Why would liquid half-and-half creamer curdle when poured into hot coffee? This happens to me sometimes, and I'm not sure why. Could it have something to do with either the coffee being too hot or the creamer being too cold?

5 Answers 5


I would think this is happening because your cream is just about to turn sour.

As cream ages, lactic acid builds up in it. The acidity in your coffee is enough at that point to push the cream over the edge to curdling.

Try newer cream or a very low-acid coffee with old cream and you should be OK.

  • 2
    yep, sounds like you are buying 1/2 & 1/2 in large containers and not using them fast enough; but you might also check to verify that you're buying homogenized 1/2 & 1/2... as i've never seen fresh cream in my supermarket, it seems unlikely though
    – mfg
    Aug 20, 2010 at 14:23
  • Bingo! I tried with new cream, same temp coffee (freshly brewed), and there was no problem. Aug 20, 2010 at 22:04

I watched an episode of Blue Bloods where Mr. Selleck explained to his grandkids that the secret to not having your cream curdle in your (Irish) coffee was to hold your spoon upside down over your coffee and pour the cream over the back of the spoon. I tried it and have never had curdled cream in my coffee since. Don't know why it works I just know that it does. I'm guessing it might have something to do with increasing the dispersion of the cream.


I had this happen to me in the most bizarre circumstance. I buy green coffee beans and roast them myself at home. I have decaf and regular that I roasted separately, then grind them together to make half decaf and then brew my coffee via pour over ( no machines). I did this and then used soy creamer (brand new, not old). Didn't curdle. Then, I brewed a cup with just the regular beans (no decaf). Same way, same day, everything the same other than it was full caff. Added the same soy creamer and it curdled. I repeated this exactly the next day and it did it again!! My guess is it has to do with the acidity of the coffee beans.


I have organic heavy cream expiration date is March 15th 2018. Its Feb 17th. When I pour it in my hot coffee it's still looks like it's curdled until I stir it in. Even if I pour it over the back of a spoon. Still tastes great and it hasn't upset my stomach. But it is odd that it looks like it's curdling, it must be an effect from the coldness of the cream to heat of the coffee, or fat content reacting to heat, acidity. My best guess. Just weird, that it happens.


The acid in coffee causes the cream to curdle.

  • 3
    If curdling is caused by the natural occurrence of acid in coffee, wouldn't the cream always curdle?
    – Jolenealaska
    Oct 7, 2013 at 16:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.