Recipes: Caloric Coffee Drinks

I love my coffee in the morning, but I don’t like heating water in the morning when I’m on the trail (unless it’s very cold out).  I also don’t always like eating very first thing, but I know I need some calories, which coffee alone doesn’t offer. Over the years I’ve come up with a few different breakfast drinks I like to mix up and drink cold in the morning.  They give me caffeine and at least 300 calories to get me out of camp and on the trail.


Some versions are easy to mix along the way because the ingredients are widely available in trail towns.  Other versions use more special ingredients which I make at home to put in my resupply boxes.  Also- I love chocolate and if you don’t, these are probably not the drinks for you.




On-Trail Version One (about 420 calories)

2 packets Carnation Breakfast Essentials Milk Chocolate (260 calories)

Instant Coffee (This brand is my favorite and available most places)

NIDO whole milk powder (4 scoops = 160 calories)



On-Trail Version Two (Yoda inspired- about 520 calories)

2 packets Carnation Breakfast Essentials Vanilla (260 calories)

Hot chocolate packet (80-120 calories depending on brand)

Nido whole milk powder (160 calories)

Instant coffee


Nido is a great way to beef up your calories in drinks, oatmeal, mac and cheese, and other on-trail meals.  Nonfat milk powder is actually pretty low in calories for the weight, so look for Nido whole milk powder instead.  It can be found at most grocery stores and Wal-Marts, either near baby formula or in the hispanic section.


However, dairy powder has its side effects for some of us. Piñata is more sensitive to dairy than I am, but even I am not immune to the gas that comes with Nido.  So, I do opt for dairy-free milk products when I can.  Almond Milk powder is available online, and while it doesn’t quite pack in as many calories, is more expensive and impossible to find on the trail, I still use it for my resupply boxes.  With no adverse side effects.  (Read the ingredients before ordering though, because there are allergens such as corn and pea protein in this product). The Ovaltine Rich Chocolate flavor is also much lower in milk powder than some of the other brands and flavors.  It does contain whey however, so it’s not vegan.  I’m sure a vegan chocolate powder would work fine.


Make-Ahead Version One (about 320 calories)

Almond Milk Powder (4 scoops = 140 calories)

Ovaltine Rich Chocolate (6 scoops = 180 calories)

Instant Coffee


For alternative milks, nothing is more calorie dense than coconut milk powder.  Also, it can sometimes be found on trail.  However, coconut milk powder does not rehydrate well in cold water – it is always lumpy, even if soaked overnight.  Therefore, we only use this one if we plan on heating water in the morning.


Make-Ahead Version Two (about 380 calories)

Coconut Milk Powder (4 scoops = 200 calories)

Ovaltine Rich Chocolate (6 scoops = 180 calories)

Instant Coffee