November 20th, 2018
espresso coffee

8 Simple Ways to Make Coffee More Awesome

Ah coffee. As far as we’re concerned, it is the sweet nectar of the Gods and a productivity powerhouse when used correctly.

The problem is that you are most likely not using it correctly and therefore not getting the full benefits of this delicious and nutritious beverage.

Since we enjoy a good cup of coffee more than just about anything, we’ve spent the past year learning the best ways to make it even more awesome.

In this article we will show you our top 8 tips to make coffee more effective as an energy and metabolism booster. We promise you’ll thank us later!

1. Only Drink Coffee After Eating Food

coffee with food
Photo: Pond5

We get it – you are tired and want an immediate caffeine boost so you start drinking your first cup immediately upon waking.

Though we totally understand and empathize, it isn’t optimal to drink coffee on an empty stomach for several reasons.

If you’ve tried this many of you will note that coffee/caffeine on an empty stomach can make you feel jittery or even anxious (or cause stomach issues). For most people, you’ll have a relatively quick energy spike followed by an equally sharp crash that leaves you reaching for more coffee.

You are better off waiting to get some food in your stomach before you drink your first cup. Ideally, you’ll consume a balanced meal that has protein, carbs, and some fat.

This meal will provide the nutrients that will act as the fuel for long lasting energy ignited by the coffee you consume afterwards.

An analogy we like comes from the smart folks at Functional Performance Systems. They liken coffee/caffeine to stepping on the gas pedal in a car. If you have no fuel in your tank (from a meal) your body won’t respond nearly as well when you step on the pedal (drink coffee).

So rule #1 is to always have a meal or snack prior to drinking your coffee!

2. Drink Coffee in Certain Time Windows for Optimal Energy

coffee certain times
Photo: Pond5

If you are like most coffee drinkers, you are probably drinking coffee at the worst time of the day.

Our bodies are all governed by a 24-hour hormonal cycle frequently referred to as the Circadian Rhythm/Circadian Clock. One hormone that helps us feel awake/alert is cortisol and its production is typically highest from 8-9am.

Since one of the main rules of pharmacology is to use a drug when it is needed, it is potentially problematic to consume caffeine/stimulants during this time frame as your body is already stimulated. Some believe that consuming coffee at times of high natural cortisol production can lead to caffeine tolerance and therefore needing more caffeine to feel the same buzz.

Not to worry – you can fix this issue by timing your coffee/caffeine consumption appropriately. Aim to consume coffee when cortisol levels are naturally lower – typically from 9:30 to 11:30am and 1:30 to 5:00pm.

3. Add Vitamins + Minerals to Your Coffee

Photo: VitaPerk

While coffee is naturally packed with antioxidants, it isn’t stacked with vitamins or minerals. One of our favorite ways to make coffee even more awesome is to add them in with VitaPerk.

VitaPerk packs 15 vitamins and minerals into convenient stick packs with a few different options – Original (unflavored), Vanilla, Hazelnut, and Energy.

It is a super affordable, tasty, and convenient way to make coffee more awesome while making it easy to get additional vitamins and minerals into your diet.

4. Make Your Coffee Less Acidic

Cold Brew Coffee
Photo: Pond5

Some people love coffee but can’t handle the acidity. Our favorite way to fix this problem is to whip up a batch of cold brew coffee.

Not only is cold brew coffee even higher in caffeine, but it is also typically ~65% less acidic than regular brewed coffee. This contributes to a smoother taste and finish making it our preferred coffee choice.

You don’t have to be a barista to pull off a delicious batch of cold brew coffee. Our favorite tools are the Primula Cold Brew Carafe for bigger batches and the Primula Travel Bottle for single batches.

5. Add Protein to Your Coffee

whey protein powder
Photo: Pond5

If coffee is our favorite thing, protein is a close second! Combining the two is a great way to hit your protein numbers for the day, and it can help flavor your coffee.

Our favorite ways to add protein to coffee are the following:

1. Cold Brew + Whey Protein Powder

Whey protein powder is one of the fastest absorbing protein powders available and it tastes delicious.

However, whey protein can degrade at high temperatures so we only recommend adding it to cold brew or ice coffee.

2. Hot Coffee + Collagen

Collagen is an excellent form of protein that most commonly comes from the connective tissue of bovine. It’s a great whey substitute that also has other great benefits such as anti-inflammatory properties and digestive benefits.

Unlike whey protein, collagen does not degrade in high temperatures making it a great product to mix with hot coffee.

Try Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate, it mixes well in both hot and cold liquids.

3. Chike Nutrition’s High Protein Coffee

Try a protein/coffee product like Chike Nutrition’s High Protein Coffee. It’s a delicious, protein packed coffee powder that mixes easily in water.

6. Use Fresh Ground Beans

fresh ground coffee beans
Photo: Pond5

This isn’t groundbreaking info to true java junkies, but buying whole bean coffee and only grinding the beans immediately before making coffee is one of the simplest ways to make better coffee.

Purists argue that buying pre-ground coffee is inferior due to the fact that ground coffee can oxidize and go stale rather quickly—not only making it less tasty, but also removing some of the beneficial antioxidants and oils/flavors that help make coffee so awesome.

A better approach is to buy whole bean coffee and grind your own beans immediately before making a batch.

Additional approaches to ensure optimal freshness and quality include keeping your beans stored at room temperature out of the sunlight and in an airtight container if possible.

7. Add in L-Theanine

green tea l-theanine
Photo: Pond5

We’ve already talked about having a meal or snack before coffee to ensure more prolonged energy, but did you know that you can create an even smoother, longer lasting coffee buzz by adding in the naturally occurring amino acid L-Theanine?

L-Theanine is naturally found in Green Tea and has been shown to reduce stress and promote relaxation without sedation. The combination of L-Theanine + Caffeine has been shown to boost both mood and performance on cognitive tasks and we’ve personally found it to produce a more enjoyable caffeine high compared to just consuming caffeine/coffee on its own.

If you want to try this out, you can either experiment by having green tea (which naturally has L-Theanine) alongside your coffee or you can purchase L-Theanine on its own in capsule form through vendors like

We recommend an equal ratio of caffeine to L-Theanine. A cup of coffee has around 90-110mg of caffeine so try to dosage your L-Theanine accordingly.

8. Add Cinnamon

Cinnamon sticks with coffee crumble and white cup
Photo: Pond5

One our favorite ways to “spice” up our coffee is to add cinnamon. Not only does it taste delicious, but there are a host of health benefits that come with it.

Studies show that ingesting cinnamon has beneficial effects on glucose, insulin levels, insulin sensitivity blood pressure, lean body mass and more.

It has also been shown to help slow the speed at which the stomach empties following a meal, which can help control blood sugar levels and reduce cravings.

This makes cinnamon and coffee the perfect drink after a big lunch or breakfast.

So next time you reach for a hot pot of coffee, try substituting the cream with a teaspoon of cinnamon.

Alex Lewis

Alex is the co-founder & CEO of PrettyFit. He previously built and sold the sports nutrition company He was team captain of the Harvard men's track team in 2007-2008 where he set a school record in the Heptathlon and was 2nd all-time in the Decathlon. He is now focused on helping others discover the best ways to improve their lives through a healthy and fit lifestyle.

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