So I know it may sound a bit weird, but I like milky tea with some lemon juice added. I pop a teabag into the mug, fill it about 2/3 with boiling water, let seep a bit, remove teabag, add some freshly-squeezed lemon, then slowly add cold fat-free milk (and add stevia for sweetness). How can I make myself a cuppa without the milk curdling?
I don't think this is practically possible with lemon juice, as milk protein will curdle in the presence of acid (in this case, citric acid in the lemon juice)—and the process happens much more quickly at hotter temperatures, as in tea.
A pinch of salt may slow the process, but is likely to be unpalatable.
You could neutralize the acid with baking powder, but getting the right balance would be difficult, and again, the result is likely to be disconcerting and unpalatable.
If it is not the acidic balance that you appreciate in your tea, but rather the flavor of the lemon, you might try making a simple syrup with lemon zest, and using that to sweeten your tea. It will give the lemon flavor, without the acidity, and so not trigger the curdling.
I use lemon zest in my tea while its steeping, then I strain it through a fine strainer. Gives you all the benefits and no curdling.
You can seek out non-dairy creamers, such as coconut milk coffee creamer, rice milk creamer. These have added stabilizers that prevent coagulation in acidic coffee, which I think would work in your lemon tea.
Have you tried adding a couple of squares of white chocolate to your lemon tea? It gives it that milky flavour without curdling.
I do this too.
I add lemon, plus I add honey to the water first before pouring it over the tea. Sometimes a smidgen of sugar. The sugar and honey help take away some of the acidity but it has to be in the water first and mixed up.
Then steep the tea.
Then after the tea is made and steeped, I'll add a little bit of milk.
**Also if you put a lot of lemon in it, this won't matter. How much lemon can affect this. I normally don't like the way it tastes if there's too much in it and too much tends to curdle the milk regardless.
Try adding the milk first then the lemon. For some reason my milk doesn't curdle when I do it in this order...Actually trying to find the reason why this happens.
I've found that using good, organic essential oils in cooking works quite well. Try adding a drop of lemon essential oil to your milky tea. No curdling to fear. Lemon is a very inexpensive oil.
well now, call me barmy, but I actually rather like the milk curds. They're fresh, it's not as if the milk has gone to rot? Isn't that how you make mozzarella cheese?