Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Peaches vs Dairy

On the Vancouver wet west coast, there is a lot of rain. One might saw you could also go to a beach, and say there is a lot of sand. The first probably being truer.
Oh....I wish I could go to that beach. A sunny beach. A sunny warm beach with none of this whishy washy rain that might turn to snow but just remains cold and slushy.

So, what do you do when it is cold and miserable and you are craving the warm days of summer? Well, try drinking a summery tea for one thing! My boyfriend and I were at a small grocery store, and saw this lovely peach of a tea: Stash's Peach Black Tea!
Upon finding this tea, I was intrigued. It is a black tea, and you can add dairy and sugar to black tea. Could it be added to this tea?

Any tea drinker out there has added milk/cream to a nice cup of tea, and found it curdled up at the top at least once in their life. I personally had this experience with a blueberry herbal tea, and my mother made me drink it anyways. Even as a young girl I knew you could never put dairy in a citrus tea/tisane as that was just asking for it to chunk up, but blueberries?
(just a refresher, herbal teas aren't actually teas because they don't include the plant camellia sinensis—or tea. They should be called tisanes.)
Now I am no science teacher, and neither will I give you a science lesson, but I will say milk curdles because of the acidity in the blueberries, and that changes the pH in the milk/cream and causes it to coagulate.
In fact, all these fruits are acidic, and will most likely cause you milk/cream to curdle: apples, blueberries, cherries, grapes, grapefruit, nectarines, peaches, pears, pineapple, plums, and raspberries.

Another thing will cause dairy to curdle is pouring it right into boiling water. The heat will do the trick, even if you have a regular old black tea. If you find this a problem, add your milk/cream first, and add the boiling water slowly to gradually warm it up.
If you aren't putting milk into boiling water, you are drinking a regular old black tea, and it is still lumpy, then your milk/cream is bad. For goodness sake, throw that dairy out!

Now if you do make the citrus tea mistake, and you see your tea curdled, you can do one of three things:
1) Throw it out and start again. And this time, don't add any milk! Or use whole milk/cream, as it has a higher threshold for clumping.
2) Scoop out all the curds you can see. The milk/cream hasn't gone bad, just changed consistency. Water still tastes the same frozen, doesn't it? You might have to keep scooping throughout your drinking experience.
3) Just drink it all. The texture will be off, you might have to chew your tea, and you might not want to drink blueberry tisane ever again, but it won't kill you.

Well you might have noticed peaches in the list of acidic fruits. If you had a herbal tisane full of peaches and added milk/cream, it would curdle. But a black tea is a different sort of beast. To a point, you can add dairy to black teas and not have to worry about the consequences. On the other hand, some very bitter teas, or a strong Earl Grey(with the bergamot oils) will curdle milk.
Indeed, I was very curious about this tea.

Upon opening the box, I grew concerned. Ever open a bag of peach candies? That overwhelming PEACH smell? That's what greeted my nose. The smell was strong, but would it curdle the cream?
I made two cups, added sugar, and poured the cream in. It swirled, and twirled and mixed perfectly. No curdling! Got to love the black teas!

As for the actual tea? Well, it wasn't nearly as strong tasting as it smelled (they never are). By the time I put cream and sugar in it, it smelled like a peach perfume. Depending on the person, I suppose that could or could not be appetizing, The peach taste was there, but on the whole I think it would have made a better tisane.
What I am absolutely sure about, is that this tea would make an amazing iced tea come summer time. Oy.
Maybe I just need to go to a warm sunny beach now, and bring some Stash's Peach Black Tea with me.

Tea available at most grocery stores!


  1. I think you should review the best tea out there: Good Earth brand Sweet & Spicy. The bags are coated in honey!

  2. If you can get me that tea, I would love to try it!

  3. When we first made the tea I was actually concerned about adding milk to it but didn't say anything. I wasn't thinking about curdling the milk, just the strong smell of peach made my mind question whether or not cream should be had with such a fruity tea.

  4. @Revbat, of course I am going to put milk in a black tea! Otherwise.....I don't like it :P
    Milk is a must! I might as well drink a tisane otherwise. I didn't think the milk made it terrible, did you? Still, peaches are better off in tisanes.

  5. AnonymousJuly 07, 2011

    Will i get sick from drinking tea with curdled milk of will it have any effect on me?? i made a pot of tea and added milk not thinking that it would curd but dont want to throw it away, will i get sick if i drink the whole pot??

  6. @Anonymous, I don't know if you are joking or not, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and answer seriously.

    Acid and heat coagulates the milk protein to give you the tell-tale little white floating lumps.
    If heat has caused the milk to solidify, then it is safe to drink. If you put an acidic item in with your milk, such as a lemon, or a fruity herbal tisane, then the acidity will curdle the milk. This is still safe to drink, although you might find the texture of the drink unpleasant.

    If the milk curdled due to it being past the expiration date, then it means that bacteria has created lactic acid and that acidity has spoiled the milk. Milk will taste sour and smell sour, and make your tea unpleasant to drink. This would no longer be safe to drink.

  7. Thanks for the explanation of what causes the milk to curdle – I had noticed it in some herbal teas, all fruit ones such as Blueberry or Raspberry. With Celestial Seasonings herbal teas at least, I’ve found that the acidity that causes milk curdling is released in the first 15-20 seconds. I usually combine herbals with a standard black tea, and get two uses out of the herbal – steep the herbal for about 1 – ½ minutes along with the black tea, then save the herbal bag for a second use. The second use still has the herbal taste but doesn’t curdle the milk. Or, especially now in hot summer weather: make an iced tea of the black tea with first use of the herbal bag (no milk added). Then the second use works great for a hot cup with milk.

    Celestial Seasonings’ earlier peach herbal (several years ago) caused the milk to curdle. Their latest herbal peach has a different ingredient listing and sequence of ingredients – and like the peach tea mentioned here, it doesn’t make the milk curdle – a bonus for that herbal tea as well.

  8. If it's a temperature thing why does it not happen with coffee? Check the ingredients. Hibiscus will cause the milk/cream (even powdered) to curdle. Most teas have this. I no longer will buy a tea that has this flower in it as I have to have cream in my tea.

  9. It is both the temperature plus the acidity of the tea!, The trick to avoid this is to put the milk in first, and slowly pour in the tea, when you slowly warm it up, the mug absorbs some of the heat, and the tea typically does not curdle. Sometimes I pour the tea into another empty mug 1st, and let that mug get warm, (which reduces the temperature) Then I pour it into my milk and sugar that is in the drinking mug. I find adding Maple syrup & Milk to tea instead of sugar & Milk also makes it curdle, a small amount of syrup won't, but when I add too much it curdles every time! But not with every maple syrup, different batches of syrup seems to react differently. When I buy Maple Syrup on sale, it tends to curdle more. (must be older product) I drink Chinese black tea, called Puerh or (Bow Lay in Cantonese) I am also from the wet coast! Hope you are enjoying the slush and ice in 2016!