Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED

I'm always looking for new ways to make my morning routine more effective, and two things I rely heavily on early in the day is my morning coffee and whey protein.

The hot coffee kicks my brain into gear, and the protein shake helps with recovery after my morning run. But I started wondering if you can you put protein powder in coffee and have a two-in-one solution.

It tasted fine to me, but I wanted to find out if there were any benefits or downsides to doing this. So my dietitian friend Sam was called into action to help.

And there were quite a few surprises in store.

Benefits Of Mixing Protein Powder In Coffee

man drinking protein powder

Personally, I found three benefits when adding protein powder to coffee.

Firstly, you can get your caffeine fix and protein boost in one simple drink. I tend to have very little time after my morning run to get ready for work and into commute mode. Not having to worry about two separate things makes this a lot easier.

Secondly, I actually really like the taste.

By using chocolate or vanilla flavored protein powder as coffee creamer, I can create some more interesting combinations.

And finally, if you want to limit your fat intake by not using a creamer, then a scoop of protein powder may just be the answer you're looking for.

How Does Caffeine Influence Protein Absorption?

There is very little evidence that caffeine influences the rate of protein absorption. The few claims that we were able to find were not backed up by any scientific or clinical studies.

However, my dietitian was able to point me to a study that took this issue one step further. Essentially, through some clinical trials, an analysis was made on the actual impact of caffeine on protein synthesis in muscles [1].

The results of this study showed no negative impacts on lean mass development. This means that most people shouldn't experience issues with protein absorption if they were to add whey protein in coffee.

But does that mean there are no negatives to this approach?

Are There Any Downsides?

denaturation of protein

At this stage of my research process, I was at a point where everything seemed to indicate no real issues of blending a hot coffee protein shake to start the day.

However, I did stumble across some scientific information that highlighted concerns that you should take into account.

Essentially, there is evidence that the structure of proteins may slightly change when exposed to high temperatures [2]. The technical term is "denaturation" of the protein, but this is only an issue for a few types of amino acids.

 

Severe heat treatments may slightly affect nutrition and amino acids that are particularly sensitive to heat.

- Frankie Smith, Health Clinician

So, the main nutritional concern is high temperature. Fortunately, there are some ways to avoid that problem, and it doesn't have to involve drinking cold coffee.

How To Mix Coffee And Protein Powder Together?

coffee and protein powder mixed with blender

Here are 4 simple tips you can follow that may make your morning cup of coffee a good protein booster.

1 - Wait For Your Brew To Cool Down
As mentioned above, high temperatures may impact the protein structure. What I generally do is start by adding some cold almond milk. I then wait for about another 5 minutes before I add the protein powder.

2 - Use A Blender For A Creamy Effect
If you like the more creamy effect of a latte, then you can achieve something similar without the need for any milk. With a simple stick blender, you may be able to create a pleasant and frothy effect, dependent on how many scoops of whey protein you're adding.

3 - Add Flavored Protein Powder
One thing I love doing is adding flavored protein in coffee. The one thing I would advise, though, is not to try it with fruity flavors, as it just tends to make it a rather disgusting experience.

4 - Consider A Refreshing Iced Coffee
Yes, I did say above you won't have to resort to drinking cold coffee. However, I did start experimenting with this last summer. To my surprise, iced coffee is actually quite refreshing after you've done some exercise.

Related Articles:

Best Protein To Mix With Coffee

scoop of protein powder

I would generally suggest that you try using whey protein powder to mix with coffee. The reason I like it is that it does create a slightly creamy effect, which means you can avoid using milk altogether.

However, if you're dairy intolerant, then adding vegan protein powder in coffee is also a good option. Hemp and rice protein are 2 options you may want to consider, with hemp having the benefit of providing all essential amino acids.

FAQs

protein and coffee

Is it okay to drink coffee after a protein shake?

Yes, it is okay to drink coffee after a protein shake. However, you want to avoid drinking very hot coffee, as it may have an impact on the structure of the proteins.

Can I put protein powder in hot drinks?

Yes, you can put protein powder in hot drinks, but you may want to avoid very hot temperatures. Freshly boiled water may have a negative impact, so letting it cool down a bit or adding some milk may be a good option.

Is it bad to mix protein powder with coffee?

No, it isn't bad to mix protein powder with coffee. The two substances may have very positive effects by helping you become more mentally focused during your exercise, and providing nutrients to speed up the recovery.

Is Mixing Coffee With Protein Powder A Good Idea?

Yes, coffee mixed with protein powder may be a good idea if you want to start off your day with a mental boost and some essential macronutrients. I would just suggest not adding your whey protein immediately in freshly boiled water.

Doing so may change the structure of some of the proteins. At the same time, you won't need to sip on cold coffee either. Just wait a few minutes for the temperature to go down a bit.

If you've had some good experiences with protein coffee, then leave a quick comment on one of our social media pages.

Looking for a protein powder that taste great with water? Click here for our top recommendations.

References:

  1. https://oaktrust.library.tamu.edu/handle/1969.1/156127
  2. https://www.livestrong.com/article/528865-can-i-heat-whey-protein/

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