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Is it safe to mix protein powders with hot liquids like coffee? I did this once a while back and it turned into a rubbery blob that sat on top of the coffee. I tried to look it up but there wasnt much available (at the time anyway, 2007). What I found was claims that the protein breaks down and can become toxic. But I read about body builders who bake with protein powders all the time.

Is it safe to mix protien powders with hot liquids? Does it destroy the value of the protein? Does it matter if the powder contains maltodextrin?

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I've wondered the same, I wonder what would happen to the proteins when heated. Would it be similar to boiling an egg for instance or is the drink not hot enough for something like that? – Ivo Flipse Jul 29 '11 at 19:57
I put the protein powder in my cup added water and stirred, then I added the coffee and stirred again. It was good. – user4502 Oct 19 '12 at 15:47
I suspect that it may be a question of temperature. A lot of organic compounds start to break down above about 60 celcius. So if you have very hot black coffee you may have different results to cooler white coffee. – rthsyjh Oct 31 '12 at 9:52
When protein in coffee work well. I am not sure about the other types – Timothy Puffer Jun 23 at 14:32

6 Answers 6

up vote 11 down vote accepted

If the protein powder is added to hot liquid, it won't mix and it does release a gas as it cooks. I've tried it before in one of those covered shakers with a whisk ball built in. Hot protein mess spewed all over the counter as the cap flew off due to the added pressure.

Now, you can apply the same approach that chefs use to flavor their meringues with chocolate. A meringue is essentially egg white (protein) beaten until it is stiff. The technique is called tempering. Basically you blend in the heated substance (like melted chocolate) a little at a time into the the meringue.

If you want a hot protein drink using coffee (a very delicious combo):

  • Mix the protein so that it is liquid at room temperature (only use enough liquid to dissolve the protein)
  • Slowly add the coffee to the mixture until the mix is the right balance
  • Heat if necessary in the microwave when you are done

An alternative approach is to cool the coffee to room temperature and mix the protein at that time. Heat it back up when you are done.

I personally prefer a chocolate/coffee/protein smoothie which is cold. You can't really taste the protein in there at all, and it tastes like you are being decadent.

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+1 for the good ideas but is it safe? Also, when I put hot water in my shaker cup it blows the top off. – DustinDavis Jul 29 '11 at 20:36
It's perfectly safe, just make sure the protein is fully mixed before you heat it. The Ideal Protein program I was on had me mix everything from pudding (protein based) to soup. The stuff that was supposed to be hot had to be heated after mixing it. – Berin Loritsch Jul 29 '11 at 21:01
Oh and about blowing the top off, I mentioned that in my answer--happened to me too. – Berin Loritsch Jul 29 '11 at 21:02
It likely wasn't the protien "releasing gas" but rather the steam and/or hot air from the hot water that blew the top off. I accidentally did the same thing is a shaker to make Jell-O once. I've never heard of protien releasing gas at it's cooked. – Chris Pietschmann Jul 29 '11 at 21:32
I wonder if mixing protein with hot liquids, or baking with it, would cause it to denature? If so, would its denatured form still be metabolisable? – Ben Oct 20 '12 at 1:48

I asked a chemistry professor who has actually made his own protein powder. He said that the composition of the egg won't into something nasty--it stays the same and to go ahead and put the egg powder into my morning coffee. My only issue now is that the powder cooked in the cup!

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Like any other item that cooks, protein will cook when its temperature goes over 130˚. When mixing with any hot items. One should add a little at a time till you have gotten all of the ingredients into the hot mixture, if you see clumping your mixture is too hot and should allow to cool to a lower temp. Been doing it for years with my 21g of powdered protein every morning, chocolate, vanilla and sometimes I mix the together. An excellent start to a good morning.

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I've been using left over coffee (cold), protien and a bit of milk with ice to make my own version of the rockstar coffee drinks. Not too bad when I get it right. – DustinDavis Jun 23 at 16:33

Don't mix hot liquid with protein powder, from my experience it "cooks" and or becomes very very messy and separates. What I have found to be very tasty is mixing room temperature coffee with chocolate protein powder.

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I did it for the first time and it worked perfect.

1 scoop chocolate whey into a glass. Add a bit of milk and water to blend.1/2 cup maybe? Enough that I was going to drink it so it was smooth but instead I added it to my coffee.

Voila! No added milk needed as it cooled the coffee off perfect.


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Done it for years. Just use a blender, or vita-mix. Pour the coffee in - turn on low - pour the protein powder in slowly until it's generally mixed. Cover, and blitz. It gets frothy - and I happen to love the vanilla flavor. No extra sugar, no extra creamer - just coffee and protein.

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Try to make it clear how this is an answer to the OP's question, "Is it safe?" Something like, "The rubbery blob is not caused by the protein breaking down. If you mix the protein in the following manner, it does not cause a rubbery blob: ..." – Noumenon May 8 at 6:25

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