Why Does My Coffee Creamer Curdle?

Everyone loves a good cup of coffee in the morning to get their day started. Everyone also has their own unique way of enjoying coffee. One way to do that is adding creamers, however, the creamer cuddles as you stir it in sometimes. So, why does my coffee creamer curdle?

Why Does My Coffee Creamer Curdle?

The primary reason why your coffee creamer is likely to curdle is because of the acidity levels in the creamer and in the coffee. Coffee creamers naturally contain lactic acid. As the creamer ages, its lactic acid levels rise and will eventually curdle if left alone.

The acidity level of your coffee also plays a role. Dark roast coffee is usually less acidic than light roast which means, that when you pour your coffee creamer into a coffee with more acidity, it causes the lactic acid in the creamer to act faster, resulting in the creamer curdling.

If your creamer is still fresh and it curdles when you add it to your coffee, the acidity of the coffee is often the issue. However, you cannot be too sure. Other than the acidity levels in the creamer and in the coffee, there are a number of other factors that could cause your creamer to curdle.

An image of coffee creamer

Old or Expired Creamer

If your creamer is very old, the chances that it will curdle when you pour it into your coffee are very high. If the creamer is expired, then it could already be curdled before you add it to your coffee.

Coffee Temperature

Coffee is typically brewed at 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, your coffee may be too hot and will break down the proteins in the creamer faster. This will cause your creamer to curdle as you pour it in, regardless of how fresh it is.

Water Type

The type of water you use can also cause your creamer to curdle. If your coffee is brewed using hard water, it may increase its acidity and cause the creamer to curdle. To check if the water is causing your creamer to curdle, you can try using soft water like distilled water to prepare your coffee.

Coffee Machine

If you are sure your creamer is fresh and your coffee is not acidic, you should consider checking your coffee machine. The cleaning agents you use may be acidic and if they are not neutralized, they may affect the acidity of your coffee.

How to Prevent Cream From Curdling

Since high acidity levels are the reason your creamer keeps getting curdled, the straightforward way to prevent a reoccurrence is to avoid acidity. Here are a few tips to help you prevent your coffee creamer from curdling:

Do Not Use Expired Creamers

The older the creamer, the higher the levels of lactic acid. So you definitely want to keep an eye on the expiry date and ensure that you do not use expired creamers. As much as possible, you should consider sticking to fresh creamer.

Allow Your Coffee to Cool

Since your creamer curdles when you add it to very hot coffee, the ideal thing to do is to let it get cooler before you add your creamer. You can preferably allow it to cool down to room temperature.

You can also prevent your creamer from curdling by pouring the creamer first and then gently pouring the coffee after. You may want to check for the water hardness in some instances.

Change Your Creamer

There are two major types of coffee creamers:

  • Dairy creamers, and 
  • Plant-based creamers

Dairy creamers are more likely to curdle in your coffee. If you want to avoid curdled cream in your coffee, you can consider switching to plant-based creamers or even high-fat creamers.

Close-up image of coffee creamer

Change Your Coffee

The pH level of coffee is usually between 4.85 to 5.10, with the acidity increasing as the number drops. If you use coffee with high acidity levels and have experienced curdling previously, you may consider changing to low-acid or no-acid coffee options.

Related Questions

Can I Drink Coffee With Curdled Milk?

Yes, you can drink coffee with curdled milk, though it may be less tasty. However, if the creamer is curdled because it is expired, you should avoid it because it can make you sick.

How Long Does Coffee Creamer Stay Good For?

A creamer should stay good for 7-8 days after opening it. Beyond that, it is not safe for consumption. However, if it is unopened, it can last up to 2 weeks after the expiration date if stored in the refrigerator.


You want to enjoy your coffee and a curdled creamer will most likely get in the way of that. The root cause of curdled creamers is the acidity in the creamer or coffee. If you take care of these and other factors, you will get the best results.