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  1. #1
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    Community I need you help - Milk curdling after extensive, failed troubleshooting

    Hello there fellow coffee enthusiasts.

    I have owned the Breville BES870XL for several years now and have used it continuously, several times a day to create different coffees, worthy of their Italian counterparts. However, I have run into an irritating issue with my milk. As cappuccinos are my beverage of choice, I am not happy about it.

    Now before you throw posts at me about my milk being old, please consider the following steps I have taken before deciding that I was at my wit's end.

    I have cleaned my Breville many times over the past years. I have gone through the cleaning cycle with the recommended cleaning tablets and vinegar. I never had an issue with my milk. I have used different types of vinegar, most recently white vinegar.

    My milk started curdling. Badly. The coffee is absolutely undrinkable. So I did my research.

    I threw out my milk as a precaution and have since used different types of milk. Almond milk is my go to, but I have tested cow milk as well. I have tried different brands and tried heating it up in the microwave instead of using the machine's frother. It curdles every time.

    I assumed there might be an acidity issue in the internals of my machine - presumably from the vinegar, maybe that was off. I ran several cleaning cycles with recommended cleaning tablets, followed by a couple gallons of alkaline and distilled water. It still curdles.

    I meticulously cleaned all utensils with distilled water in case my dishwashers rinse aid left residue. I have been using the same dishwasher I've used all year, but I tried it out anyway. The milk still curdles.

    I also tried letting the coffee and milk cool down before combining the two. This helps slightly, but unless I wait until the two are cold, I still get some curdling.

    Community, I need your expertise. What else can I try? I have to stick to Espressos and mediocre coffee from the outside world for now.

    Thank you for your help.

    Luis

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaristaMista View Post
    Hello

    I threw out my milk as a precaution and have since used different types of milk. Almond milk is my go to, but I have tested cow milk as well. I have tried different brands and tried heating it up in the microwave instead of using the machine's frother. It curdles every time.


    I also tried letting the coffee and milk cool down before combining the two. This helps slightly, but unless I wait until the two are cold, I still get some curdling.

    Is this correct? Do you get the same curdling if you heat the milk in the microwave as well as with the machine's steaming wand? Is the milk curdled after heating it, or does it curdle as soon as it's poured into the coffee? By any chance, are you adding any type of flavoring to the milk or the coffee? (syrups, etc).

    Rose

  3. #3
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    Pink Rose. I thought about syrups. Funny story I used to roast for the prez of us Monin. It drove me mad when he had us sample drinks like Irish Cream. I explained that since it had citric acid it wouldn't work. His answer? Steam the milk and syrup together....when it foams no one will see it curdled. Sigh...I am not making that up. SMDH.
    Last edited by topher; 04-19-2018 at 03:04 AM.
    "Wine is for aging, not coffee."
    Ken Hutchinson, Starsky and Hutch

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by topher View Post
    Pink Rose. I thought about syrups. Funny story I used to roast for the prez of us Monin. It drove me mad when he had us sample drinks like Irish Cream. I explained that since it had citrus it wouldn't work. His answer? Steam the milk and syrup together....when it foams no one will see it curdled. Sigh...I am not making that up. SMDH.
    It makes you wonder what else goes on behind the scenes.

    There have been times when I've observed the syrups curdling the milk, and it starts out looking okay, and then the curdles quickly float to the top of the foam and hang on there. It's not a pretty sight. I can picture the president of US Monin asking you to put lids on the cups so no one would notice. Then, you'd really be shaking your head in disbelief.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkRose View Post
    Is this correct? Do you get the same curdling if you heat the milk in the microwave as well as with the machine's steaming wand? Is the milk curdled after heating it, or does it curdle as soon as it's poured into the coffee? By any chance, are you adding any type of flavoring to the milk or the coffee? (syrups, etc).

    Rose
    Thanks for your responses, Rose and Topher! The milk tastes perfectly fine once I take it out of the microwave, it does not curdle until I combine the two... I am not adding any flavors or syrups to either of them. I have tried heating the milk in the microwave in a freshly cleaned glass, even after letting it cool down a bit, I still get some curdling.

    Luis

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaristaMista View Post
    Thanks for your responses, Rose and Topher! The milk tastes perfectly fine once I take it out of the microwave, it does not curdle until I combine the two... I am not adding any flavors or syrups to either of them. I have tried heating the milk in the microwave in a freshly cleaned glass, even after letting it cool down a bit, I still get some curdling.

    Luis
    Luis,

    What kind of coffee are you using?

    Are you grinding the beans yourself?

    Could there be a problem with your machine? Is your Breville BES870XL making the espresso hotter than usual? (scalding hot?)

    I agree that it is very strange that the milk is okay, until you pour it into the coffee. It's a bit of a mystery!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkRose View Post
    Luis,

    What kind of coffee are you using?

    Are you grinding the beans yourself?

    Could there be a problem with your machine? Is your Breville BES870XL making the espresso hotter than usual? (scalding hot?)

    I agree that it is very strange that the milk is okay, until you pour it into the coffee. It's a bit of a mystery!
    I am using different organic coffee beans that I buy from my local Sprouts. I am grinding it with the Breville machine. The coffee is quite hot(drinkable as soon as I let it settle) and I have recently noticed a strange "screeching" sound that appears as the extraction process begins. I have yet to find an explanation for the sound...

  8. #8
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    In know you rinsed it, but there is still vinegar in there somewhere. Try this:. Take a small cup of any coffee and put a drop or two of vinegar in it, and stir. Now add your milk. It will curdle. Takes a very little bit of vinegar to curdle dairy in coffee.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSACoffee View Post
    In know you rinsed it, but there is still vinegar in there somewhere. Try this:. Take a small cup of any coffee and put a drop or two of vinegar in it, and stir. Now add your milk. It will curdle. Takes a very little bit of vinegar to curdle dairy in coffee.
    Maybe the vinegar needs to neutralized somehow.

    Baking soda neutralizes vinegar, but I'm not sure how it could be used in an espresso machine. It could be used to thoroughly wash the parts, though.

    https://www.google.com/search?source....0.iyaN4bW8TNw

  10. #10
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    I suspect residual acids (vinegar)... I would first run multiple batches of water through your brewer.

 

 
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