It’s difficult to find the time during a busy morning to prepare both a meal and a cup of coffee.
And if you hit the gym in the morning, you have even less time left.
So why not combine the two?
Not only does a coffee protein shake serve as an all-in-one meal replacement, it also fuels your workout and enhances muscle recovery.
Keep reading to find out just what makes the combination of coffee and protein so valuable, along with seventeen recipes to suit every taste.
The Benefits Of Adding Coffee To A Protein Shake
Recent research has revealed coffee to be something of an elixir, with regular consumption over the long term reducing a myriad of conditions including heart disease, liver problems, and certain cancers.
For an athlete, coffee’s impact can be equally beneficial in the short term.
Coffee and protein both play a key role in weight loss. In the case of coffee, it is a known appetite suppressant.
A recent study found that drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages enabled weight loss maintenance over the long term.
Additionally, the stimulant effect of caffeine can inspire increased physical exercise.
Protein plays its part by keeping you full longer and minimizing mid-day junk food cravings.
There is also an increasing body of research showing that high protein diets speed the metabolism, further promoting weight loss.
If protein helps you lose weight, and caffeine helps you keep it off, then the two together are a perfect diet pairing.
In fact, many of the shakes below are frequently recommended by doctors in the field of bariatrics, the branch of medicine dealing with obesity.
Better athletic performance
For those not looking to reduce their weight, the combination of protein and coffee is also known to boost athletic performance.
Drinking coffee increases the adrenaline levels in your body, which causes your tissues to release high-energy fat cells that fuel your workout.
Caffeine in your bloodstream also allows you to workout harder without noticing the extra exertion.
While coffee provides the fuel for your workout, protein provides the tools for building muscle as well as the nutrients to keep you going longer.
Because proteins are made up of amino acids which are also the building blocks of your muscle fibers, consuming protein after a workout is the best way to repair muscle damage and promote recovery.
Not sure how to get that right balance of nutrients to fuel your workout or aid in post-workout recovery?
Here are 17 delicious ideas to get you started!
Nearly every recipe in this list is made the same way, by blending all the ingredients in the blender until smooth, so I’ve only included helpful tips where the recipe deviates from the norm.
Here They Are: A complete list of coffee protein shake recipes
#1. The Basic
The simplest way to enjoy the health benefits afforded by combining protein with coffee is to do just that:
Combine whey protein powder and coffee.
While many of the shakes on this list contain enough calories and nutrients to serve as effective meal replacements, this basic recipe is the best option for those still looking to enjoy their morning coffee and breakfast separately.
The natural sweetness of the protein powder offsets any bitterness in the coffee, so there is no need to burden this healthy combination with additional sweeteners.
Simple doesn’t have to mean boring however. In this case it means healthy, easy, and delicious.
This is the only non-blender recipe of the bunch. Put the coffee, protein powder and ice in the shaker bottle and shake aggressively for a minute or two to ensure that the protein powder has dissolved and the ice has thoroughly chilled the mix.
#2. Everyone loves a mocha
Coffee and chocolate is an age old pairing that few can resist.
Bitter coffee coupled with sweet chocolate yields a perfectly balanced drink every time, making the mocha one of the most popular coffee shop drinks.
Mocha flavored items like ice cream, yogurts and cakes are equally widespread.
Unfortunately, this delicious partnership is rarely a nutritious choice.
For example, Starbucks’ Iced Caffe Mocha has a whopping 350 Calories and 30 g of sugar.
Try this healthy shake instead.
Pairing coffee, almond milk, and protein powder for a mocha protein drink keeps the calories low and the sugar even lower.
For even more of a chocolate hit, you can always replaced the vanilla almond milk with chocolate flavor.
Never put the protein powder in the blender first as you’ll risk it sticking to the sides and bottom of the vessel. Add the liquid ingredients first, then the powder.
#3. Natural sugars to satisfy a sweet tooth
It’s always nice to start the day with a little something sweet, but there is nothing healthy about a big hit of refined sugar for breakfast.
Instead, natural sweeteners like fruit or Stevia are a great alternative.
This shake pairs those two ingredients with protein powder, almond milk, and ice for a thick and refreshingly sweet beverage.
Stevia is refined from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant and it is about 200 times sweeter than white sugar, so you don’t need to use nearly as much.
It is a nonnutritive sweetener which means that your body doesn’t digest it; while your taste buds can appreciate its flavor, your waistline is unaffected by its consumption.
In this recipe, and most of the others, you can make the shake thicker with more ice or thinner with more almond milk.
#4. Add Greek yogurt for extra protein and creaminess
Greek yogurt has grown in popularity in recent years, and for good reason.
