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What Is Maca Coffee? Types, Benefits, & Brewing

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Maca “coffee” is a powder derived from the maca root. The root itself is caffeine-free. You could add this powder to coffee drinks for enhanced taste and health benefits. Keep reading to find those benefits and to learn more about maca powder.

As someone who loves coffee, I want to know how to enhance its taste. Maca powder is a great way to do so. Because of this realization, I created a guide revolving around this Peru-based powder.

Here’s what I’ll cover:

Let’s brew.

Key Takeaways

  • Maca coffee isn’t coffee; it’s a coffee enhancer
  • Maca powder is caffeine-free
  • 3 types of maca powder exist with different tastes; black, yellow, & red
  • This powder has supposed health benefits like reducing anxiety

What is Maca Coffee?

TasteEarthy, nutty, malty
AromaMild, nutty
Mouth feelSmooth, slightly grainy
Caffeine levelNone
CaloriesMinimal (depends on serving)
Other namesPeruvian ginseng coffee

Summary of the key characteristics and information about maca coffee

Maca coffee is a latte made from dehydrated Lepidium meyenii (maca) root. A tuber-like plant from the Brassicaceae (mustard) family that grows in the mountains of South America.

Despite its name, maca coffee does not contain coffee. It’s “coffee” since it has a taste and manner of preparation like coffee.

It makes a great coffee substitute for individuals seeking to avoid caffeinated beverages. Or those interested in nutritional and herbal medicines. You could also add maca powder to coffee as an alternative to cream and other sweeteners.

The malt(y) taste will make your coffee less bitter, yet give an extra kick to your coffee.

Types of Maca Powder

Maca powder is a dehydrated maca root ground into powder form. Many supplement companies will shove maca powder into capsules and sell them like that. Or you could buy only the powder from retailers and mix it with your drinks.

You’ll find 3 different types of powders:

  • Black: Less-common maca type with a caramel/malt taste.
  • Red: Most potent maca type with a sweet taste.
  • Yellow: Mildest maca type with a tangy taste.

Many of the differences among these powder types lie in the health benefits. I’m not going to talk about those until later.

For now, let’s see how they’re different.

1. Black Maca Powder

Black maca powder comes from the black maca root. Many say it tastes earthy and nutty, or has a caramel-malt taste.


Most of the differences with this root compared to its counterparts stem from its supposed health benefits. For instance, it has 10–25% higher antioxidant levels compared to the yellow and red powders [1].

2. Red Maca Powder

Red maca powder is the dehydrated form of red maca root. A plant that looks a bit like a beet. It makes up for 25% of harvests and has a mildly sweet taste. Others say it has an earthy and nutty flavor (kind of like beets).

It also has more compounds than its counterparts that support the body in antioxidant and antitumoral activity. For instance, it contains higher levels of other phytonutrients, including alkaloids, tannins, saponins, and steroids.

A phytonutrient is part of a plant that supposedly has health benefits and can help with some diseases.

3. Yellow Maca Powder

Yellow maca is milder than the other colors (regarding taste) and comes from the yellow maca root. It has a tangy and earthy flavor that’s supposedly the sweetest among maca types.

What about health benefits.

It has around 20 amino acids [2]. Molecules that help your body break down food, repair body tissue, and build muscle. It’s an excellent way for vegans and vegetarians to add amino acids to their diets.

Where Does Maca Come From?

Farmers grow the Maca (Lepidium meyenii) plant in the Peruvian Central Andes between 4,000 and 4,500 meters in altitude. Meaning it grows in a habitat where it must withstand intense sunlight, strong winds, and frigid temperatures.

Potential Health Benefits of Maca Coffee

Various potential health benefits different types of maca powder provide include [3, 4]:

Raises libidoReduce anxietyImproves concentration
Lowers blood pressureHas vitamins & minerals like Magnesium, Potassium, & moreBalance hormones
Has polyphenol antioxidantsEnergy boost without jitters

Health benefits of maca coffee.

