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Thread: Soy milk that doesn't curdle?

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    Soy milk that doesn't curdle?

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    I've been having to cut down on my dairy, and in fact I don't mind the taste of soy milk at all. But in my coffee it curdles. I understand this to be a property of the milk, and that there may be some brands that don't curdle as much - or at all. I'm currently using Sanitarium So Good - are there better brands for coffee? Or ways of making coffee, and adding milk, that stops curdling? Thanks!

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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amca01 View Post
    I've been having to cut down on my dairy, and in fact I don't mind the taste of soy milk at all. But in my coffee it curdles. I understand this to be a property of the milk, and that there may be some brands that don't curdle as much - or at all. I'm currently using Sanitarium So Good - are there better brands for coffee? Or ways of making coffee, and adding milk, that stops curdling? Thanks!
    So Good is positively awful, possibly one of the worst soys for any purpose let alone in coffee. The gold standard is Bonsoy, but Ive found the Vitasoy Barista to be a pretty good option as well. The Bonsoy is more expensive, but definitely worth it if you can afford it.

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    +1 on the bonsoy (according to the missus)
    A trick i was shown is to pour the shot into your milk jug, add the soy milk and then steam. You sacrifice the ability to do latte art but it seems to provide consistent non-curdled results.

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    Milk lab is also good

    A few other tips though
    Only steam alternative milks to about 50 degrees as they are more dense and will have more residual heat.
    They will usually split if too hot.

    You will also need a coffee that is less acidic as the acid will split the milk also
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    Quote Originally Posted by amca01 View Post
    I've been having to cut down on my dairy, and in fact I don't mind the taste of soy milk at all. But in my coffee it curdles. I understand this to be a property of the milk, and that there may be some brands that don't curdle as much - or at all. I'm currently using Sanitarium So Good - are there better brands for coffee? Or ways of making coffee, and adding milk, that stops curdling? Thanks!
    G'day amca01

    Three massively better "in coffee milks" would have to be Almond, Rice or Oat. Pity the first two are overly sweet (one of the rare times I use a double or the sweetness overpowers the coffee) and the third has a faint taint of oats. Having said that, all three are a lot better than soy as long as you re-balance your shot to compensate.

    Also, if it is not an allergy, try goat, sheep or llama milk.

    FWIW, I have never been able to tolerate ANY soy in my coffee - and you are correct, it reacts (badly) and that includes all the ones mentioned above. Vitasoy may be the best of the soy milks, however I still cannot drink it in my coffee and enjoy it - instant sink shot these days. If you must persist in soy milks then try to use less steam power and then also stop at a slightly lower temp (I use 65, not 72 Celsius when I make it for one of my exes who can drink the stuff and smile).


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    I think that sometimes (usually), the question needs to be reworded to "Coffee that doesn't curdle soy milk?". The key issue is overly light, highly acidic roasts. Choose a coffee roasted a little closer to 2nd crack and hey presto. End of problem.Soy, Almond, Cashew all fine when I choose a darker, less acidic roast. +1 for Bonsoy. I have also produced fantastic almond and cashew milk via a Nutramilk. One of the many bonuses is that the operator is in full control of sugar content. Way better than the purchase of a carton of toffee.

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    Thanks, everyone, for your advice. So I've bought some Bonsoy! However, I make coffee on the cheap: the most expensive item I have is a Baratza burr grinder; other than that I use an aeropress. I don't have a steam wand, or even a hand-held frother. I can froth (some) milk by shaking it vigorously in a jam jar; normally I simply add cold milk to my coffee. But I'll keep experimenting with both milks and coffees. And of course I could always go back to cows milk for coffee!

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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amca01 View Post
    Thanks, everyone, for your advice. So I've bought some Bonsoy! However, I make coffee on the cheap: the most expensive item I have is a Baratza burr grinder; other than that I use an aeropress. I don't have a steam wand, or even a hand-held frother. I can froth (some) milk by shaking it vigorously in a jam jar; normally I simply add cold milk to my coffee. But I'll keep experimenting with both milks and coffees. And of course I could always go back to cows milk for coffee!
    In that case you want to maybe try using a different coffee. If you've been using the sort of coffee normally sold for Aeropress, that being medium to light roast single origin coffee, that could be part of the problem. You won't necessarily need a dark roast, but a good espresso blend is probably the way to go. Try heating it gently either over heat or for about 40sec in the microwave (not ideal, but doable), then froth it up in a french press for a latter style drink.

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    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    More acidic coffee and proteins don't get along...

    Two tips I've heard:

    * (already mentioned) don't heat the soy/alt milks beyond 55 degrees C.

