why does half and half curdle in coffee

why does half and half curdle in coffee

Why does Half and Half Curdle in Coffee?

Coffee and Half and Half can be a perfect pairing to create a delicious and creamy beverage. However, when these two are mixed the result can be far from creamy and instead you may find clumps of curdled bits. What is the cause of this and why does Half and Half curdle in coffee?

The Physics of Half and Half and Coffee

The answer to why Half and Half curdles in coffee has to do with the pH of both. Coffee usually contains a pH of 5-5.5, while Half and Half usually has a pH of 6-6.5. This difference in pH causes the proteins in the Half and Half to become denatured, resulting in the clumpy cream you find in your coffee.

How to Prevent it?

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to prevent your Half and Half from curdling.

  • Add Half and Half at the End – If you add Half and Half after your coffee is prepared it prevents denaturation of the proteins.
  • Stir Thoroughly – Stirring your coffee and Half and Half together until there are no lumps is also important.
  • Heat the Half and Half – Heating your Half and Half before adding it to the coffee will also help prevent curdling.


Coffee and Half and Half can make a delicious and creamy beverage, but the difference in pH between them can also cause them to curdle. Fortunately, by taking a few simple steps you can prevent this from happening and enjoy your coffee and Half and Half the way you like it.





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