Have you ever poured a nice hot cup of coffee and added a splash of almond milk only to see the almond milk curdle and turn your coffee into a mess? We’ll explain why this happens and how to fix it.
Almond milk curdles in coffee due to a combination of heat and acid. The coffee is much hotter than the milk and it is more acidic, which causes the proteins in the almond milk to coagulate, “curdling” the milk. This occurs in almond and other plant-based milks too.
Since the two culprits of curdling almond milk and heat and acid, reducing the potency of acid and heat will prevent it from curdling.
How to prevent almond milk from curdling in coffee
1) Heat the almond milk before adding it to coffee
Heat alone does not cause the almond milk to curdle: rather, it’s a combination of heat and acid that does it.
Instead of adding cold almond milk to your coffee, heat it up in the microwave or on the stove before mixing it with your coffee.
This way, there is less of a temperature shock to curdle the proteins.
You can also froth the almond milk for a creamier, bubblier coffee.
2) Temper the almond milk with some coffee
If you’ve ever made a custard, you’ll be familiar with the process of tempering, where you gradually raise the temperature to avoid scrambling the eggs when you pour hot cream on them.
You can use the same principle with almond milk: before adding cold almond milk to piping hot coffee, stream in a tiny amount of hot coffee into almond milk and stir very quickly to raise the almond milk’s temperature. Once the milk is warm, add it to your coffee.
3) Cut the acidity of your coffee before adding almond milk
Neutralizing the coffee(or reducing its potency) before adding anything can help prevent curdling almond milk.
To reduce the acidity of coffee, you can add any of the following:
- a pinch of salt
- a bit of baking soda
- crushed eggshells
Any of these substances will raise the pH of coffee to a less potent level. Now when you add almond milk, there’s no acid left to coagulate the proteins!
4) Use a low-acid coffee
There are many great low-acid coffees available that taste great. We’ve made a list of them here. Our favorite happens to be LifeBoost coffee, which is super tasty and the best low acid coffee we’ve ever had.
The only drawback is that it is a little expensive.
For what it’s worth, you may still have to temper the milk a little before using a low acid coffee. After all, low acid coffees are low acid, not acid free.
5) Get your hands on barista-quality almond milk
The last fix for curdled almond milk is to use barista-quality almond milk. These almond milks have additional stabilizers that prevent it from curdling upon contact with hot coffee.
Why does milk curdle in coffee?
Regular cow’s milk does not curdle in coffee unless it has already started to go bad. Regular milk is not that acidic: the acid content only rises once bacteria have settled in the milk and have started to break down the sugars, producing acid as a byproduct.
If you add milk to coffee and it curdles, the milk is probably on the brink of spoiling.
Why does oat milk curdle in coffee?
Oat milk curdles in coffee due to the same reasons that almond milk curdles in coffee. Oat milk, almond milk, and indeed all plant-based milks will curdle in coffee if the milk is cold and added to hot coffee.
Preventing almond milk from curdling in your coffee is pretty straightforward. Just remember: mitigate the heat and/or the acid and you’re good to go. The same fixes can be used for any kind of plant-based milk.
Last update on 2024-02-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API