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Thread: The dreaded soy milk curdle

  1. #1
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    The dreaded soy milk curdle

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi CSers,
    I've been a lurker on these forums for a while, some great info here. I was wondering if anyone could help me answer this problem I've been having:

    I used to exclusively make soy caps/lattes etc, using So-good. I went back to milk for a good portion of time and now have decided to start making soy again. However after I steam the soy milk and then introduce it to the espresso, it starts to curdle and clump (much like this: http://p-ec2.pixstatic.com/506aff2bf...410_s.fit_.jpg).

    I've tried it with so-good and pure harvest brands, seems to keep happening. Never had this problem before. Could different coffee beans (maybe more acidic ones) be responsible? Any tips? Cheers.

  2. #2
    TC
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    Welcome coffeehoon,

    Acid + soy milk = Tofu!

    Assuming you're not cooking it, I'd suggest you might try a lower acid coffee. In general, this will mean a darker roast

    Cheers

    Chris

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    Hi Coffeehoon

    Sounds to me like you are spliting the milk. Try stopping steaming the milk at a cooler temp, 50 to 55 deg.
    Most soys are the same and split at a lower temp.

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    You could also try changing brands - I obtained your exact result when I was trying out a number of different soy milks, with exactly the same coffee. Bonsoy is the obvious choice for coffee, it is popular in many cafes for good reason, but it is also ridiculously expensive. Currently my soy of choice is Vitasoy Soy Milky, it seems easier to steam than So Good and it definitely is less prone to curdling than some other brands, plus I think the flavour goes better with coffee than So Good

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    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Or better still... go back to real cows milk... problem solved.

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    Except, if you're like my sister-in-law, who will end up in hospital if she does that.

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    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete39 View Post
    Except, if you're like my sister-in-law, who will end up in hospital if she does that.
    Good thing I wasn't chatting with your sister-in-law then dontcha think? My post was directed at the OP who clearly stated the following in their original post: "I went back to milk for a good portion of time and now have decided to start making soy again."

    Unlike some, I make a point of actually reading the post in question before responding to it or offering advice.

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    Thanks for the tips. My guess would be the acidity of the bean I'm using, as it seems to be only one of the few variables that have changed. But its a decently dark roast, so it's a little puzzling. I don't think I'm splitting the milk, as it only curdles when its poured into the espresso, but I'll steam it for a little bit less and see how it goes

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    Vitasoy have a long life type carton of "café" soy (find it's not in every supermarket though) , which holds together pretty well also. For me , the problem definitely occurs mostly when it gets too hot.

    Bon$oy work$ be$t though!

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    Five senses did a blog post a few weeks back trialling different soy milk products.
    I'd suggest reading that, in short, bonsoy and one other were on par for the best.
    MrJack and coffeehoon like this.

  11. #11
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    The biggest issue is that soy curdles in the presence of acid. The solution is easy. Roast a little darker and/or choose a lower acid coffee. It's not that hard but why some roasters can't get their heads around this I cannot fathom.

    When you get statements like "The main reason for this decision is that we are just not proud of our soy-based drinks. Soy milk curdles with our coffee, resulting in an unpleasant texture and a less-than-perfect taste. We feel we are doing a disservice to our customers, and to the producers of our beans, by pairing our coffee with a sub-par milk product", it's a cop out.

    The main reason is the coffee. There's more than one way to roast it.
    Pete39, TOK and coffeehoon like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    Good thing I wasn't chatting with your sister-in-law then dontcha think? My post was directed at the OP who clearly stated the following in their original post: "I went back to milk for a good portion of time and now have decided to start making soy again."

    Unlike some, I make a point of actually reading the post in question before responding to it or offering advice.
    My post was not directed at you (I would have directly quoted you) or at the OP (I would have referred to them), nor was I offering advice - it was simply the next comment in a conversation about "The dreaded soy milk curdle" following on from yours. I did not write "The OP will end up in hospital ...", but mentioned my sister-in-law was different to the OP (hence the use of "Except, if ..."). Perhaps your misunderstanding arose with my use of "you're" which was meant in the general sense (imagine my comment being delivered sitting around with a glass of red having the conversation).

