soymilk separates in coffee!

topic posted Sun, April 24, 2005 - 11:13 AM by  Cheryl
what's the deal with soymilk in coffee, it separates and falls to the bottom leaving me with awful coffee.....
posted by:
SF Bay Area
  • Unsu...

    Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

    Sun, April 24, 2005 - 4:16 PM
    try putting the soy in first...
    • Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

      Sun, April 24, 2005 - 7:29 PM
      I used Trader Joe's soymilk (in the big plastic jugs) for about a year with no separation problems. Then, a few months ago, I started having that very problem it. In fact, I had it for like a month, with 3 different jugs. Then I tried some other soymilks and found that they didn't separate at all. Neither Silk Very Vanilla nor VitaSoy Vanilla Delight separated, so I suspect that the problem was a bad batch from TJ's supplier, or that TJ's was doing something that caused their soymilk to go bad quickly (like leaving it on the pallet for too long). Try another brand and see if it curdles. If it does, then I'm out of ideas.
      • Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

        Sun, April 24, 2005 - 9:01 PM
        I think that this depends on the additives in the soymilk, in particular how much fat has been added and the temperature difference between the coffee and soymilk. I use silk creamer for coffee and tea and make my own soymilk for other things. Silk creamer is the bomb, but I read somewhere that carageenan (one of its ingredients) is considered carcinogenic, then again, lots of other foods in my regular diet are, as well.
        • Unsu...

          Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

          Sun, April 24, 2005 - 9:11 PM
          i work at a coffee shop and we use silk plain soy and it doesnt curdle.
          but the batches do change from time to time as we notice the difference in foam quality when steaming soy.
          it is made from a plant, we have to remember, that it may change a little from season to season.
          • Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

            Mon, April 25, 2005 - 12:05 AM
            I believe that all Silk brand uses carageenan, which thickens and emulsifies (fats will do the same thing).

            Here are the ingredients for plain:

            Filtered Water, Whole Organic Soybeans, Naturally Milled Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Calcium Carbonate, Sea Salt, Natural Flavors, Carrageenan, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, Riboflavin (B2), Vitamin B12
            • đ
              offline 11

              Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

              Mon, April 25, 2005 - 4:40 AM
              caregeenan is from seaweed right? and what's from lichen?

              and a lichen is a fungi algea?

              symbiotic or something like that

              i hear nuclear radioactivy is in the air, for you and me.

              potassium, in the banananananas, they're all radioactive atolls!
              • Unsu...

                Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

                Mon, April 25, 2005 - 9:50 AM

                I started using almond milk because of one too many curdled soy coffees - it never separates and tastes nice (though it is a bit thinner than soy.)

                BTW, I found my soy curdled most often when the coffee had been brewed a while ago, like 30min/1hr, but soy from the same carton was less likely to curdle when the coffee was fresh/just-brewed.
  • Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

    Mon, April 25, 2005 - 7:12 PM
    I suspect it may be something in the coffe as well, something that "matres" with age.

    Did you know that you never have to wash your coffee cup out? As long as you drink all the coffee in your cup, you can sit it out and it'll be fine the next day, even if it'll stain your cup. Turns out that there's something in the coffee that acts as an anti-bacterial growth inhibiting agent, so you generally (unless you leave large amounts of coffee) won't see mold or fungus! Now you know.

    I suspect that as that particular chemical increases potency with age, it may also be the chemical that's causing your soymilk to curdle, with increasing potential the older the coffee is.
    • Unsu...

      Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

      Mon, April 25, 2005 - 8:00 PM
      that makes sense because the coffee shop i work at brews fresh coffee constantly and it never curdles.
      • Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

        Tue, April 26, 2005 - 11:52 AM
        i've been dealing with this for a long time. i've found that coffe that is more acidic will curdle your soy more often than not. fresh brewed coffe has a higher ph than coffe that has sat around for a while, so make sure its fresh. if you get a stinky cup at the cafe tell the barista, and ask for a fresh cup. if the coffe is crap why will you go there ever agian? they should be happy to brew you a new cup if you're polite.
        • L
          offline 201

          Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

          Tue, May 3, 2005 - 11:35 AM
          Some soymilk brands separate in coffee -- coffee is acidic and can cause the milk to curdle. It has nothing to do with a "bad batch" of soymilk-- the milk is fine, it just doesn't have emulsifiers and other processes done to keep it from separating.

          Round my house we call this "miso soymilk" or "miso coffee" because the soymilk separates out like the soy in miso soup.

          Silk brand and many other brands are processed in such a way as to avoid the problem. Just change brands. Sometimes a brand like TJ's may change manufacturers or recipes. Just change brands until you get it right.

