After WarmUp showed some love on my Instagram page, my curiosity grew. Having already dabbled in protein coffee powders, I was curious how WarmUp would compare. I’ve run the entire bag WarmUp sent me through the ringer, testing all imaginable trials from the plain Jane black coffee to a frozen frap-style concoction that would put that popular corner coffee shop to absolute shame. Before I get to my experience, let’s get nerdy to talk facts and stats.
What is it?
WarmUp Protein Coffee is a dietary supplement marketed to active individuals. As far as protein powders go, this one is bare bones. The blend boasts only three ingredients: all-natural coffee, whey protein hydrolysate, and soy lecithin (assumed to support shelf life and mixing). A 1lb. 18 serving bag will set you back $27.99, making each serving $1.56 a scoop.
Macronutrient Breakdown & Notable Distinctions
- 15g protein, whey hydrolysate
- 0g carbohydrate
- 0g fat
- 2 shots of all-natural espresso (223mg caffeine)
- NO added sugar, artificial flavors, sweeteners, gluten, lactose or fillers
Multiple Trial Results
I’m an extremist when it comes to coffee—it’s got to be either taste bud-scorching hot (thanks for passing that on, Dad) or shiver me mittens cold. I took a research methods class this spring so my inner scientist demanded rigorous testing. Note that I generally use protein and caffeine in my recovery rather than a pre-workout, so all trials refer to my post-workout experience as an early morning exerciser.
With my very first scoop, I decided to mimic a normal protein shake to assess the flavor and mixability. It mixed wonderfully with water, leaving no clumps and very little residue. And against all odds, it actually blends nicer by stirring than shaking as my shaker cup often yielded an excess of foam that I was too impatient to wait subside. Since this is coffee and not marketed to mimic a dessert, I didn’t mind that it mixed thinner than most powders. I’ve become accustomed to other sweetened powders, so the first sip of the sugar-free WarmUp took me off guard; it truly is sugar/sweetener-free and tastes like black coffee. Read: if you are not a fan of plain black coffee, a scoop plus water alone is not for you.
Subsequent trials allowed me to experiment with flavor and mixers. My favorite blend featured just a pinch of stevia and a 1:1 ratio of water to almond milk. The coffee flavor holds strong even when mixing in syrups and ice. The iced option remains my preferred method of consumption.
As much as I claim smoothie savant status, I could never quite hit the sweet spot in my blended trials due to excessive foaming. I tried regular milk, almond milk, and water, but this powder just doesn’t play nice with a blender. Plus, being a bare-bones hydrolysate, the powder faces an uphill battle in the thickening department. If you give it a whirl, maybe a splash of xanthan gum would help. I feel like the blender may have potential, though I was not able to unlock it in my handful of attempts.
Take note of the instruction on the bag to not let the water you immerse your powder in exceed 160°F. I’m a true tightwad, so I didn’t tempt fate here so as to not lose a precious serving. Still, this is worth noting if you’re in a hurry and don’t think to whip out your kitchen thermometer before mixing. My first trial was underwhelming at 131°F, yet still palatable. Trails 2 & 3 proved much more successful and hit the taste-bud scorching mark at 155°F. While I can drink WarmUp ala nothing, (and surprisingly prefer hot black over a chilled black), I take my hot coffee with just a hint of sugar-free syrup and a splash of almond milk.
Why do I like it?
- Taste—it’s completely customizable. I don’t think I’ll ever struggle to get through a bag because I’m bored with the flavor.
- Versatility—whatever your feeding plan, this can fit. Keto? Add some coconut oil. Bulking? Mix this into your morning oatmeal. Lactose-intolerant? The hydrolysis processing of the whey eliminates lactose irritants.
- Ingredient short list—if you’ve been in the protein powder market a while, you know this is rare. This supports the adage that less is more.
- Performance-focused—this is huge since most popular protein powders on the market miss the mark here. Sure, I want a product to taste good and improve my physique, but as a performance athlete, I primarily take supplements to support my tissue growth and repair so I can keep kicking ass.
- Shaking to mix results in foam. The bag clearly states “stir” instead of “shake” so this *might* be my fault failing to read thoroughly before shaking like a friend.
- Caffeine content is not explicitly stated on the bag; I had to navigate to the website to find the information.
- It’s $1.56/serving, which is roughly 3x the average K-cup, or comparable to a single Starbucks 8oz shorty. Comparing to protein powders? This is 1.5-2x the price of the popular stuff in the bodybuilding market, but that segues nicely into my next point…
The Bottom Line
Here’s the deal and why I’ll come to the defense if the price is a concern—we are obstacle racers and an odd market. While good nutrition is transferable, I can’t help but feel like less is more in regard to my supplementation, something that’s taken me a few years to really start to grasp. If you’re looking for a protein-packed coffee replacement, this is about as high-quality and clean as it gets. It blends well, has great versatility, and actually tastes like coffee. Packing a substantial amount of caffeine with minimal ingredients, it could very well replace your current “best part of waking up.” I’m a fan.
Go check them out at their site or on your favorite social media platform.
Disclaimer: This review is not incentivized. I contacted the brand directly to initiate this review.