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Decaf Coffee Banana Smoothie

I’m not sure when it happened, but one day it seemed like every good smoothie place had a coffee smoothie on the menu. It’s usually made with some combination of cold brew or espresso, banana, nuts or nut butter, and a sweetener. It always has a name like “Awaken” or “Morning Buzz”.

In general, I love this drink. As long as it’s made well, it tastes great and it’s an excellent breakfast smoothie. There’s just one catch: it always has caffeine! I’m sure there’s a smoothie shop out there with a decaf option, but I’ve yet to find it. 

Fortunately, us decaf drinkers are a resilient bunch. When we can’t find a great decaf option in the wild, we can always make one ourselves. With that in mind, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work developing a delicious decaf coffee smoothie.

Smoothie Engineering 

Making a great smoothie is all about limiting the amount of liquid that goes into the beverage. The more liquid you add, the thinner your smoothie becomes. Every smoothie needs some liquid, but it’s crucial to use the right amount. The last thing you want to add is too much ice. The more ice you add, the more you water down your smoothie.

An easy way to skip this is to use already-frozen ingredients. Some ingredients need to stay fresh, but some are great frozen. For this recipe, I call for frozen bananas. You can get them in the freezer section of some grocery stores, or you can slice up a few bananas and keep them in an airtight container in the freezer. I always keep a few sliced bananas on hand in the freezer for quick smoothies.

The Coffee


Another hurdle to clear is which kind of coffee to use. The main choice here is between a shot of espresso, cold brew, or hot coffee.

We can eliminate hot coffee right away. Using a hot beverage will immediately affect the texture of your smoothie, as it will melt your frozen ingredients and thin out your drink. The only way to compensate for this is to add more ice to the blender, and we already know that’s no-no. 

The choice between cold brew and espresso is more a matter of personal taste. A shot of fresh espresso, while hot, is much smaller than the amount of hot coffee you’d need otherwise. This means that it will cool down faster as well. The frothy texture of espresso can also play well in the smoothie.

I ultimately settled on cold brew for this recipe. Not everybody has an espresso machine at home, but anybody with a large container can make cold brew. Cold brew also has plenty of its own advantages. It’s chilled, and its smooth, round flavor pairs well with bananas. I add equal parts cold brew and soy milk for creaminess. I like soy milk’s unobtrusive flavor here, which lets the coffee shine, but you can use any milk of your choosing.

Ingredients to Success 

Bananas are crucial to a great coffee smoothie. It adds a creamy backbone to the drink, and helps tie all the flavors together. Peanut butter adds some protein to the shake, plus a great depth of flavor and a savory kick.

Next up, we need to sweeten the smoothie. For this, I rely on a combination of dates and honey. Dates are crucial to the smoothies overall flavor, adding not just sweetness but crucial thickening power and richness. Honey helps balance the peanut butter, and acts as another healthy sweetener.

Finally, I use a few finishing touches to take this to the next level. First, cacao nibs add a complex, chocolaty flavor, and they’re packed with antioxidants to boot. Next, I add just a touch of vanilla extract. Finally, a pinch of cinnamon adds spice and brightness to the smoothie. Using each of these gives the smoothie greater depth and complexity.

Blending and Fine Tuning

All that’s left now is to blend this bad boy up and make sure it has the right consistency. Using a high powered blender like a Vitamix will give you the best results, as its strong blades break even the toughest ingredients into a smooth puree.  

Start your blender on low, and steadily increase the speed until it’s on high. Give it just enough time to fully blend everything together. The friction created by a Vitamix’s blades will eventually cause the blender to heat up if it runs too long. This is fine when you’re blending a soup, but not ideal for a smoothie.

Finally, I like to keep some peanuts on hand in case the smoothie is coming out too thin. Just add a few peanuts to the smoothie, blend on high, and repeat until it has thickened nicely. 

After that comes the hard part: pour your smoothie into a nice big glass, and enjoy!

Decaf Coffee Banana Chocolate Smoothie Recipe

Recipe by JoeyCourse: breakfastCuisine: BeverageDifficulty: Easy


Prep time




Lasts for




  • 1.5 cup frozen bananas

  • 3/4 cup decaf cold brew

  • 3/4 soy milk (or milk of your choosing)

  • 1 tbsp peanut butter 

  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs

  • 3 dates

  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp honey


  • Place all ingredients into a blender, preferably a high powered one like a Vitamix.
  • Blend, starting on low and steadily increasing to high, until completely smooth.
  • Optional: If your smoothie is too thin, add a small handful of peanuts and blend on high.
  • Enjoy!

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