I will share the best healthy smart coffee recipe to start your day!
Do you like to start your day with a healthy smoothie? Do you also like to start your day with happy coffee? I am guessing most people answer the second question with a resounding, “Yes” and a fair proportion also answers “Yes” to the first question, especially the more health-conscious folks. But what if you could combine both and get the best of both worlds?
How I found this smart coffee recipe – Union Cafe in Antigua
When visiting Antigua in Guatemala, surely the most beautifully-preserved, Spanish, colonial city in all the Americas, I happened to stop at the Union Café, one of the best restaurants in Antigua. I was looking for a good coffee but I noticed a smoothie on the menu which caught my eye.
The smoothie ingredients were:
- an espresso shot,
- coffee beans,
- coconut oil,
- and milk
This sounded a lot more interesting than the usual fruit smoothie!
I was hooked, and on first taste, I was tickled pink with how good it was. Filling, satisfying, delicious, healthy with just a little bit of naughtiness! It is possibly one of the tastiest healthy smoothies to start your day. As it is, smart coffee reviews are all very positive.
It might sound like an unusual mix of ingredients but then I was in Guatemala, home to arguably the best coffee beans in the world and masters on all things cacao, the raw ingredient for making chocolate.
I also find it interesting the Union Cafe’s Smart Smoothie meets all the requirements for a paleo diet and definitely appears to be the smoothie version of Bulletproof coffee, making it the best smoothie to start your day. So interesting to see modern diet trends, including coconut oil, have made it to the ancient colonial city of Antigua! (By the way, their whole menu of smoothies and juices are all healthy!)
Antigua, Home to Great Coffee Beans and Cacao
Antigua in Guatemala is simply a stunning place to visit. High in the mountains, it is cooler than other parts of Guatemala and is reputed to be the most attractive Spanish colonial town in all The Americas. With due respect to Lake Atitlan and Tikal, it is my favorite place to visit in Guatemala. It is also a safe place to visit.
Antigua is surrounded by 3 volcanoes, 2 of which are active. You can read more about volcanoes in Guatemala including our hike up one of them, Pacaya. The area around Antigua is heavily-forested with steep hills and this is where a lot of Guatemalan coffee hails from. The cooler, tropical climate works in its favor for growing coffee.
I acknowledge I am a coffee snob, but I have enjoyed Guatemalan coffee for some years in a number of great Melbourne cafes, surely the world’s best place to enjoy real coffee!
Now in Antigua, I took the opportunity to visit a coffee plantation, Finca Filadelfia, and learn how great coffee beans are grown, harvested and (minimally) processed. The biggest surprise is how much effort and labor goes into producing enough coffee beans for a great cup of coffee.
Another one of my vices is chocolate. As I have aged, I have realized that less is more and I tend to buy better quality chocolate but less often compared to when I was younger. I grew up on cocoa.
But as I have now learned, cocoa is often highly processed (read sugar). So you need to be picky and source unsweetened cocoa or cacao, the raw bean from which cocoa is derived from.
So, having confessed my love of chocolate, it was a must visit to tour the ChocoMuseo, also in Antigua. It is free to enter and the staff is generous at handing out free samples. Just like the coffee beans, the chocolate and other cacao-based products are extremely high quality and reasonably priced.
So, in honor of the coffee beans, cacao beans and the Union Café in Antigua, I knew I had to recreate the recipe so you would know one of the best healthy smoothies to start your day!
How To Make A Healthy Smart Smoothie
Now let us answer the question, what is smart coffee?
Most know how to make smoothies from the typical fruit smoothie recipes. This is not one of those recipes, the only thing this smart coffee recipe has in common with a frozen fruit smoothie is the fruit, as there is no ice in this smoothie.
Instead of ice, cut up some raw banana and freeze it. If you have ripe bananas needing to be eaten, freeze them!
That way you can make an easy fruit smoothie that is not diluted with the melting ice, so it is naturally thick and you still manage to enjoy a full frozen fruit smoothie.
If you can, try and source real cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder for this smart coffee recipe.
As for the coffee, you want a shot of espresso. Most people don’t own an espresso machine, use it if you do. Otherwise, use a tablespoon of (Guatemalan) ground coffee and 1 fl oz of hot water.
Don’t worry if that sounds too strong, the rest of the ingredients tone down the coffee. I will often use a coffee maker or French press, to make strong coffee. I also add some whole coffee beans into the blender, for some great texture.
