I've noticed that there are a few things that if you add them to drinks, they will curdle milk, and I was wondering about things that might ruin an espresso shot by adding them before the milk.  For instance, raspberry syrup seems to do funky things to milk, and I've noticed that sometimes if you add soy on top of coffee, it can curdle.  I was trying to come up with some specialty dessert drinks and was thinking about an Orange Citrus Mocha.  If I steam orange peels in the milk will it curdle?  Or if I make an orange syrup and put it in the espresso, will it wreck the shot?  Any general rules of thumb?  Any barista chemists out there?

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It is my understanding that the acid is what curdles the milk. We switched from torani to davinci and we no longer have that problem. We did solve the problem by adding the syrup to the milk and steaming at the same time and it is less likley to curdle the milk. Althought the torani blood orange syrup would curdle even when steaming togheather. I never tried adding it to the espress first I would think it might slove the problem as well.
I don't know anything about the chemistry of it all, but if you're really nice to me, I will occasionally shave some orange peels into the portafilter after tamping and pull a shot of orange-infused espresso, then top it off with hot cocoa and other goodies to make a Café Borgia (wish I could claim it as my own recipe!).

The infusion method can make the shot SUPER crisp, but it has an aroma like nothing I've ever experienced.

I'd be really interested to see how steaming orange peels in milk turns out.
infuse the syrup with the peels.
try making a simple syrup with the orange peels. when executing the drink use the syrup in the espresso shot vs the dairy.
certain acids cause proteins in the milk to coagulate and form chains; these chains are what we call curdles. while this looks unappealing, it is affects texture more than taste. i would highly recommend adding anything you are having curdling problems with to the espresso before adding steamed milk than adding to cold milk before steaming. the milk being at a higher temp should keep the proteins from curdling.
I had a Monin distributor handbook a couple years back and it touched on this issue. For the highly acidic flavors, such as raspberry, it recommended adding some 'basic' syrup such as vanilla or hazelnut. Mix the syrups very well with the espresso for a good ten seconds and then slowly add the milk while continuing to stir.

I don't really drink these often enough, or ever, to notice much of a difference with the vanilla. I think the hazelnut would probably add a bit of a nuttiness that may not be liked.

However, a few years back, I tried making a hot "orange mocha frappaccino" as a tribute to Zoolander using the Monin candied orange. Using this same method, I was very unsuccessful using this same pH balance/stir method. So, it may just be for the raspberry (?), I am not entirely sure.
Thanks y'all. Yeeeeaaah putting orange zest in the portafilter sounds like the way to go, and would work in an iced one. Although an orange italian soda would be pretty good. Decisions decisions.
I have made a drink by extracting shots onto an orange slice and then adding steamed milk. I never experienced any trouble with it. Best of luck!
wait, are we talking an actual SLICE? or shavings?

either way, it probably tastes amazing. I would just be really thrown off by the orange slice swimming around in my latte ;)




Dinah said:
I have made a drink by extracting shots onto an orange slice and then adding steamed milk. I never experienced any trouble with it. Best of luck!
shavings, or peels. I have a feeling something terrible would happen if you put an orange slice in your latte.

Adam Wilson said:
wait, are we talking an actual SLICE? or shavings?

either way, it probably tastes amazing. I would just be really thrown off by the orange slice swimming around in my latte ;)




Dinah said:
I have made a drink by extracting shots onto an orange slice and then adding steamed milk. I never experienced any trouble with it. Best of luck!
Please,... Please do not used your portafilters to extract anything but coffee. Coffee only in your machine. It is not a juicer, or a zester. It is an espresso machine. There are plenty of ways to get the citrus into a drink that avoid this. I mean, it's not like it takes a lot of zest for you taste it. Why not just add the oil the old fashioned bar tender way; heat a piece of orange peel with a small flame (match, lighter, candle) and after a quick warm, squeeze out the oils from the peel onto the surface of the drink through the flame. Not only does it add the orange oil (bitters) but it also looks cool when some of the oil flares up.

Good luck.

christopher myers said:
shavings, or peels. I have a feeling something terrible would happen if you put an orange slice in your latte. Adam Wilson said:
wait, are we talking an actual SLICE? or shavings?

either way, it probably tastes amazing. I would just be really thrown off by the orange slice swimming around in my latte ;)




Dinah said:
I have made a drink by extracting shots onto an orange slice and then adding steamed milk. I never experienced any trouble with it. Best of luck!
Joe Marrocco said:
Please,... Please do not used your portafilters to extract anything but coffee. Coffee only in your machine. It is not a juicer, or a zester. It is an espresso machine.

Yeah, this is why I mentioned having to be REALLY nice to me to get me to do it, because I have to pull a seasoning shot afterwards to clear all the orange flavor.

Thanks for the warming/squeezing tip though. I truthfully didn't know any other way to get the zest into the espresso! Perhaps I need get a side job as a bartender. ;)

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