          Almond milk does not become miso, but the particulates DO settle to the bottom of the cup and make almond sludge at the bottom.
          You have to keep stirring or swirling to get the coffee to look and taste creamy.

          Rice milks tend to do the same settling out thing, but not as badly as almond milk. You do tend to get rice sludge at the bottom of a latte.

          Rice milk foams a little if done right, but the foam goes away quickly sometimes. And please do not burn my rice latte. Soy milk foams very easily. Almond milk doesn't like to foam and the foam won't stick around long.

          Only soy or real milk seem to be able to hold up a chocolate syrup swirl on top of the foam. Haven't tried oat milk lattes but will report at some future point.
  • Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

    Tue, May 3, 2005 - 5:50 PM
    The local coffee shop I go to ( is very particular about using Pacific Vanilla Low-Fat Soy. They swear by it, and it foams nicely. Thus that's what I've been using at home too.
    • Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

      Tue, May 3, 2005 - 10:42 PM
      I drink tea with soy milk all the time. I 've used several brands and never had any curdling issues.

      So its a coffee thing, me thinks.

      • Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

        Wed, May 4, 2005 - 3:20 AM
        It's definitely the acid in the coffee that curdles the milk. . .if you've ever made your own soymilk and tofu. . .you have to curdle the fresh, hot soymilk to get the tofu (curd). When making tofu this if often done with lemon jiuce, but add enough coffee you'd get the same effect. So basically, when you put soymilk into your coffee you end up with curds and whey instead of milk. It helps when nothing is too hot, but then you don't get a nice hot cup of coffee. . . .
        best bet is to go with the silk creamer, it was made for the job. . . .
        • Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

          Sat, May 7, 2005 - 12:13 PM
          Thanks, I certainly love this tribe......I do bet it's acid, cause I roast my own beans and get them as dark as I can. It just started when I roasted.
          • Unsu...

            Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

            Sat, May 7, 2005 - 10:29 PM
            the longer you roast beans, the less acidic they are.
            • Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

              Sat, May 7, 2005 - 11:09 PM
              hey jessica, I have been trying to figure out what kind of soy milk makes the best foam when steemed.. do you have any far I have only tested vitasoy and silk(the kinds used in coffee shops I have used..)
              • Unsu...

                Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

                Sun, May 8, 2005 - 5:46 AM
                i work at peets coffee and we use plain silk. people say we also make the best foam. i actually drink espresso with soy foam.....yummmmmy. its mostly in the technique, though. i have been to other coffee shops that also use silk and their foam was pathetic. i wish i could give you a demo over the internet!!! soy foam is my specialty. ;)
                • Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

                  Sat, May 28, 2005 - 2:07 PM
                  Okay, that's not fair......what is the foam secret? Come one will know that you told us.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

                    Sat, May 28, 2005 - 2:57 PM
                    hard to describe on the internet... basically it should be quiet, no sound of lots of air going in like you hear so commonly in all the coffee shops.that is the common mistake, people think you need to put tons of air into it to make good foam but that just makes airy foam. you should keep the pitcher straight up and down, not tilted. keep the wand 1/4 inch off center and look for a whirlpool motion with the soy. when you find a 'sweet spot' of whirlpool action leave it there until soy reaches 140 degrees. it should double in size.

                    dont know if that makes any sense... the key is the whirlpool.

                    let me know if you need some more info!!! good luck and happy foam!
                    • Unsu...

                      Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

                      Sat, May 28, 2005 - 3:00 PM
                      oh yeah, good temp is 150-155 degrees and usually stopping at 140-145 will carry over to the right temp as it sits while you pull shots. oh and after it sits for about 30 seconds to a minute, and the foam separates, stir the foam back into the milk... thats what makes it luscious. they say it should have the look of 'smooth melted ice cream' (soy ice cream of course ;)
                      • thanks!

                        Mon, May 30, 2005 - 12:23 PM
                        so I'll cut and paste this and stare at it until I figure it out I SWEAR! Using plain SILK (correct?) or creamer SILK?
                        • Unsu...

                          Re: thanks!

                          Mon, May 30, 2005 - 12:51 PM
                          plain... also, keep the wand near the top of the milk until you reach about 80- 100 degrees to let air in (but not noisy air!) then sink the wand getting an even bigger whirlpool until you reach 145.

                          also start with cold soy so you have more time before it reaches 145.
              • Re: soymilk separates in coffee!

                Sun, May 8, 2005 - 12:21 PM
                As I mentioned above, Blue Bottle Coffee does a great job making foam with Pacific low-fat vanilla soy. They make the best espresso drinks with steamed soy milk that I've experienced in the bay area (much more like what I have enjoyed in Seattle or Portland). You should definitely check them out if you're ever in Hayes Valley during daytime hours (they are closed in the evening).

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