I’m all for experimenting with new weird and wonderful combinations, but when I first heard about putting protein powder in coffee, I was shook (as the kids on TikTok apparently say). Mainly because I couldn’t imagine what it would taste like, what the texture would be, how it would work together - anything! However, I’ve come to understand that there is a growing movement of adding protein powder to coffee, and that there might be benefits to pairing them up.
Some people claim that adding protein powder to their morning coffee can enhance workouts and energy throughout the day, but this needs more empirical research as this growing wellness trend develops.
Now, it might not surprise you to know that coffee is not very high in protein. So if you have a tendency to skip breakfast and rely on a couple of cups of coffee to get through the morning, adding protein powder to your coffee might be an option for you!
Okay, what are the benefits?
I’m so glad you asked, because there’s definitely more than one. It is thought that adding protein powder to coffee can help to enhance your workouts. In this case, coffee acts as a stimulant, so drinking a cup 1 hour before exercise has been shown to help muscle contraction and increase our resistance to fatigue. This is especially beneficial considering that protein helps us to build and retain muscle, and also repair our muscles after a workout. At this point, the two sound like a match made in heaven.
Protein powder has an anabolic effect in repairing muscle, and in muscle protein synthesis, whilst coffee has a catabolic effect - this releases stored energy. Having the two together gives you a boost of strength and endurance from the protein, and a burst of energy from the coffee, which may also aid in weight loss.
If, as I intimated earlier, you are one of those people who skips breakfast, then you might be struggling to hit your protein goals. If you’re not struggling to hit those macros though, it might be because you’re relying on your lunch and dinner to contain all the protein you need. Spreading your protein intake throughout the day is well known to be beneficial for your body, so adding protein powder to your coffee will keep you moving towards those goals without needing to stop and have breakfast (I always advocate having breakfast though, it’s the best!).
A lot of protein powders also contain other nutrients, vitamins and minerals which can really give you a good boost in the morning. Couple that with a caffeine boost, and you might find your mornings are noticeably more productive than normal.
What might the cons be?
So, as always, there needs to be a balance struck between supplementation and making sure your diet is healthy, balanced and full of delicious whole foods. Adding a scoop of protein powder to coffee isn’t going to do much for you if you’re already enjoying a protein-rich whole foods breakfast, and complementing that breakfast with other protein sources throughout the day.
Sometimes it might seem that the convenience of a protein powder is easier than preparing a meal, but protein-rich whole foods will also provide with digestive enzymes and other nutrients that cannot be replicated in a shake - so make sure you’re prioritising food, not powder!
There is also a worry that certain protein powders contain ingredients which are harmful to your health, such as heavy metals, pesticides and artificial flavouring, thickeners and sweeteners. This means that if you are going to add protein powder to your coffee, go for one with all natural ingredients, and a brand which tests for heavy metals in all their products. Like Vivo Life!
Some people may also have a sensitivity to coffee, and drinking it might cause nausea, stomach upsets, and even acid reflux, which protein powder won’t help with. So don’t start drinking coffee if you’re sensitive to it, just so you can add protein powder to it!
How do you make it?
Adding a powder to a hot beverage can cause great big lumps to form, which is less than ideal. So, in order to prevent it from clumping, it’s worth adding a little bit of powder at a time whilst stirring continuously.
If that seems a little too time consuming, you can use a blender. However, adding hot liquids to a blender is definitely not something I would recommend. The steam which escapes from the hot liquid can crack the blender casing if it cannot escape, so please exercise huge amounts of caution.
Alternatively, you can cool your coffee first with plant-based milk and then add the powder which would make it slightly less likely to clump up, or (and this might be my favourite option) - make an iced coffee and then add your protein!
If you just like the taste of coffee, pick a complementary protein powder flavour, salted maca caramel for example, and make a protein shake before adding a shot of coffee… Definitely no lumps that way! If you want to keep the coffee flavour, Vivo Life's Unflavoured VEGAN PROTEIN might be the best way to add protein to your coffee!
So there you have it, protein powder coffee explained in a nutshell. Of course, I won’t be trying it straight away - I prefer Strawberry and Vanilla flavoured protein, which I don’t think would work with coffee. Next time, I’ll get something different and give it a (coffee) shot!