Instant coffee is a huge convenience commodity throughout the world today thanks to how easy and quick it is to make. People shave minutes off of their morning routines by switching from whole beans and ground coffee to instant coffee. Not to mention, it’s cheap! You can mix it into a regular cup of instant coffee, sprinkle it over desserts, or even make instant coffee protein shakes to really give yourself a boost.
But what are the health benefits like when compared with regular coffee? And how can we use instant coffee more creatively to not only make it taste better but have it pack more of a punch? This article will give you all the Whats, Hows, and Whys of instant coffee protein shake and show you the best ways to mix it.
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What Is Instant Coffee?
So if it’s not the actual coffee beans–ground or otherwise–what exactly is instant coffee? It’s still made from brewed coffee, but that brewed coffee (called “coffee extract”) much more concentrated than your average cup of joe.
Once brewed, it’s either spray-dried or freeze-dried so that the water in the brew evaporates. The final product is the fine powder that we can easily spoon into a mug of hot water, add to protein shakes, or use as a flavorful topping for desserts.
Instant Coffee Benefits
Regular coffee is by far the most popular source of antioxidants in today’s culture and is packed full of them. Absolutely none of this value is lost in the process of making instant coffee. In fact, instant coffee often has even more antioxidants than coffee beans thanks to its high concentration from the extract!
Not to mention single-digit calories! Instant coffee calories are so low that you can take advantage of its antioxidants and nutrients completely guilt-free.
Instant coffee is still high in caffeine, but it does lose around half of its caffeine content during the drying process. If you’re someone who needs that hard kick in the mornings to get started with your day, you may want to either stick to brewed coffee.
Alternatively, you can add the instant coffee powder to something else that will keep your energy up! However, if you’re needing to cut back on caffeine, instant coffee is the perfect way to do so.
But let’s talk about the non-physical benefits of instant coffee. It’s the perfect product for someone who’s constantly on the go and doesn’t have the time to wait for a pot to brew, or someone who wants to be able to use the powder in something other than an actual coffee beverage.
It beats out brewed coffee beans in cost, convenience, ease in making it, and time it takes to do so.
Additionally, instant coffee is versatile enough that it can be used for just about any situation. Bringing instant coffee for camping beverages is a great way to save both time and space without having to rely on extra materials like actual pots.
Most brands will dissolve well in cold water or hot water as well, making it an easy on-the-go beverage no matter what resources you have available.
Instant Coffee Ingredients
Most instant coffee will only be made using the coffee extract, so the only ingredient should be the actual type of coffee used. However, there are some brands that will have options that include sugar and/or creamer along with other ingredients for flavor.
If you’re wanting to stick to the low-calorie, healthy options, be sure to check the ingredient list to make sure only the coffee is listed.
If you’re interested in something with a little extra flavor, though, feel free to look around until you find something that appeals to you! There will even be brands that include extra flavorings like vanilla, mocha, or chocolate.
Instant Coffee Effects on Health
We all know that coffee is a stimulant–that’s why we drink it! It can increase our energy levels and get us past that early-morning groggy feeling that has us dragging our feet or longing for the comfort of our beds. That’s not all that coffee can do for us, though! It can:
- Improve our mental functionality (largely thanks to the caffeine).
- Give our metabolism a boost, which can be very helpful when trying to lose weight or burn fat.
- Reduce your risk for disease and diabetes–instant coffee has been shown to lower the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like dementia, and can lower your likelihood of developing Type II diabetes.
- Improve liver and mental health.
- And even extend your life!
Now, these benefits are based on observational studies, meaning that it can’t be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the coffee was behind all of them. However, they do provide strong support, and are absolutely worth taking note of.
Instant Coffee and Depression
Have you ever fallen out of your regular coffee routine and found yourself dragging, both physically and emotionally? Or have you started drinking coffee regularly and discovered that you just…generally feel better? This is likely because of the effects that instant coffee can have on your mental chemical balances.