Aside from being thick, creamy, and delicious, Greek yogurt is much higher in protein than standard yogurt.
Adding Greek yogurt to a smoothie boosts its protein and calcium content while also giving a much richer and creamier final result. Using instant coffee in this protein shakes means it’s ready whenever you are.
Greek yogurt’s current popularity means it’s now available in a huge variety of flavors, from salted caramel to key lime pie.
It’s a great way to enjoy a dessert flavor in a healthy package.
This protein shake has the look and feel of an iced vanilla latte, but packs a serious nutritional punch.
For any smoothie blended with ice, try and serve it as quickly as possible. As the ice melts, the shake will become watery.
#5. Don’t fear the dairy
Many protein shakes advocate using almond milk or other dairy alternatives, but this need not always be the case.
Unless you are lactose intolerant, there are plenty of healthy reasons for you to consume cow’s milk.
Milk is an excellent source of calcium, potassium and vitamin D, and adds even more protein to the mix.
Many people find consuming milk before a workout leads to problems with digestion, so this shake may be better suited as a post-exercise recovery tool.
Many experts advocate chocolate milk as a great post-workout drink thanks to its ideal ratio of carbs to protein, along with other key nutrients.
You can substitute lower fat milk for the whole milk, as long as you are willing to accept a shake that is a little less rich.
#6. Harness the power of peanut protein
Not everyone loves the distinct taste of protein powder, so in the name of making a universally satisfying list, here’s a recipe which substitutes the protein with powdered peanut butter.
This innovative all-natural product contains 90% less fat than peanut butter while maintaining the protein content and the delicious flavor.
Peanuts are not as naturally high in protein as the whey used for most protein powders, so a bit of Greek yogurt is added to this recipe for a protein boost.
The flavor of the yogurt can be varied to keep each smoothie unique.
Bananas vary greatly in their sugar content depending on ripeness, so you may want to leave out the maple syrup until after you’ve given the smoothie a quick taste.
#7. Add a little spice to your day
Cinnamon is a great addition to a protein shake and not just because of its warm, spicy flavor.
Derived from tree bark, cinnamon offers significant health benefits as well.
Though few scientific studies have revealed the mechanism by which it acts, cinnamon has been used successfully to combat diabetes, multiple sclerosis, HIV and Alzheimer’s.
It has also been shown to reduce the negative consequences of high fat meals.
In this banana free smoothie recipe, it is paired with the flavors of chocolate, vanilla and coffee to yield a beverage reminiscent of an iced chai latte.
To amp the chai flavor up a little more, feel free to add a pinch of ginger, cloves or cardamom.
#8. The perfect use for flavored coffee
Flavored coffees tend to get a bad rap among coffee aficionados, and not without reason.
Manufacturers often add flavors like hazelnut, chocolate, or vanilla to mask subpar or stale beans.
On the other hand, you can use this fact to your advantage when making protein shakes where the quality of coffee is well buried under the additional ingredients.
If ever there was a time to pick up an inexpensive bag of flavored beans, this is it.
This recipe uses hazelnut flavored beans and pairs them with chocolate-hazelnut spread and chocolate protein powder for an indulgent treat that remains surprisingly low in calories.
If you’re looking to completely avoid sugar, feel free to replace the Nutella with hazelnut butter.
You’ll still get the delicious mocha flavor from the protein powder.
Because this shake will already be thick and rich due to the addition of Nutella, feel free to use skim milk if you’re counting calories.
#9. Add oats for a heartier breakfast replacement
While protein is the macronutrient responsible for building muscle, carbohydrates are needed to fuel the workout.
Adding oats to your protein shake turns it into a complete breakfast that can keep you going all morning.
Not to mention, they bring their own nutritional value to the party as an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
If you’re worried about the shake feeling grainy, you can add the oats to the almond milk the night before and let them soak in the fridge overnight.
#10. Peanut butter and banana are popular for a reason
The combination of peanut butter and banana is a popular among athletes for its well-balanced mix of micro and macronutrients.
Peanut butter provides sustaining fat and protein along with antioxidant vitamin E and immunity-boosting vitamin B6.
The banana provides quick-burning carbohydrate fuel along with vitamin C and potassium.
Conveniently, the combination of peanut butter and banana is also popular for its delicious sweet-and-salty taste.
This coffee protein shake banks on both qualities to deliver a delicious and nutritious morning booster.
Using chocolate protein powder improves the nutritional profile while incorporating yet another favorite flavor to the mix.
#11. Relive your youth with a PB&J
The peanut butter and jam sandwich, more commonly known as a PB&J, is one of those childhood favorites that never goes out of style.
As an adult, you now know that not only do peanut butter and jam taste great together, there are plenty of vitamins and nutrients hiding in the easy snack as well.