    In any case, if you took offense, I apologise and will attempt to be clearer in the future (although I thought this was a casual public forum).

    Hopefully you understand I DID "make the point of actually reading the post in question", since this seems to concern you strongly.
    Vinitasse and smokey like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    Or better still... go back to real cows milk... problem solved.
    What great advice from the brain's trust. I'm sure the OP hadn't already thought of that

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    Quote Originally Posted by amellor View Post
    Five senses did a blog post a few weeks back trialling different soy milk products.
    I'd suggest reading that, in short, bonsoy and one other were on par for the best.

    Good find. I recommend a read for anyone interested in the topic. Turns out I've been using the worst two soy products by chance :P

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    Senior Member paulau's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I drink soy milk, due to an allergy to casein. But anyway years ago I was chatting with the barista that owned Elevenses in Kensington and he drew a parallel between the milk splitting when the beans being used were washed (I hope I have that the right way around), and in my experience if I use washed beans my soy milk consistently splits.

    So take that for what its worth, so maybe there is another cause or are unwashed beans more acidic?

    Bonsoy may froth well and possibly have a lower chance of splitting, but it tastes gross and has the consistency of soup, IMO. My preferenace is Vitasoy Cafe or Vitasoy Soy Milky, it doesn't really have a distinct soy taste and works well in not over powering coffee.

    Cheers

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    My wife drinks soy and I use either bonsoy or vita soy calci plus, no problems.
    + 1 on the acidic coffee being the culprit

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulau View Post
    he drew a parallel between the milk splitting when the beans being used were washed (I hope I have that the right way around), and in my experience if I use washed beans my soy milk consistently splits.

    So take that for what its worth, so maybe there is another cause or are unwashed beans more acidic?
    Cheers
    Something get mixed up here?

    If there is such a difference, perhaps it's a combination of processing and typical roast profile?

  18. #18
    Senior Member paulau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJack View Post
    Something get mixed up here?

    If there is such a difference, perhaps it's a combination of processing and typical roast profile?
    Ha, yep I did mix it. Washed is what is possibly the issue.
    Last edited by paulau; 2nd July 2014 at 11:47 AM.

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    I disagree. Roast is the issue. Our washed beans cohabit happily with soy milk.

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    Could it perhaps be that washed beans lend themselves to lighter roasts, thus the observation paulau has made?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJack View Post
    Could it perhaps be that washed beans lend themselves to lighter roasts, thus the observation paulau has made?
    Nope- not that either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by amellor View Post
    Five senses did a blog post a few weeks back trialling different soy milk products.
    I'd suggest reading that, in short, bonsoy and one other were on par for the best.
    I did a search for that blog, but couldn't find it. Do you have a link?

  23. #23
    Probably drunk on coffee bodyboardingbum's Avatar
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    Not particularly useful to the question posed by the OP, however having a soy-drinker in the house here too i've experimented with a lot of different types and have found the best (by far!) to be the coles home-brand $1.20 soy! Textures great, much nicer than Bonsoy imo, and even has the ability to pour and hold latte art... although now it's mentioned, i have had more success with some beans than others.

    Acidity does makes sense - i guess!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bodyboardingbum View Post
    Not particularly useful to the question posed by the OP, however having a soy-drinker in the house here too i've experimented with a lot of different types and have found the best (by far!) to be the coles home-brand $1.20 soy! Textures great, much nicer than Bonsoy imo, and even has the ability to pour and hold latte art... although now it's mentioned, i have had more success with some beans than others.

    Acidity does makes sense - i guess!
    Thanks for the tip. Since my original post I've tried pure harvest (just as bad), vitasoy (not as bad but still some tofu) and then a darker roast. Unfortunately for me theres still a little curdling that happens. Definitely not as much, but enough to ruin the coffee. Will give the Coles one a whirl

  25. #25
    Probably drunk on coffee bodyboardingbum's Avatar
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    Darker roast has revolutionized this for me, combined with Coles Classic soy! Take the soy to ~45-50 degrees.

    I can almost pour decent with this combo. Picture related difficult to keep the lines as clean as regular milk, there's a bit of blending, but certainly a step forward for me.

    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1406120095.989045.jpg



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