    * mix a little cool soy with the coffee shot before adding the hot soy (worth a go) - REF: Jeffrey Johnston @barista_rpgplayers

    * for a cheaper alternative to Bonsoy give Macro Organic Soy a try... REF: Five Senses did a comparison blog post on a bunch of different soy options.

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    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amca01 View Post
    Thanks, everyone, for your advice. So I've bought some Bonsoy! However, I make coffee on the cheap: the most expensive item I have is a Baratza burr grinder; other than that I use an aeropress. I don't have a steam wand, or even a hand-held frother. I can froth (some) milk by shaking it vigorously in a jam jar; normally I simply add cold milk to my coffee. But I'll keep experimenting with both milks and coffees. And of course I could always go back to cows milk for coffee!
    How much milk are you adding to how much coffee (roughly)? Are you doing a long Aeropress shot and then adding 10% of that volume in milk? If you're doing your Aeropress at ~90C and then adding a splash of milk the soy will always curdle regardless of coffee acidity because if the 10ml of milk is 4C and the 100ml coffee is 90C the milk will end up towards 80C very quickly.

    If you want to keep doing it the same way you'll probably have to wait for the coffee to cool to ~65C or just under before adding the milk. If you stick a thermometer in it and time how long it takes you should be able to time it in future. If you brew your Aeropress into a cold ceramic mug that will suck a bunch of the heat out into the mug, that may cut your wait time down by a minute or two.

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    Make sure the soy it actually cold before heating it up. I've worked in place where they don't keep soy in the fridge and once you heat it up it Curdles. Keep it in the fridge!

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    I bought some Bonsoy, which curdled as much as did So Good. I also don't find the taste hugely better. Oat milk does't curdle (Vitasoy Oat), but it doesn't really "soften" the coffee the way dairy or soy does - oat milk seems an insipid weak liquid in comparison. So I'm still hunting! I'm going to try for a darker roast which apparently is less acidic: it's the acidity of the coffee, I understand, which is one of the principal factors causing curdling. Other tips I've come across include adding a pinch of salt to the coffee or of bicarb of soda: just enough to lower the acidity without affecting the taste. I'll keep you posted!

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    As I mentioned in another thread, I had my first experience of Soy milk splitting in my first batch of Ethiopian Sidamo Ardi this week.
    I rarely steam Soy (or anything except full-cream milk) and it came as a bit of a shock until I thought about it.
    The Sidamo Ardi has a lovely subtle slightly citrus flavour and maybe that is just enough acid to split the milk. Or maybe, as others suggest, it is this particular Soy, too much heat, or some combination of all the factors.
    I too was using the "So Good" Soy which was the only product we had in the house for a 'non-Cow milk' person.
    Personally I would never drink 'milk coffee' if I had to have Soy in it.
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    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Had a good chat this morning with the Barista at a sports club where we went for morning tea.
    Daughter had ordered an Almond milk flat white and wife a Soy milk flat white.
    Both came with the milk split and the Barista commented on this when she served it.
    The 'girls' commented that both coffees were very hot (hotter than normal).
    When at the counter later I had a chat with the Barista, diplomatically mentioning the problem with the milk-substitutes and my own experiences.
    She was struggling with the bog-standard Soy and Almond "milks" and as a result of our conversation, thought she would talk with the Catering Manager about getting a specialist Barista product.
    The other issue was 'temperature' and she agreed with my suggestion that whilst splitting MIGHT be avoided by dropping the temp of the milk by 5 to 10 degrees, the problem is the pensioners who want their milk coffee 'scalding' - regardless of what sort of milk it uses. Just no way around that one! Who'd be a Barista.

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    The trick that works for me is to reduce the acidity of the coffee; I do this by adding a very small pinch of bicarb of soda to the freshly ground coffee. This doesn't seem to affect the taste, but it cuts down the acidity and prevents the soy curdling.

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    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    We use Vitasoy Original or Calci-plus, and like them both. I've never had them split, but like mentioned above, I roast past Pucker-face level to just before second crack, and don't overheat the milk (I go until the bottom of the jug is too hot to touch and then count to 7!). I've never had an issue …
    Cheers Matt

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    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    I have also used Vitasoy Calci plus and found it worked very well ( for a visitor) I took it 70deg without issues.

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    happy happy soy boy was at MICE...got a sample and made a latte yesterday as I would with normal milk, and it was great. next to no curdling, and really creamy.
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    I get hit and miss curdling with bonsoy, might be that im heating it up a little too much. The taste is far superior to other soy tho.



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