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What to Know About “Proffee,” the Latest Trend on TikTok

A woman holds a cup of iced coffee with a straw.

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Key Takeaways

  • People on TikTok are raving about proffee, a drink made with iced coffee or espresso and a protein shake.
  • Proffee can be a convenient way to boost your protein intake and feel satiated for hours after breakfast, nutrition experts say.
  • Research shows that consuming protein within 2 hours of a workout can help repair muscle damage from intense exercise.

Move over, whipped coffee. A new caffeine-fueled trend called “proffee” has exploded on TikTok.

The beverage marries coffee with protein (hence the name proffee). Countless TikTokers have uploaded videos of themselves making proffee by ordering two or three shots of espresso in a venti cup with ice at Starbucks, then pouring in a ready-to-drink protein shake.

But the trendy drink isn’t just a hit on TikTok, where #proffee has more than 121,000 views and counting. It’s also approved by some dietitians, who say it’s a convenient way to pack more protein into the first part of your day.

Here’s why nutrition experts say proffee may be a TikTok trend worth trying.

Health Benefits of Proffee

Proffee’s potential health benefits come from its primary nutrient: protein. Your body uses this macronutrient to build and preserve lean muscle mass, says Amy Davis, registered dietitian and licensed dietitian nutritionist at The Balanced Dietitian in New Orleans, Louisiana. Protein is found in every cell in your body.

Just how much protein you need to stay healthy depends on a variety of factors, including your activity level, gender, age, weight, and whether you’re pregnant or lactating. On average, adult men need a minimum of 56 grams of protein per day, while adult women need at least 46 grams of protein per day, according to the National Academy of Sciences.

Those figures increase for people who are very active. You can find out your recommended intake of protein and other macronutrients using this calculator from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Since ready-made protein shakes contain anywhere from 10 grams of protein to more than 30 grams, drinking one first thing in the morning gives you a jumpstart on getting the recommended amount you’ll need throughout the day.

So how does coffee fit into the equation? Part of the benefits of proffee come from making your morning coffee—a daily ritual that’s already part of many people’s lives—better for you.

Shena Jaramillo, RD

Adding protein shake to a coffee blend is an excellent way to get additional nutrition in the morning.

— Shena Jaramillo, RD

“Adding protein shake to a coffee blend is an excellent way to get additional nutrition in the morning,” says Shena Jaramillo, registered dietitian and owner of Peace and Nutrition in Ellensburg, Washington. “Many people tend to choose coffee in place of breakfast, thus missing out on essential nutrients. Protein shakes in coffee can add sweetness and nutrition. This can reduce the intake of sugar and cream in coffee and add a more nutrient-dense choice to the mix.”

Plus, for people who typically exercise in the morning, swapping your regular coffee with proffee after your workout can help give you a boost of protein during an optimal time for your muscles. A 2017 study from the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that consuming a high-quality protein within two hours after exercising stimulates muscle protein synthesis, a process that can repair muscle damage.

Amy Davis, RD

During a workout, muscles are challenged and broken down, and protein is responsible for repairing, healing, and growing those muscles after the fact.

— Amy Davis, RD

“During a workout, muscles are challenged and broken down, and protein is responsible for repairing, healing, and growing those muscles after the fact. Adding protein to your coffee is a quick and easy way to ensure you are getting a healthy dose of protein after a workout,” explains Davis.

But even if pandemic life is keeping you more sedentary than usual, proffee offers the added advantage of helping you feel fuller for longer after breakfast, ultimately curbing desires for a mid-morning snack, explains Acacia Wright, a registered dietitian in Seattle, Washington.

“Consuming a high-quality, protein-rich breakfast has been shown to increase fullness while reducing appetite and food cravings,” she says. “A growing body of research also supports that consuming protein at breakfast can aid in weight management and weight loss efforts. Not to mention coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant, which provides an additional energy boost and increased alertness.”

Tips for Choosing a Protein Shake

Just how nutritious and tasty your proffee is depends on which protein shake you choose to make it with. Premier Protein is among the most popular brands featured in TikTok videos. It boasts 30 grams of protein and usually about 1 gram of sugar per shake.

However, you can make proffee with just about any pre-made protein shake. Davis recommends looking for one with at least 20 to 30 grams of protein per serving. Another factor to consider is the amount of sugar in the drink, adds Jaramillo.

“While most protein shakes will contain natural sugars from any dairy or soy products, it is the added sugars one should be mindful of. This can lead to unnecessary caloric intake,” she explains.

Wright adds, “When shopping for a protein shake, one should look for a high-quality, complete protein source (one that contains all nine essential amino acids) and has a clean ingredient list.”

Acacia Wright, RD

When shopping for a protein shake, one should look for a high-quality, complete protein source (one that contains all nine essential amino acids) and has a clean ingredient list.

— Acacia Wright, RD

She likes Orgain’s protein shakes because they’re free of corn syrup, carrageenan, artificial preservatives, and other potentially dubious ingredients. 

Take a look at the nutrition labels of protein shakes you see at the supermarket or health food store to see which ones meet your preferences.

How to Make Proffee

Dozens of TikTok videos show different ways to make proffee. Ordering a few shots of espresso from your favorite coffee shop in an extra-large cup with ice, then pouring in a protein shake, is a simple, easy way to try this trend. You can add the protein shake to home-brewed coffee as well.

But you can take proffee to the next level by frothing your protein shake for a latte-like drink, experimenting with different protein shake varieties, adding your favorite spices, or topping it with a squirt of whipped cream if you’re craving something more decadent. Play around with different recipes and ingredients until you find your favorite combination.

What This Means For You

Protein-powered coffee, or “proffee,” has blown up on TikTok. The trend can help you get a boost of protein in the morning to support your fitness goals and help you feel satiated until lunchtime. It’s also a convenient option for people who don’t have time to cook a full meal first thing in the day. Simply add a protein shake to a couple shots of iced espresso or homemade coffee to reap the benefits.

Protein is a critical macronutrient for the body, but just how much you need depends on a variety of factors, such as your age, gender, and activity level. Check out the USDA’s macronutrient calculator to figure out your daily recommended intake of protein.

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Article Sources
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  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Protein in diet. Updated February 8, 2021.

  2. National Academy of Sciences. Dietary reference intakes (DRIs): recommended dietary allowances and adequate intakes, total water and macronutrients. Updated 2011.

  3. Kerksick CM, Arent S, Schoenfeld BJ, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: nutrient timing. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017;14:33. doi:10.1186/s12970-017-0189-4

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