- 2 medium bananas already sliced and frozen
- 1 shot strong coffee espresso style, Guatemalan is great
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- 6 coffee beans, whole
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 4 walnuts
- 1 cup yogurt unflavored
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon, ground or cacao powder
- Don't forget to have your frozen, sliced banana ready to go and to prepare your espresso shot (1 tablespoon of ground coffee to 1 fl oz (25ml) hot water).
- Place all ingredients, except the cinnamon, in your blender and process until smooth.
- Pour into a chilled glass and sprinkle the cinnamon on top.
- Sip and enjoy.
It’s as easy as that! Perfect for those rushed early mornings when you need a healthy, nutritious kickstart to your day.
I use yogurt when I make this basic smoothie recipe so that it is a healthy frozen fruit and yogurt smoothie. If you want to know how to make a smoothie with milk instead, feel free to substitute the yogurt with milk. O or use almond milk, for a nuttier and dairy- free option. And for a Central American taste, add a sprinkle of cinnamon on top of the finished smoothie.
I hope you start your day with this healthy coffee smoothie recipe. It has a real touch of class about it and will leave you satisfied. It is by far one of my favorite frozen fruit smoothie recipes to start the day!
NOTE: We have no commercial relationship with Finca Filadelfia, the ChocoMuseo nor Union Cafe. We just enjoyed their products.
We love our coffee that comes from Central America. This is my kind of smoothie to begin my day. It has all the right ingredients including that shot of coffee. Loved the read up on coffee and cocoa 🙂
Thank you so much Sandhya. We think coffee from Guatemala is the best you buy (with Papua New Guinea a close second). Guatemala is terribly underrated on food, drinks and tourism but it is a place we really enjoy. Yes and the smoothie is rather good.
I so agree with you and we definitely need to start our day with a healthy smoothie – I feel it’s the easiest way to add nutrients+minerals to our body otherwise I would take so many days to eat all that much healthy stuff 🙂 Loved reading about the Cocoa n Coffee beans from Antigua. We have only seen the place on television and it looks so beautiful.
Thanks for your comment Molly. I was surprised how well this turned out to be honest. It certainly full of healthy ingredients. As for Antigua, we love the place. Such a safe place to walk around as well, full of old, Spanish, colonial charm.
Julie | Bunsen Burner Bakery
Great combination of two very popular breakfast drinks! Morning coffee suddenly became a lot more filling.
Yes with 2 bananas there is a lot of substance to this smoothie. And with coffee – everything you need in the morning.
Natalie | Natalie's Food & Health
I don’t usually drink coffee BUT in this smoothie I just may start 🙂 I bet smoothie taste just amazing with all the flavors going on there! Delicious!
I was pleasantly surprised how thick and rich tasting this smoothie was. And it is quite filling.
Wow that is lovely combination of flavors! Coffee must give it a great zinggg!!
You bet. A smoothie with some attitude.
Adriana Lopez Martn
What a beautiful smoothie and learning from where the ingredients come from. Freezing banana is something I do specially when those are becoming too ripe and then nobody wants them.
Adriana, I am laughing. The freezing of the banana was a side discovery. Almost an accidental discovery. But it means not having to use ice, so no dilution. A good trick to remember.
Sara @ Modern Little Victories
It’s times like this that I’m so sad I can’t drink caffeine. Might just have to try this with decaf because the flavors all sound so good together!
Decaf will work for the coffee taste. All the other ingredients make this a smoothie with some good flavor.
Now that’s a smoothie I can get into! Often they’re main ingredient is fruit …and while I know that’s healthy, I need a caffeine kick in the am! It’s probably a mind set, but I feel like I’m not getting started if I just have juice. I’ll be trying this smoothie for certain!
Good on you Noel, I’m with you on the caffeine. (It’s like, “Where’s the Beef”!) That’s why I like this smoothie so much. Some goodness, but cacao and coffee for some richness and taste. Don’t forget a few coffee beans as well. Cheers.
Sarah @ Champagne Tastes
oh man- I really need to start freezing banana slices! This is the second recipe this week I’ve seen using them. This looks delicious!
Sarah, I couldn’t believe how much thicker and creamier this coffee smoothie was as result of omitting the ice and using the frozen banana slice for the chill. Important to pre-chill your glass also.
Ooh yum, now this definitely sounds like my kind of smoothie!! What a way to start the day! Yum
Yes a smoothie with a bit of attitude but still thick and creamy.
