We’ve all had it happen to us. You’re really looking forward to a well earned soya/ almond milk latte, you sit down and before your eyes the chunky weird looking milk sinks to the bottom and the coffee floats to the top. The plant milk has curdled and separated from the coffee and it is NOT NICE. It’s not bad for you it just tastes like two different drinks in one thick, chunky sip. Here’s why this happens and How to Stop your Plant Milk Coffee Curdling.
Why your Plant Milk Coffee Curdles?
Fresh brewed coffee is one of my mid-morning treats and a curdled coffee is irritating. It happens to all types of coffee drinks from latte to cortado and americano. Grrr.
Curdling is the ‘breaking of an emulsion or colloid (plant milk is a colloid) into large parts of different composition through the physico-chemical processes of flocculation, creaming, and coalescence’. Curdling is intentional and desirable in making tofu; unintentional and undesirable in coffee. temperature
Black coffee is more acidic (pH 5 or less) than plant milk (the ‘curdle point’ of soya milk is around pH 5.5). The acidic coffee can act as a coagulant, making the curdle-gunk that sinks to the bottom of your cup. Heat accelerates the process.
So, there are TWO factors behind the curdling of soya milk:
How to Stop your Plant Milk Coffee Curdling
There are several options to try here. You might not need to try any of them (YEY) and just one of them might work for you or you might need to try two or more tips together.
What works will depend upon the acidity of your coffee and your soya milk, the temperature of your coffee and your soya milk and a little bit of technique.
Use a Less Acidic Coffee
Some African coffees can be acidic, so if you re not having much luck with an African coffee you could try a South American coffee.
Dilute your Coffee
If your coffee is super-strong (espresso strong) then you can dilute the coffee. This will reduce the acidity of the coffee (and temperature).
Allow Your Coffee to Cool
Let your coffee cool before adding plant milk. The acidity of coffee and any effect is has on plant milk will be enhanced by higher temperature coffee.
Heat Your Plant Milk (A Little)
Gently warm your plant milk to 40-50 C (less than 60 C). Before making your cup of coffee.
Add the Coffee to the Plant Milk
The coffee has a higher pH than plant milk so if you add the plant milk to the coffee it may curdle on contact. If you slowly add the coffee to (warm) plant milk the pH will slowly increase and be less likely to curdle.
If all that Fails…
If coffee just isn’t working for you try one of my other favourite drinks: Turmeric Tea Latte. Relaxing, warming and delicious.
Plant Milk is one of my Store Cupboard Essentials
There are a number of gluten-free, vegan items I regularly buy; weekly, monthly or quarterly! Regularly! They form the foundations of my cooking and baking. Plant milk is one of them. I regularly buy soya, almond and hazelnut milk (all unsweetened!). Find out what else forms the core of my cooking and baking in my Store Cupboard Essentials Cheat Sheet. Download it for FREE by clicking the button below.
What are your Tips and Tricks to Stop your Plant Milk Coffee Curdling?
There are bound to be more Tips and Tricks To Stop Your Plant Milk Coffee Curdling out there – this is just a tiny selection of ideas. There are lots more…
What are your Tips and Tricks to Stop your Plant Milk Coffee Curdling? Drop a comment below or ping me on social media! 🙂
Thanks, I’ll try heating mine slightly today. What I’ve been doing is frothing it with a frother and making my coffee a cappuccino instead, this also makes the problem go away. Enjoy!
You’re welcome!!! Yes!!! I love a frothy coffee too. (I have an induction frother which is fab). Coffee can still curdle with frothed coffee – my frother heats the plant milk which really helps.
Lindsey Chatterton says
Thank you so much for the frothing suggestion! It works perfectly and I love speciality drink I get every morning! I froth my “milk” and sugar first to warm it and then slowly add the coffee.
Yey! Great stuff Lindsey. Let the frothing continue! 🙂
Helen Neary says
I did three things: made the milk and coffee about a 50:50 ratio, heated the milk slowly and gently in the microwave until it felt very warm or slightly hot to the finger dip test, and then poured in my cafe press coffee.
Result: best tasting coffee I’ve ever had! It’s so creamy!! No splitting!
I can finally have coffee again in the morning!
Thank you for this post!
Good news Helen! There are so many ways to make great coffee once you know why coffee curdles… 🙂