Simply adding the protein powder to the cold coffee and stirring will do the trick.

Blending it all together with some ice will work as well. Protein powder mixes easily into cold beverages and the end result is a sure-fire way to beat the heat.

What May Not Work 

  • Shakers and bullet blenders are a recipe for disaster when using piping hot coffee since they do not have space for the steam to escape. The lid will open or leak as a result and you may end up burning yourself.
  • Pouring hot coffee over the protein powder is a strict no-no as it leads to clumps of the powder that will not mix in even after a lot of stirring.

Whey Protein + Coffee Combo Works

The winning combination of protein powder and coffee is a match made in heaven with one enhancing the other both flavor-wise and functionally.

Coffee, as we know already, uplifts our moods along with a host of other benefits. Proteins are the building blocks of our bodies. 

A combination of the two results in a mix that balances and cancels out the adverse effects and at the same time multiples the benefits of each other.

For example, coffee is known to inhibit the absorption of iron while protein (except soy protein) enhances this. 

Coffee increases blood flow to the peripheral nervous system. While coffee gives you the ‘let’s do this’ feeling, protein helps to keep you more grounded and strong. 

It is a known fact that bodybuilders who drink coffee before working out experience raised levels of cortisol. Adding protein powder to this coffee lowers the cortisol level.

The Final Note

Yes, it is possible to have a wholesome nutritious meal for breakfast. But during those early morning hours, when you’re working against the clock, you’re more likely to grab a piece of toast than spend time making eggs.

How much better it is to start your morning right by adding protein powder to your coffee and letting it work its magic on you.

Protein coffee tastes good and with a variety of flavors to choose from, you get to decide what works for you. The good news is that it can be made in the comfort of your homes in less than 5 minutes. 

It only gets better from here. Kick-starting your day with a protein coffee is an effective method to ensure a complete meal with added benefits like improved heart health, better cognition, and mental alertness and increased stamina and strength for your workouts. 

This winning combination also reduces age-related muscle loss and lowers the risk of developing metabolic syndrome. The hype is real. If you were in two minds about protein coffee, now is the time to give it a try.

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