Combining maca powder with coffee could lead to the following health benefits:

  • Energy boost: Helps raise energy levels without causing jitters.
  • Hormone balance: Helps balance hormones, which could lead to improved mood & reduced stress.
  • Antioxidants: Has polyphenols, glucosinolates, & other antioxidants that help support general health & reduce inflammation.
  • Cognitive function: May enhance focus, memory, & mental clarity.
  • Male health: Can help reduce erectile dysfunction.

Individual results may vary. Adding maca into a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will maximize its potential benefits.

How to Brew Maca Coffee


  • 1 teaspoon (3.15 g) maca powder
    • Opt for gelatinized maca powder
      • The gelatinization process removes starches. Making it easier to digest and more bioavailable, while preserving its beneficial nutrients.
  • Natural sweetener (optional)
  • Coffee (optional)
  • Cup fill of filtered hot water

Time to make: 5 min


  • Allow your hot water (or coffee) to cool a bit
    • Adding maca powder to hot water may destroy components in maca
  • Add a teaspoon of maca powder to your beverage
  • Add other flavorings
  • Mix your flavorings, beverage, & maca powder

You have a million options of sweeteners or flavorings to add.

A solo espresso shot’s a great start to get a caffeine boost. 1 and a half teaspoons (4.73 g) of turmeric and a pinch of black pepper will create a Golden Maca Latte.

A pinch of cardamom may help with digestion and add a herbal flavor. And cacao powder will sweeten your drink a bit.

Don’t want to sweeten your drink with cacao? Add a drop or 2 of vanilla extract.


Keep reading to find frequently asked questions about maca coffee.

How Does the Taste of Maca Coffee Differ from Black Coffee?

Maca coffee offers a distinct earthy, nutty flavor with a hint of malt. Setting it apart from the traditional bitterness and acidity found in regular black coffee or other coffee drinks. 

Can I Use Any Type of Coffee Beans or Roast Level to Make Maca Coffee?

Yes, you can use any type of coffee beans or roast level to make maca coffee. The maca powder will complement the coffee’s flavor profile regardless of its origin or roast.

What Are the Potential Side Effects with Consuming Maca Coffee?

Potential side effects may include digestive issues, or hormonal imbalances. Pregnant or breastfeeding women and those with thyroid issues should consult their doctor before drinking maca. 

How Do I Store Maca Powder?

Store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry, and dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat.

Where Can I Buy Maca Coffee or Maca Powder?

Buy maca coffee or maca powder at health food stores, specialty coffee shops, or online retailers.

How Much Maca Powder Should I Add to My Coffee?

Add 1 to 2 teaspoons (28 grams) to your coffee. Start with a smaller amount (less than a tablespoon) and adjust according to taste and tolerance.

Are There Any Pre-Packaged Maca Coffee Blends?

Yes, there are pre-packaged maca coffee blends and products available on the market. An example includes Four Sigmatic Adaptogen Coffee with Maca. It’s available on their website, Amazon, and Seleno Health Maca Coffee.

What is Maca Powder Good for?

Some studies suggest that maca powder is good for reducing anxiety, improving concentration, and providing amino acids to help repair body tissue.

What is Maca Coffee Made of?

Maca coffee is made up of dehydrated maca root.

What is Maca Coffee in India?

Maca coffee in India is the same as regular maca coffee. It’s a drink made by mixing dehydrated maca root with hot water.

Wrapping Up

Maca coffee isn’t coffee, but it’s a caffeine-free alternative that’s prepared in a similar fashion. And it’s a great way to add additional (sugar-free) flavoring to your coffee drink.

Need ideas for additional coffee drinks? We wrote a massive guide comparing many of the popular drinks out there. Read it to find ideas.

Photo of author


Tim Lee is, as you might have guessed the founder of He is a former barista and a professional web publisher. He has now combined his knowledge and expertise in both subjects to create
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