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The dazzling smoothie I present to you today is the lovechild of my finest coffee beverage creations. But I wasn’t always the joe-blending pro that I am today.
The warm, smoky aroma of coffee leisurely dripping into a pot brings me back to childhood mornings at my grandparents’ house.
I was always the late sleeper of my family. Particularly while in New Jersey to visit my dad’s parents, I was often the last to wander into the sunlight after an extended snooze. Hey, I was the baby.
Also, it wasn’t my fault that my sister and I stayed up on our pull-out sofa bed eating leftovers and binging cable TV until 3:00 a.m.. They shouldn’t play back-to-back episodes of Law & Order all night.
Wait, I take that back. It’s so necessary.
As I rose from my sloth-like slumber, the pungent perfume of freshly-brewed dark coffee would creep down the hall through the back bedroom and into my nostrils.
It stirred me. It soothed me. It even occasionally made an appearance in my dreams.
But mostly, it beckoned me to the kitchen where my dad and grandfather quietly read their respective sections of the newspaper and slurped steaming mugs of fragrant French roast.
I wanted to be just like them. And I didn’t even like coffee yet.
My grandfather has been gone for well over a decade now, but when I journey back to Jersey, I still follow the smoky smell of coffee in the morning through that one-story house (wallpapered with family photos) and expect to see him sitting at the table.
All of this to say that growing up, I adored the bold, complex scent of the breakfast beverage.
It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I began to fully appreciate coffee’s powerful punch to the tongue. Once I realized how compatible the bitter profile was with my taste buds, I gazed lovingly into the starry eyes of Starbucks® and never looked back.
Weak stuff wasn’t for me, and I soon found that strong, concentrated coffee cut with ice, milk, and something slightly sweet zipped my palate straight to paradise. I then went through a pretty heavy frappé phrase and began fooling around with the concept at home.
Even in the midst of winter, I would wake up craving a cool caffeine fix, and into the kitchen I would go with my blender to play barista.
I manifested icy mocha mouthfuls where sultry dark hues of chocolate sauce tinted chilled espresso roast. I fashioned fruity potions where a Sumatra brew, bananas, and coconut syrup united to form a cohesive tropical-inspired concoction.
Today’s breakfast smoothie stars the best elements of these experiments that I meticulously taste tested along the way.
Although I religiously keep half-and-half on hand for regular coffee, there’s no match for the nuttiness of non-dairy milk in this rich, silky puree.
My recipe skips the three usual suspects (almond, soy, and oat) and instead calls on creamy coconut milk. Its sweet, floral flavor is brought to the foreground when you taste it alongside airy slivers of toasted coconut.
Using the golden-brown flakes as a garnish gives the drink a little something extra, a profoundly crunchy texture you’re totally going to thank me for. And seemingly out of nowhere, you’ll feel as if you’re suddenly on island time.
Cocoa powder lends intense chocolate notes, while a few spoonfuls of honey balance the bitterness. Sugar or simple syrup will also do the trick, but the choice of sweetener is up to you. Banana’s mild sweetness rounds out all the flavors, and adding frozen fruit means you can use a little less ice to create that frothy consistency.
If you’ve got a busy morning and can’t manage the time to chug down a cup of joe and a nourishing breakfast, this thick, delicious treat delivers fresh fruit and a hit of caffeine all in one slurp.
So whether you’re an early riser or someone who sleeps in after a long night of reruns, this buzzy bev is sure to brighten up the start of your day – whenever that may be.Print
Skip the standard cup of joe and blend this frothy coconut chocolate coffee smoothie instead. It’s the morning buzz you’ve been missing. Get the recipe now.
- 1 cup coffee or cold brew, chilled or cooled to room temperature
- 1–1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk beverage (not canned), divided
- 2 teaspoons honey or your choice of sweetener
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 ripe bananas, frozen
- 1 cup ice cubes
- 2 tablespoons toasted coconut flakes, for garnish
- In a high-powered blender, pulse the coffee, 1 cup of coconut milk, honey, cocoa powder, bananas, and ice cubes until frothy and smooth.
- Check the consistency and make sure the smoothie is pourable. If it’s too thick, add a little more coconut milk a few tablespoons at a time and blend again. You can also thicken the smoothie with more ice cubes.
- Divide among glasses, garnish with the coconut flakes, and serve.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Smoothie
- Method: Blender
- Cuisine: Beverage
Keywords: chocolate, coconut, coffee, smoothie, coconut milk
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Toast the Coconut
You can toast unsweetened shredded or large-flake coconut, or use a store-bought product like Dang Coconut Chips (available on Amazon) for the garnish. If you’re toasting the coconut yourself, follow these instructions:
Place a small dry skillet over low heat and add the coconut flakes. Cook, shaking or stirring often to promote even toasting, until golden-brown. This will take about 3 to 5 minutes.
As soon as the flakes turn golden-brown, remove them from the pan and set them aside on a plate. If they stay in the hot pan, they’ll continue to toast and become bitter.
Step 2 – Prep the Remaining Ingredients
If you’re using regular coffee, make and chill 1 cup. Using hot coffee will melt the ice cubes and water down the overall flavor.
You want to use a stronger, more concentrated coffee for this as opposed to a lighter blend that has a weak flavor. I use French roast or Italian dark roast, with a higher bean to water concentration that I’d normally use. Cold brew concentrate also works well here.
Measure and set out the remaining ingredients. Make sure you are using coconut milk beverage, and not the cans of coconut milk.
Take out the frozen bananas.
Step 3 – Add Ingredients to the Blender
In a high-powered blender, add the coffee, 1 cup of coconut milk, honey, cocoa powder, bananas, and ice cubes. Feel free to use a different type of sweetener if you prefer.
Adding lighter ingredients closest to the blade and heavier, more dense ones (like the frozen bananas and ice) further from the blade helps to puree the smoothie thoroughly.
Coconut milk has very little protein, but you can make this more of a filling breakfast by adding chia seeds or protein powder. If you use chia seeds, just soak them first for about 15 minutes in coconut milk or water (1/4 cup seeds to 1 cup liquid) until they gel and take on a chewy texture.
Step 4 – Blend, Garnish, and Serve
Pulse until frothy and smooth, checking to make sure the smoothie isn’t overly thick. If it isn’t pourable, splash in more coconut milk a few tablespoons at a time, and blend again.. You can also thicken the smoothie with more ice cubes.
Divide among glasses, garnish with the coconut flakes, and serve with a straw and/or a spoon.
Joy For Java
If you’re as nuts about the combination of coffee, bananas, and coconut as I am, this ridiculously easy recipe is going to be a homerun in your home kitchen.
Honey is purely optional here, and it can be substituted with agave or maple syrup. With no sweetener, just keep in mind that your smoothie may be on the bitter side.
I also love to boost the flavor with a dash of spicy cinnamon or nutmeg – and nothing beats a homemade pumpkin spice mix at any time of year!
In a pinch, granola will work like a charm if toasting your own coconut flakes seems like a hassle on busy mornings.
How will you create a little crunch? Share your favorite toppings for texture in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
Still got smoothies on the brain? Give these other blended breakfast recipes a try:
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Jennifer Swartvagher on August 14, 2012. Last updated on March 4, 2022.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”