Q: Could adding protein powder to your coffee (or coffee to a protein shake) really be good for you? Or is “proffee” a questionable TikTok trend to avoid?
A: There’s a lot to like about the combination — and not just regarding taste. If done right, this power-packed drink might cut some sugary goop from your diet while also boosting protein intake.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
Let’s start with an explanation of proffee, a mash-up word for “protein coffee” that is all over TikTok but has yet to gain acceptance from the editors at Merriam-Webster dictionary.
What is protein coffee?
Proffee is exactly what it sounds like given the ingredients. It’s a cup of amped-up java made from combining coffee with either protein powder or a bottle of protein shake.
Creating this concoction is as simple as it sounds, with two potential paths. Some folks prefer dumping scoops of protein powder into iced coffee. (The powder may clump in hot coffee unless it’s a collagen powder.) Others mix a premade protein shake with coffee.
The powder option leads to a drink that looks like… well, your basic cup of coffee. The shake option, meanwhile, can turn into a mesmerizing blend of light and dark swirls.
Now for the good stuff: The potential benefits brought by each ingredient in proffee.
The health value of coffee
Coffee offers plenty of perks, at least when consumed in moderate amounts. It’s a rich source of antioxidants (which protect your body’s cells against damage) and nutrients such as B vitamins, potassium and riboflavin.
Drinking a cup o’ joe regularly also has been shown to decrease the risk of:
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
- Liver disease.
It’s not all jazzy with java, of course. Too much of it can leave you jittery, anxious and unable to catch good ZZZs at night. Excessive caffeine also can leave you dehydrated.
A little bit of coffee in a proffee, though, shouldn’t be an issue.
The benefits of adding protein
You need protein to keep your body functioning in tiptop form. A well-balanced diet meets most needs, but some turn to protein supplements such as powders and shakes for an additional boost.
So why add it to your morning coffee? A few reasons stand out:
- A morning dose of protein can help launch you into day, especially when combined with the caffeine in coffee. Many also tout the benefits of proffee as a pre-workout drink.
- Putting protein in your belly to start the day can help curb hunger later, possibly helping with weight management. Protein also charges up your metabolism to burn more calories.
- Protein powders and shakes often taste good, so using them to flavor your coffee probably means you don’t have to use sugary creamers that can turn cups of coffee into unhealthy calorie bombs.
How to make protein coffee
Anything you make to eat is only as good as the ingredients used, and proffee is no different.
Selecting a quality protein powder or shake is key to seeing benefits. Look for a product without artificial sweeteners or a swollen ingredient list filled with gums and other additives. (Generally, the smaller the list, the better.)
As mentioned previously, cold coffee works best in this blend, particularly if you go the powder route. Espresso is preferred by many touting this drink on TikTok.
Then just combine your two main ingredients and — BOOM! — you have proffee. Many fans of the drink drop in a few ice cubes, too. Feel free to add in a dash of cinnamon or another spice if you’re feeling adventurous. (Just stay away from sugary syrups.)
So done right, proffee isn’t necessarily a bad idea. Give the TikTokers some credit on this one.
— Registered dietitian Kate Patton, MEd, RD, CCSD, LD