I would love to tour a coffee plantation. I’m so in love with coffee and appreciate the love and care that goes into growing the beans. I also appreciate the farmers who work so hard for so little to give us something that most of us can’t live without on a day to day basis. This is a fantastic post and smoothie recipe I must try!
We did in fact tour Finca Filidelfia in Antigua, Guatemala. We are passionate about coffee (my wife says we are coffee snobs) and so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit a coffee plantation in Guatemala. It is incredibly, labor intensive and quite manual. It does make you appreciate coffee products and why good coffee costs a little more.
I love the combination and flavors. I know I will love it cause it looks so RICH. I like your article and your take on Coffee with benefits.
Thank you Veena. I think the secret to this smoothie is the freezing of the banana slices, meaning you don’t need ice. The result is a thicker smoothie with no dilution of flavor.
I have never tried coffee in my smoothie before! My daughter drinks both coffee and a smoothie every morning so I am sure this would be right up her alley.
Your daughter might like this Pam. It is the perfect combination with the coffee as well as the health benefits from all the other ingredients.
I can tell by the ingredients that this would tasty amazing! What a great way to get your coffee in and so much better for you than the coffee shops. I always have yogurt around so I’m going to try this!
It truly is a creamy, rich tasting smoothie but good for you. I do like the crunch of the coffee beans as well. And the cacao – it is the perfect finish for the smoothie.
Amy Katz from Veggies Save The Day
I’m not a coffee drinker, but I love smoothies with cacao. I’ll have to give your recipe a try!
You can certainly leave out the coffee and the smoothie will still be delicious with all of those other ingredients.
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way
All I can say is “YES”!! I’m not a fan of smoothies. I like to chew what I eat or drink what I want to drink. But I would certainly make an exception for this. Wow! It would certainly get me going in the morning.
Thank you Marisa. I was pleasantly surprised how well this turned out but the idea came from having a similar smoothie at the Union Cafe in Antigua, Guatemala. Now I am hooked.
Everything about this smoothie sounds wonderful. My favourite part is the addition of the coffee, of course. 🙂 But, I love the addition of the cinnamon too. Bananas and cinnamon go together so well!
The coffee is the kicker isn’t it? But the richness of the drink comes from all those other ingredients. Always fun to experiment a little to find the perfect combination of flavors.
As someone who can’t function in the morning without coffee, this looks like a great, refreshing way to drink it!
I love the richness of the smoothie. And yes, the coffee is a bonus.
valmg @ From Val's Kitchen
I do enjoy a good smoothie and some chocolate ones tend to be my favorites. This looks like it has nice texture.
It is surprisingly thick. Freezing the banana slices precludes the need for ice. So yes, nice and thick.
Shannon @ Pass Me Some Tasty
This smoothie looks awesome! Gonna have to try it but maybe with decaf. Regular coffee gives me the jitters!
It will taste just as good with decaf. Thanks for your comment.
YES! This sounds awesome! And thank you for putting coffee in it … I seriously can’t wait to try this next week before work!
Sara, the perfect start to a busy work day that is for sure. I am a coffee-holic so I had to share.
I made this for breakfast… It was delicious. I was surprised at how the coffee covered the coconut oil taste for me…. (I know, everyone in the world loves it but me). This is going to be in my routine!
I love the rich taste of the smoothie. I am still trying to figure out if that is because of the coconut oil, the cacao, the yogurt or the banana. Who knows? I am glad you enjoyed it.
what a great start to the day. I may make one tomorrow.
It is the perfect start to a day in my humble opinion. I hope you enjoy it.
Ha! I love that phrase, coffee with benefits! Recipe for this smoothie and your article is great.
Thank you so much. I really enjoyed writing the article as much as the smoothie.
Nothing beats starting the day with a healthy refreshing smoothie. I would love to have this for breakfast but probably omit the coffee as I’m not a coffee person!
Diana, there are still plenty of other goodies in there to enjoy. You will still achieve a nice rich taste without the coffee. Enjoy.
This looks so refreshing! I definitely agree that this is the best way to start your morning!
Refreshing indeed but with the slight kick of the caffeine.
Wow, I think I might like this combination of flavors! I think that it may even convert me into a morning smoothie person!
I know. Coffee, cacau – some naughtiness; combined with healthy smoothie ingredients. It’s like drinking coffee with benefits.
Hanady | Recipe Nomad
Antigua! How cool! This coffee drink looks absolutely delicious!!
Yes Antigua, Guatemala. I would say the best-preserved Spanish town in all of Central/South America. And fabulous coffee, which the world is starting to take notice of.