Does Oat Milk Curdle in Coffee? – Here’s How to Stop it

Oat milk latte

If you have ever consciously swapped dairy milk for non-dairy in your coffee, chances are, it was oat milk. In the US, oat milk ranks as the second most popular plant-based milk, probably because of its close semblance to dairy milk.

Oat milk is commonly used as a dairy replacer for vegan recipes and a replacement for cow milk in lactose-intolerant diets. Oat milk contains two times the amount of fiber as cow milk, so it is a great choice for people who want to increase their dietary fiber and improve their digestive and gut health.

We love oat milk because of its low-fat content, high protein, and rich taste. As oat milk gains popularity, it finds its way into more and more everyday meals. One of which is coffee.

In this article, we are covering oat milk, one of dairy milk’s biggest rivals. We will discuss whether or not it curdles in coffee, and how to prevent it from curdling.

How is Oat Milk Derived?

Oat milk is obtained when oats are soaked in water, blended, and strained. After this process, the product is a rich, creamy milk that retains many nutrients from the oats.

Does Oat Milk Curdle in Coffee?

Yes! Oat milk curdles in coffee but it shouldn’t discourage you from using it.

All milk curdles, including dairy milk. Curdling doesn’t signify anything about the quality. It just occurs when milk is too hot or it meets a highly acidic substance.

Coffee happens to be an acidic drink itself, so curdling is an absolutely normal occurrence.

What Causes Oat Milk to Curdle?

Oat milk curdles when it either becomes too acidic or too hot.

This means that you can expect your oat milk to curdle if you put it in hot coffee when it is too cold. Also, oat milk can curdle in the presence of strong acidulants like lemon juice.

Sometimes you can easily fix this by shaking, further blending, or even using an emulsifier.

Is Curdled Oat Milk Bad?

Curdled oat milk is completely safe for consumption. In fact, it is okay to keep drinking your coffee after the oat milk in it has curdled.

Milk, including oat milk, is sometimes curdled on purpose. The only reason to throw out curdled milk is if it has expired.

The expiry date tells you how safe your oat milk is. Ignoring it can be very harmful to your health.

How to Prevent Oat Milk from Curdling in Coffee

While it is normal for oat milk, and any milk for that matter, to curdle, curdled milk isn’t quite fun to drink. Here are a few ways to prevent oat milk from curdling in your coffee:

1.    Make sure the oat milk is fresh

The first step to curdless, plant-milk coffee is to ensure that the milk is fresh. Older milk tends to be more acidic. Hence, it has a higher chance of curdling.

Oat milk has a shelf life of seven to ten days, although it is advised to consume it within one week to avoid expiry. So, you can store oat milk in the fridge for up to ten days. Remember, however, that the milk will start to lose its taste, smell, and quality.

Old milk isn’t great for your health, so ensure to throw it out as soon as possible.

If you often experience curdling, the problem may be your coffee. Some brands of coffee are more acidic than others, and so they tend to curdle milk.

Invest in a roast with lesser acidity and you should notice a difference in your morning brew.

2.    Brew at a lower temperature

High brewing temperature is the second reason behind curdling milk. To solve this problem, make sure you are brewing at the recommended temperature written on the bag of coffee.

Many coffee makers feature settings that let you control the temperature of the coffee.

3.    Oat milk first

When preparing a cup of coffee with oat milk, always put the milk first. Afterward, add the coffee slowly and gently.

This process prevents curdling by allowing the oat milk to gradually adjust to the temperature of the coffee, instead of dumping it in steaming coffee.

4.    Use clean coffee mugs

Washing coffee mugs after every brew can be a hassle. Especially when it borders on convenience. However, reusing coffee mugs can contribute to, if not cause, curdling.

After using a mug for coffee, coffee oil residue stays on its interior.

This residue contains acetic acid, a potential curdler. If ignored, the residue can cause the oat milk in your next cup of coffee to curdle. You can prevent this by washing your coffee mug after each use.

Intentional Curdling vs Unintentional Curdled Milk

When dealing with curdling milk, you will find that the process of curdling is either deliberate (intentional) or unintentional. Let’s look further into these terms:

Intentional Curdling

Intentional curdling occurs when a conscious effort is made to curdle milk. For example, the process of making cheese or yogurt involves the intentional curdling of milk. Here, you may deliberately involve catalysts like live culture to help quicken the process.

The term, intentional curdling, can also apply to coffee.

Unintentional Curdling

Unintentional curdling refers to a situation where milk curdles without any external effort. More often than not, unintentional curdling refers to old and expired milk.

Unintentionally curdled milk is rarely, if ever, safe for consumption.

 Are There Non-Curdling Alternatives to Oat Milk?

No. At the moment, there is no non-curdling milk, including dairy. All milk has the potential to curdle, with some curdling more than others.

As I stated, curdling is totally harmless. If, however, you can’t stand it, just use the above tips.

So, that’s it. Oat milk curdles in coffee. It doesn’t always curdle, and the curdling can definitely be prevented. These tips will help you avoid curds in your coffee.