Coffee is one of those wonderful, healthy, beneficial substances that can not only improve our energy levels, but can even help us fight depression. Whether it’s the energy, the caffeine’s effect on our brains, the improved metabolism, or all of the above–all we know is that coffee makes us feel physically and emotionally more alive.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that when we have that extra energy, we often wind up accomplishing more with our days and increasing our productivity. Feeling like we’ve done something worthwhile with our time can be a big factor in fighting off depressed feelings and mentalities as well, so take advantage of these benefits and see how they change your life!
Instant Coffee For Weight Loss
As mentioned above, instant coffee (and coffee in general) is a great way to give our metabolism a little boost every day. The caffeine in it kickstarts our digestive system and speeds up our metabolic rate, helping our body process food better and faster.
Coffee also has chlorogenic acid, which is known to encourage fat-burning activity on the cellular level. Caffeine does this, too, communicating with our nervous system and telling fat stores to break themselves down.
This makes coffee an excellent weight loss supplement on its own, but it works best when you don’t add a whole bunch of fattening ingredients like cream, sugar, and whipped cream. We know those are what make your Starbucks drinks so delicious, but those aren’t too helpful when it comes to losing weight!
Instead, try adding instant coffee to a protein shake (or even adding protein powder to your coffee!) to give your beverage a more well-rounded flavor. This is a healthy way to boost your energy, your metabolism, and your general health without losing the weight loss benefits!
Does Instant Coffee Have Any Health Risks? (Fact Over Fiction)
Instant coffee dangers are few and far between, and–if we’re being perfectly honest–not likely to actually impact your health if you’re consuming it in normal quantities. Like with just about anything else we eat or drink, it can be problematic if way too much is ingested.
However, that doesn’t make instant coffee any different from any of the other everyday foods and drinks out there that can say the same.
That being said, here are some of the topics of conversation concerning instant coffee and how it might affect people’s health in any kind of negative way.
Instant Coffee and Cancer?
A potentially harmful component in instant coffee is Acrylamide, a chemical that forms whenever coffee beans are roasted. Acrylamide has been shown to be toxic in high levels, even correlating with several cancers (most notably breast cancer).
That being said, the levels of Acrylamide in instant coffee are NOWHERE NEAR high enough to actually be harmful to us! There are similar levels in fried potato foods and household products, and we would have to be consuming approximately 15-20 cups of coffee every single day for it to be considered dangerous. With that much caffeine, you’d probably have a few other things to worry about first!
In other words, instant coffee and cancer have no logical correlation. The fact that a product contains something that can be cancer-causing in extremely large quantities doesn’t mean that you’re at risk of cancer for consuming it.
In this case, it would be fairly accurate to say there are no reasonable risks involved with consuming instant coffee. Instead, there are enough health benefits to convince you that it could be a regular part of your daily routine and only improve your health!
Instant Coffee and Cholesterol
Another factor worth discussing, however, is any correlation between instant coffee and cholesterol. You may have heard of a type of oil called “terpenes” that unfiltered coffee often contains. These are the culprits of increased cholesterol levels more often than not, but are not found in filtered coffee.
In other words, if you primarily drink espressos, use French presses or percolators, or commonly ingest some other form of unfiltered coffee, you have a higher chance of seeing the effects of the terpenes.
Instant coffee, unfortunately, is not filtered coffee. With this in mind, you don’t want to overdo your instant coffee consumption if you’re already at risk for high cholesterol. You certainly don’t need to avoid it altogether, as instant coffee does not contain high enough levels of terpenes to be immediately damaging by any stretch of the imagination.
Just always keep your health in mind when consuming something with regularity, and keep yourself informed of any health factors that might affect your body.
Instant Coffee and Kidney Stones
Once again, this is a correlation that only exists in unusually high quantities, so as long as you’re drinking instant coffee (or coffee in general) in moderation, you likely have nothing to worry about. Caffeine has been suggested to increase urinary calcium excretion, and that calcium is what typically results in kidney stones.
