If you're a coffee lover and you care about getting enough protein each day, you might be wondering about the best protein powder to mix with your morning cup of hot coffee. While there are many different types of protein powders on the market, not all of them mix well with coffee. I tried 10 different protein powders to find the best protein powder for coffee, and I share the results (with video!) here. TLDR, The best protein to mix with coffee is this collagen protein, with almond protein powder as the best plant-based protein. Read on!
Whey protein powder does not mix well with coffee
You're probably reading this post because you've tried mixing whey protein with hot coffee and it did not go well. In theory, adding whey protein to coffee is great way to get a protein boost in the morning. But in reality, while whey protein powder is generally a great option for adding protein to drinks, it is not the best choice for mixing with hot coffee. Whey protein powder can clump or separate when mixed with coffee, resulting in a very unpleasant drinking experience. This is because coffee is an acidic beverage, and the acidity can cause the whey protein to lose its solubility.
Many online articles will tell you to use a blender, a frother, mix it with water first, etc. But I have not seen any of these articles actually show you their great results with these methods. I tried several whey protein powders, mixed, frothed, etc. And I am here to tell you that whey is not the choice for mixing into hot coffee. Neither is casein protein. The only dairy protein I can recommend is using (premixed) Premier Protein shakes. These mix well into hot coffee, but personally I didn't love the taste in coffee (or the product's ingredient list).
Collagen protein mixes the best into hot coffee
I recently bought these marine collagen peptides, and I was very impressed with how well they mix into hot coffee. A serving of two tablespoons (12g protein) fits the recommended daily amount of collagen, and completely dissolves in hot coffee. There is no separation at all, even when you add creamer and sweetener.
As you can see from the photos above, the collagen doesn't change the texture of the coffee. And it's tasteless! Don't be turned off by marine collagen thinking it will have some kind of fish taste; it does not! There is no flavor at all to this collagen powder. I haven't tried bovine collagen (I don't eat meat, so I prefer marine collagen), but I expect it will work just as well.
Plant-based protein powder mixes well with coffee
Other than collagen, the two protein powders that I found to mix best with hot coffee are almond protein powder and this pea protein blend. Personally, I prefer the taste of the almond protein because it has a naturally sweet taste, and the flavor compliments the taste of coffee.
While I enjoy the pea blend as a protein shake, I don't love the plant taste in my coffee. It does, however, also blend well with just a frother.
Per 2 tablespoons, almond protein powder has 7 grams of protein. (Whey would have about 10g protein.) It's also worth noting that almond protein powder does thicken the coffee a bit, so you may only want to use 1 tablespoon or add some almond milk.
If these options aren't resonating with you, perhaps you'd rather have a high protein muffin or protein cookies for breakfast with your morning cup of coffee. This can still support weight loss, bodybuilding, and general fitness goals.
Advice you'll find on other sites
Ever feel like you're reading advice from someone who just doesn't get it? That's how I feel when I read other posts about protein coffee. I see posts about iced coffee, cold brew coffee, posts that suggest blending hot coffee, posts with a bunch of ingredients, etc.
When I wake up and go for my morning coffee, I don't want cold coffee. I don't want to be blending things, and I don't want to be measuring a bunch of ingredients. I want an easy way to put a couple of spoonfuls of protein powder in hot coffee. That's it. So that's what I'm showing you here. Below are the results of adding whey, casein, almond, a pea blend, and collagen into hot coffee.
And by the way, even if you blend whey into hot coffee, it does eventually separate and clump. It's also important to note that it is definitely not a good idea to blend anything hot in a nutribullet type blender, one that is completely sealed. The high temperature of the liquid can cause pressure to build up inside the blender, which can cause the contents to explode out of the container when the lid is opened.
Protein powder in hot coffee
So what's the best protein powder to add to hot black coffee? To figure out which would mix the best, I tried 10 different protein powders:
- Optimum Nutrition natural vanilla whey (my go-to for recipes)
- Levels natural vanilla whey
- NOW unflavored whey concentrate
- a commercial whey protein concentrate that I used in developing Proteinfull Baking mixes
- Bluebonnet whey protein isolate (my go-to whey isolate)
- Promix casein protein powder
- Quest protein powder (whey/casein blend)
- Orgain protein powder (pea protein blend)
- Almond protein powder
- Marine collagen peptides
Shown in this video are whey protein concentrate, casein protein, almond protein powder, and a pea protein blend. The others have similar results, so I didn't bother to include all 9 in the video. The separate video for collagen protein is also below.
Here are my key takeaways from these protein powder coffee experiments:
- The type of protein powder that mixes best with coffee is collagen protein. Two tablespoons offers 12g protein and it completely dissolves in the coffee when stirred with a spoon, without changing the texture or flavor.
- Plant based protein powders also mix well, but they do change the flavor and texture of the coffee.
- Of the plant-based options, I prefer almond protein powder for its taste and mixability.
- The best way to mix plant-based protein powder with coffee is using a milk frother. It has just the right amount of power to be used in a mug without making a mess (unlike an immersion blender), and it's easy to give it a quick rinse when you're done, without anything additional to clean (unlike using a blender bottle).
- I suggest unflavored protein powder because even the natural flavors added to protein powders for use as a shake won't necessarily taste as great with coffee.
- Regular coffee is better than espresso here because the more liquid you have, the more protein powder the coffee can absorb.
- Feel free to add your favorite coffee creamer, sweetener, or ice cubes, as these won't change the results here.
- Any collagen protein (collagen peptides) should work well.
- Any vegan protein powder should mix well into coffee, but some have better textures than others (pea protein blends are often smoother than rice protein, hemp protein, or chia seed protein, for example).
How to mix protein powder into coffee
Collagen mixes into hot coffee with just a spoon. Easy!
Plant-based protein powders can be mixed into coffee with minimal effort. Add the protein powder to the mug before or after you add the hot coffee. Use a milk frother to mix it quickly and easily. Done!
FAQ about protein coffee
Yes, you can put some types of protein powder into coffee. Collagen protein mixes the best, completely dissolving without altering the flavor or texture of the coffee. Plant-based protein powders also mix well with coffee, but whey and other dairy-based protein powders don't mix as well.
Whey protein does not mix well with coffee. Whey protein powder can clump or separate when mixed with coffee, resulting in a very unpleasant drinking experience. This is because coffee is an acidic beverage, and the acidity can cause the whey protein to lose its solubility.
1-2 tablespoons of collagen or plant-based protein mixes well with coffee. More than that would be excessive for collagen, and would be very thick and probably unpleasant for plant-based protein powders.
No, a scoop of protein wouldn't blend well into coffee. 1-2 tablespoons of collagen or plant-based protein powder mixes well in coffee. Whey protein does not mix well with coffee, however, even in small quantities.
Marine collagen peptides is the best protein to add to hot coffee, since it dissolves completely with just a spoon and does not change the flavor or texture of the coffee. Plant-based protein powders are also good for protein powder coffee. I suggest almond protein powder for the best flavor of the plant-based options.
Protein coffee recipe
Check out my delicious protein coffee recipe with collagen protein and chaga mushroom powder.
The benefits of protein coffee
I have a whole article on the benefits of protein coffee. Give it a read!
Coffee flavored protein powders
If you enjoy coffee and protein, you might be interested in these coffee protein powder options (to make a coffee protein shake):
- Plant based coffee flavored protein
- Whey coffee flavored protein
- Whey/casein blend coffee flavored protein