This shake replaces the jam with frozen berries which provide an intense fruit flavor without all the added sugars in jam.
Instead, jam makes an appearance drizzled on as a topping.
A few tablespoons of oats add carbohydrates and nutrients, while also calling back to the basis of the whole beverage — the bread of the PB&J.
#12. Harness the power of the flaxseed
Flaxseeds are a great example of the food-as-medicine philosophy.
Many consider them to be among the most powerful plant foods on the planet when it comes to your health.
So it makes sense to incorporate this superfood into your morning shake. Not only that, but flax can help neutralize coffee’s acids, making this shake extra easy on the stomach.
There is evidence that flaxseed can reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.
Its primary benefits are derived from its high quantity of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidant lignans.
The human body can’t process whole flax seeds, so make sure you add them to your smoothie pre-ground to ensure you’re getting the full power of the medicinal food.
#13. Add chia seeds for texture and good health
Flax seeds aren’t the only super seeds experiencing something of a heyday.
Chia seeds have also gained recent popularity thanks to their own nutritious properties.
Like flax seeds, chia seeds also contain abundant omega-3s and fiber. They are also excellent sources of calcium, iron and protein, all of which make this shake an excellent post-workout recovery option.
Chia seeds, when moistened, absorb liquid and swell to many times their original size.
Not only does this make them a great healthy thickener for a shake, they will also help keep you feeling full longer – valuable in any weight loss effort.
It can take a long time for chia seeds to swell to their maximum size, so consider soaking them in the almond milk the night before if you’re averse to any crunchy texture in your shake.
#14. A salted caramel treat that’s also healthy!
In the past few years, the popularity of salted caramel has skyrocketed.
Few tastebuds can resist salty-sweet combinations, and salted caramel takes the idea to its logical extreme by literally pairing sugar and salt.
This shake has the look and feel of a guilty pleasure, but manages to be significantly more nutritious than the salted caramel mocha frappuccino at your local Starbucks.
In fact, a little salt to replenish the electrolytes after a workout is a good thing!
Most of the sweetness in this shake is provided by calorie-free Stevia making this smoothie a guiltless pleasure.
If you skip the whipped cream topping, this is an extremely healthy beverage. But leave it on if you can afford the calories and want to feel like you’re having an indulgent treat.
#15. Summer is the time for tropical flavors
A lot of these shakes seem to follow similar flavor profiles (chocolate, vanilla, banana), but don’t be afraid to get creative.
This refreshing version incorporates the tropical tastes of mango, avocado and coconut for a deviation from the norm.
Coconut milk is a great option for those with dairy and nut allergies along with being an excellent source of vitamins and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.
Avocado provides filling, healthy fats and a significant dose of vitamin E.
Mango is a natural sweetener, delivers a number of additional vitamins and minerals and, along with the avocado, adds a delightful creamy texture to the smoothie.
At many times of year, it can be tough to find ripe mangoes. You can easily replace the half mango in this recipe with ½ cup of frozen mango chunks.
#16. The ultimate healthy shake
The overarching goal of most protein shakes is to contribute to a healthy lifestyle, so why not make a smoothie that offers maximum nutrition?
This version boasts spinach, blueberries, hemp seeds and chia seeds to provide the ultimate healthy start to your day.
Don’t fear the spinach.
I promise it won’t contribute any flavor; instead, this dark leafy green adds numerous vitamins and minerals that are great for your skin, hair and bone health.
Blueberries are another antioxidant superfood that are among the most nutrient dense berries.
They have even shown promise in fighting cancers and minimizing the effects of aging.
#17. The ultimate indulgent treat (that is still good for you)
Just because protein shakes tend to be associated with athletes, doesn’t mean yours always needs to be the epitome of nutrition.
Try this shake as either a special treat or to up your caloric intake after an especially intense workout.
Did you just run a marathon?
Then don’t worry about what that scoop of ice cream is going to do to you waistline!
Even with the addition of ice cream and chocolate syrup, this is still a lot healthier than the average milk shake.
If you’re concerned about calories, look into the growing market of surprisingly delicious low calorie ice creams like those from Halo Top creamery.
Which Coffee Protein Shake Recipe Is Your Favorite?
I hope this comprehensive list has given you some great ideas for your next coffee protein shake experiment.
No matter how you combine these two ingredients, you’ll be promoting your own good health.
The pairing of coffee and protein is valuable in reaching and maintaining a healthy body weight, fueling a vigorous workout, and enabling post-exercise muscle repair.
Did you try and enjoy any of the recipes on this list? Did you notice a difference during or after your workout?
Let us know in the comments below and share this article with your friends if you enjoyed it.