However, drinking plenty of water and including other cleansing foods and drinks in your diet can completely counter this effect and keep such issues as bay.
Again, there’s no reason to worry about kidney stones if you don’t drink much coffee or drink it in moderation. If you drink more than a couple of cups per day, just make sure you’re keeping yourself well hydrated and keep your kidneys clean and happy.
Instant Coffee and Protein Powder
Can You Add Instant Coffee to Protein Shakes?
Easy. Yes! Plenty of people give their mornings or their workouts a little extra boost by mixing water, instant coffee, and protein powder together for an easy shake. You can add creamer and other flavors as well if you want to, the options are as limitless as your imagination!
Benefits of Adding Instant Coffee to Protein Shakes
As discussed above, caffeine can have a positive effect on your weight-loss goals. Adding instant coffee to protein shakes combines the benefits of both products (caffeine and protein) to give your metabolism a significant boost!
Together, they will also suppress your appetite to keep you from feeling the need to snack every now and then. One of our biggest struggles when it comes to losing weight is that irresistible urge to indulge our cravings. Salty snacks, chocolate, sweet foods, sodas, our cravings are the death of our diets!
The caffeine in coffee helps us fight these urges and encourages good weight loss behaviors. The caffeine also increases your heart rate, which is great for workouts since the faster your heart is beating (to a healthy extent, of course), the more calories you’re burning!
But the benefits don’t stop there! If you’re using instant coffee protein shakes, you’re probably gearing up for a good workout afterward.
In addition to the protein benefits, caffeine will rev your metabolism into gear and alleviate the pain in your muscles as you build them up and burn those calories. This is thanks to the antioxidants in the coffee, which reduce inflammation in the body and are also partially responsible for weight loss assistance.
The antioxidants in instant coffee even help improve respiratory function, so you won’t be struggling to catch your breath quite so much.
But wait, there’s more! Because coffee (or rather, the caffeine in it) is a stimulant, it also makes your workout feel less strenuous, and you’ll find yourself more focused and determined to finish it.
Even more than that, though, the combination of coffee in protein shakes helps to stimulate the production of hormones like dopamine, which are associated with feeling good and happy.
So, in other words, instant coffee protein shakes make you feel good both physically and mentally/emotionally. It’s several compounded benefits in one power-packing shake!
The Best Protein Powder to Mix With Coffee
There are dozens of options to choose from, but there are five that go above and beyond when it comes to quality and customer reviews. If you’re considering adding protein powder to your coffee (or vice versa), you’re probably doing so for the energy and health benefits in the morning or before a workout. With that in mind, it’s best to choose a protein powder with limited ingredients.
The following five options are highly-rated and are each the best protein powder to mix with coffee because they have minimal ingredients (often no more than one!) and are all-natural. Several of them have additional flavor options as well, opening up the possibilities!
1. NAKED WHEY 5LB 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder
This is one of the most popular options available. It can be bought in a five-pound container as one of four flavors: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, or unflavored. It currently has 4.5/5 stars on Amazon, and its single ingredient is whey protein (for the unflavored).
The flavored versions only boast three ingredients, all of which are completely organic. For the vanilla, you’ll find whey protein, vanilla, and organic coconut sugar. The chocolate flavor has the same ingredients but with organic chocolate instead of vanilla, and the strawberry uses dried strawberries.
- TGS Whey Protein – TGS (The Good Stuff) makes a whey protein that has two ingredients: whey protein and sunflower lecithin. The latter of the two ingredients is purely to improve the powder’s ability to dissolve. This product also has 4.5/5 stars on Amazon and comes in both a two-pound or a five-pound container. TGS Whey Protein does not come in any other flavors.
