I managed to get through college, grad school, and mothering three young children without the crutch of coffee. I didn’t really like the taste—not in a cup, a cappuccino, or even a scoop of coffee ice cream. But this past year I found myself lured into the cult of coffee.
At first, I drank it in small mugs poured by my husband. Ultimately, I began to brew it on my own. A natural next step has been to combine my newfound appreciation for coffee with my longtime love for smoothies.
Both tend to be morning endeavors anyway, so why not a mocha coffee smoothie?
Coffee Smoothie in a Snapshot
- Creamy, mildly mocha blend
- Made with nourishing ingredients
- Protein and healthy fats to help fill you up
- Can be made with decaf coffee
In a nutshell, this creamy concoction tastes like a frosty mocha shake, only a little on the lighter side since no ice cream is involved. It’s just sweet enough and delivers a mellow coffee flavor with a chocolate undertone thanks to the addition of cocoa powder.
How to Make a Coffee Smoothie
This recipe involves just a handful of ingredients.
Coffee: You start with a cup of strong, cold coffee. You can either brew and chill it yourself or pick up a bottle of cold brew at the market.
Milk: If you’re using cow’s milk, I’d recommended at least 1% milk fat. If choosing a plant-based milk, look for an unsweetened variety that has a bit of body, such as oat milk or coconut milk.
Cocoa Powder: You can’t call it a mocha without a hint of chocolate. For this recipe, that comes by way of cocoa powder, which makes the smoothie taste delicious and delivers hearty healthy plant flavonoids. If you prefer to use cacao powder, the raw version of cocoa powder, go for it. It has a slightly more bitter flavor but is richer in antioxidants.
Smoothie Add Ins: A ripe frozen banana adds sweetness and viscosity to your smoothie. Lastly, a spoonful of chia seeds and almond butter boosts protein and healthy fats that give the smoothie some staying power (translation: you won’t be hungry 10 minutes after you slurp it down).
Mix it Up: Be Your Own Smoothie Barista
The recipe featured below is just for starters. There is plenty more you can do to switch things up depending on the mood. Here are a handful of ideas for shifting the flavor profile or boosting the nutrition:
- Add 1/3 cup fresh or frozen cauliflower florets to pump up the produce in your breakfast blend (you can’t really taste it, I promise!)
- Top the smoothie with a little dark chocolate (shave pieces of a chocolate bar using a vegetable peeler).
- For added protein and calcium, blend a few tablespoons of nonfat dry milk powder into the smoothie. Alternatively, add a scoop of your favorite unflavored protein powder or collagen peptides.
- Swap 3 tablespoons rolled oats for the chia seeds.
- Swap out the almond butter and use sunflower, cashew, or peanut butter instead.
- Top with a few teaspoons of cacao nibs for fiber, crunch, and more chocolate flavor.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon (or more) of cardamom, cinnamon, or pumpkin pie spice to the mix.
- For more of a dessert shake, swap 1/2 cup frozen vanilla yogurt for milk.
Benefits of Coffee
My prior aversion to coffee had more to do with taste than any notion that caffeine wasn’t good for me.
Indeed, over time I’ve come to learn that coffee has potential upsides. When consumed in reasonable quantities, caffeine is associated with increased mental alertness, concentration, and improved athletic performance. The key is not overdoing it.
Too much coffee can give you the jitters, not to mention interfere with bedtime if you drink it too late in the day. The 2/3 cup portion in this recipe shouldn’t be problematic for most folks, and if it is, there’s no reason you can’t make your smoothie with decaf.
You can add 1 scoop of unsweetened protein powder/collagen peptides or 3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk powder for added protein, if desired.
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2/3 cup cold brew or cold strong coffee
- 1 ripe banana, cut into chunks and frozen
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large pitted Medjool date
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 2 ice cubes
Hydrate the chia seeds:
Combine the chia seeds and milk in the blender carafe. Let it sit for 10 minutes so the seeds absorb some of the milk and soften, making for a creamier blended drink.
Add the other ingredients:
Add the coffee, banana chunks, almond butter, vanilla extract, Medjool date, cocoa powder, and ice to the blender.
Blend ingredients and serve:
Start the blender on low speed and gradually increase the speed until everything blends into a creamy, smooth consistency. Be sure to scrape down the sides and run the blender again as needed.
Pour into a tall glass and enjoy.