Nik’s Protein Peppermint Mocha

For those who’ve read this blog for a while, you know I have this secret fantasy to take Starbucks DOWN!!! (Well not down…but at least have a higher protein answer to every nominous offering they have). This is why I took on the art of the Frappucino (using Click as my medium) and it’s what inspired my latest protein drink obsession.

This post, though, I’d like to take a different approach to how I present it to you. I know not everyone cares WHY I make the choices I make in a recipe – some of you just care whether it tastes good. But for protein drinks especially, I think it’s important to know something about balance of flavors and why certain things work and some don’t. I know you guys tinker with recipes…and I WANT you to…that’s the whole point of this blog. Not for you all to make all my recipes to the letter (although if you dig them as-is, go for it!) but that I present an idea and you use what YOU know to make it your own.

So without further adieu…let’s get to the drink…and the rationale behind it.

Nik’s Protein Peppermint Mocha


1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I am partial to this)
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp good decaf coffee or, my preference, decaf instant espresso
2 tsp. of your favorite no-calorie sweetener
About 4 oz. cold milk
About 6 oz. boiling water
2 tbsp (about 3 pumps) of either sugar-free Peppermint syrup or, my preference, sugar-free Peppermint Paddy syrup

(Yes, yes…I know ‘Bux uses some sort of mocha syrup for their drink but seeing as my particular Starbucks won’t sell it to me [they usually don’t at the height of a new drink flavor], I can only do what I do! Plus I like the Peppermint Paddy syrup a lot.)

Ok, so let’s break this down. Yesterday I went over how to make a hot protein drink. I made my drink using this process. You can too. Or you can use whatever method you like best. So let’s talk about the ingredients.

The thing I find so satisfying about the Starbucks Peppermint Mocha (versus the other versions floating around…some of which I did manage a sip or two of) is that they got something that nobody else seems to get…when you pair up the sweetness of peppermint against the bitter flavors of cocoa and coffee, magical things happen!

‘Bux doesn’t try to mask the bitters of the coffee and chocolate, but rather celebrates it. My first few tries of making this drink at home I didn’t use unsweetened cocoa and was conservative with my coffee. Big mistake. It came out too sweet! When I added in the unsweetened cocoa, calmed down with the sweetener and added the proper amount of coffee, the bitter rang through loud and clear – and it was EXACTLY what I was looking for.

Keep in mind, Foodies, that most people’s tongues like contrasting flavors: sweet and salty, sweet and bitter, sweet and spicy. These are all good combos that will excite your tongue! So don’t be afraid to play those off of one another. It might get you some raised eyebrows when you talk about it with others…but who cares? As long as you have your food bliss, who needs to be understood?

Nik's Protein Peppermint Mocha
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Nik's Protein Peppermint Mocha
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  1. Nik — to clarify.. Starbucks uses a sugar free peppermint syrup and then sugar free mocha sauce.. I managed to get one Starbucks to sell me a bottle of the peppermint syrup, but I'm not sure if it tastes any different than the peppermint paddy syrup you're using. I use the SB syrup with mocha click and like it very much. I prefer just to get my syrups from SB so I don't have to deal with having them shipped and potentially freeze in the winter. Plus so far I really like the flavor of the cinnamon dolce and the peppermint.. doesn't taste too artificial to me at all.

  2. Hmmm…I must have mistook what the Bux guy said (wouldn't be the first time). I like 'Bux syrups too and no shipping charge! I like their hazelnut better than anyone else's. I use the espresso cuz it's decaf. I drink enough coffee in my day that I need to keep caffeine outta my shakes and protein drinks!

  3. It took me 3 tries to get a bottle of the syrup. The first time I was in Green Bay, was told no in both stores I went to because they said they didn't think they had enough to get through until their next order came in. One guy was giving me BS saying they don't sell that one cuz its "their drink". I went into that very same store a couple of weeks later and was able to buy a bottle no problem from a different employee.

  4. The sugar free mocha at Starbucks is a 'sauce' mixed in house, thus it will not be available to purchase. You should be able to purchase the sugar free peppermint syrup no problem. The one you are using is probably better, however! I find the 'bux SF peppermint to be extremely sweet and artificial tasting. I LOVE the SF mocha sauce, though!

  5. I am a newbie and (even before surgery) I couldn't stand protein drinks, but I tried this one and its freaking phenomenal!! Thanks for being awesome!

  6. It may be easier to buy the sugar free mocha syrup now that it is a year later: I found it on starbucks's food service website at

    Thanks for the protein shake recipe!

  7. Several of the Sams in the Dallas/Plano Tx carry the same SFsyrups that our Starbucks have Sitting on their shelf.v

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