- Dymatize Elite 100% Whey Protein Powder – This product comes in at 4/5 stars on Amazon, but it’s also a ten-pound bag for the same cost as the Naked Whey. In addition to its quantity, it has a total of twelve flavors:
- Cafe Mocha
- Chocolate Cake Batter
- Chocolate Fudge
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Cookies and Cream
- Gourmet Vanilla
- Raspberry Cheesecake
- Rich Chocolate
- Strawberry Blast
- Vanilla Cupcake
That’s a HUGE assortment of flavors to choose from, and it certainly opens up the floor for endless possibilities for uses. Naturally, the Cafe Mocha or the Gourmet Vanilla would make rich mainstream flavor additions to an instant coffee beverage, but try Snickerdoodle or Rich Chocolate for an even more robust taste!
- Multi Collagen Protein Powder – This product by Sun, Cow, Grass has a 5-star rating, and it isn’t hard to see why. It also only has one ingredient, but that ingredient is entirely dairy-free: organic bone broth collagen. That’s right, this product is safe for those who are allergic to dairy or lactose-intolerant. Even better, it’s remarkably healthy, and can be added to any number of drinks, soups, and baked goods.
- Bone Broth Powder – This protein powder by Organic Health Products comes in a five-pound bag and has a 4.5/5-star rating on Amazon, but its reviews rave about it. They cannot compliment its versatility enough, saying they use it in tea, coffee, juice, water, smoothies, shakes, sprinkled over salads or eggs, and even in cold beverages with no problems dissolving. Like the item above, this is a dairy-free product that still packs a powerful punch!
The Best Instant Coffee For Protein Shakes
If you’d like to go the opposite route and add instant coffee powder to your protein shakes, you’ll still find more options than you know what to do with. To help you narrow down the options, though, we’ve put together a list of the top five options available through Amazon.
Any of these can be mixed with either warm or cold water, used in protein shakes, smoothies, or other mixed coffee drinks like frappuccinos and macchiatos.
These instant coffee brands are inexpensive, versatile, and reliable. They’re the best instant coffee for protein shakes because of perfectly they dissolve into either hot or cold liquids, have excellent flavor, and give you all the benefits of coffee in your protein shakes!
- Starbucks Via Instant – Are we really surprised that Starbucks is snagging one of the top spots? Not at all. You can purchase this instant coffee in blonde (Veranda Blend), medium (House Blend), or dark roast (French Roast) varieties through the country’s most popular coffee chain. This product has 4.5/5 stars and almost eight hundred reviews, with many claiming that it’s the best instant coffee brand.
- Nescafe Taster’s Choice House Blend – Another popular brand, Nescafe comes up next with a 5-star rating and an inexpensive alternative to Starbucks. The House Blend itself comes in a Mildly Roasted version as well, but there are plenty of other options through Nescafe that might satisfy your instant coffee cravings.
- Folgers Instant Coffee Crystals, Classic Roast – Folgers is another household brand that we’ve all likely seen the commercials for. This is also an inexpensive option and has been given a 4.5/5-star rating. Folgers boasts that they use 100% coffee for their ingredients, making this an excellent low-calorie option.
- Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Instant Coffee – Another 4.5/5-star rating for this favorite! This delicious option has as many reviews as the Starbucks brand and mixes well in absolutely any kind of beverage or soup. It also makes a wonderful addition to different baked goods, but is a perfect instant coffee for iced coffees.
- Maxim Mocha Gold Mild Coffee Mix – So, this is a Korean instant coffee. As such, you may or may not have heard of it, but it has as many reviews as the Starbucks and Mount Hagen options.
That being said, this is the only one on this list with more ingredients than just the coffee itself. Maxim Mocha Gold Mild Coffee Mix also has sugar and non-dairy creamer mixed in, but this just means there’s less to add when you mix this instant coffee with your protein shake!
Instant Coffee Protein Shake Recipes
There are countless recipes on the internet with step by step recipes for making instant coffee protein smoothies and shakes, so you’re guaranteed to find one that fits your palate perfectly! Here are a few ideas that combine instant coffee with protein shakes to get your creative juices flowing.
Mocha Protein Shake With Instant Coffee
This recipe can take as little as three minutes to slap together, so it’s perfect if you’re just wanting something quick, easy, and delicious before heading out to work or to your morning workout.
All you have to do is combine a cup of instant coffee, almond milk (or whatever your preferred milk is), ice, and vanilla and/or chocolate protein powder in a blender and let it rip. The end result is a sinfully tasty breakfast milkshake that isn’t loaded with calories or fattening ingredients!
Chocolate Protein Shake With Instant Coffee
With a five-minute preparation time, this is another easy recipe to execute right before you leave the house for the day.
You’ll need your instant coffee powder, cocoa powder, vanilla almond milk (again, other milks can be used), vanilla extract, vanilla Greek yogurt, chocolate whey protein powder, and half of a banana. Oh, and ice, of course!
Blend it all together for a deliciously smoothe, energizing milkshake that will satisfy your chocolate cravings, too!
Cafe Vanilla Protein Smoothie
Do you love the Cafe Vanilla Frappuccino from Starbucks? Well, you can make something extremely similar out of your instant coffee and protein powder!
Combine ice, your favorite milk, vanilla bean protein powder, and a cup of instant coffee for a super-sweet, delightfully rich flavor experience.
No Blender? No Problem!
Blenders aren’t always necessary to get your morning instant coffee protein shake fix! If you either don’t have the time, don’t want to deal with the cleanup, or just plain don’t have a blender, try a literal milk-“shake” instead!
Vanilla Coffee Shake (No Blender)
Make a deliciously sweet vanilla coffee shake with a cup of instant coffee, a cup of your favorite milk, a scoop of your preferred vanilla protein powder, and some honey or agave. Just shake the mixture in a tumbler or closed container until it’s fully blended, then enjoy!
Mocha Chocolate Shake (No Blender)
If the vanilla isn’t really your thing, you can do this with a mocha shake as well! Combine your instant coffee, milk preference, and honey or agave like in the previous recipe, but use a half-scoop each of chocolate and/or mocha-flavored protein powder.
Give it a good shake (and work out your arms in the process, no doubt) and enjoy your chocolate fix!
Other Ways to Use Instant Coffee
As mentioned previously, a lot of people will use instant coffee on desserts or sprinkle it over baked goods as well! There are countless ways to use such a versatile powder, so here are a couple of instant coffee dessert recipes for you to take with you before you leave.
Simple Coffee Dessert Recipe
For this easy dessert, all you need is some milk, condensed milk, instant coffee powder, sugar, cocoa powder, and heaping corn flour. In a small saucepan, set the milk and sugar to boil.
Then, combine the rest of the ingredients (sans condensed milk) with just enough milk to make a paste out of it.
Once the milk and sugar are boiling, add the paste and stir continuously to ensure that there are no lumps or strange textures.
When you’re satisfied with the consistency, add the condensed milk and mix again. Once you pour the dessert into everyone’s bowls, you can add tasty, flavorful garnishments on top like whipped cream or chocolate to make it even more tantalizing.
Instant Coffee Ice Cream
No need for an ice cream maker! Make a strong cup of instant coffee, stir in some sweetened condensed milk, and then whip in a whole bunch of whipping cream. You can do this manually with a whisk, but it’ll take a bit and you’ll really work out those arm muscles if you choose not to use an actual set of electric beaters.
Once you’ve got a nice thick, creamy mixture, transfer it to a container that can safely stay in the freezer and wait until frozen!
You can add additional flavors to this, of course, including vanilla extract or vanilla bean if you’re wanting a creamier taste or cocoa or chocolate for that richer flavor. No matter what you do, though, this is an easy way to satisfy those ice cream cravings and your coffee cravings all at once!
To recap, instant coffee is a perfectly safe and healthy, convenient and easy, and highly versatile alternative to brewed coffee.
Adding it to protein shakes is the perfect way to get all of the benefits of caffeine and combine it with that boost of energy and muscle-building assistance the protein powder provides.
There are so many different flavor combinations for instant coffee protein shakes that it’s impossible not to find something you enjoy, and you’ll be feeling happier and healthier for having added them to your daily routine!