4. Discussion

4. Discussion

When we poured coffee into soy milk, there probably were less curdles at 30°C as it was the nearest to room temperature, thus the main factor that affects the curdling would be the acidity of the coffee which acts as a coagulating agent.

For the soy milk into coffee experiment, there was the least amount of curdles at 10°C as it is the coolest and since we were pouring soy milk into coffee, the proteins in the soy milk curdle at a slower rate as compared to pouring coffee into soy milk since the soy milk is able to ease into the coffee’s cooler temperature when the soy milk is poured in.




4.1 Analysis of results

When we poured coffee into soy milk, the optimum temperature for the least amount of curdles is 30°C, followed by 50°C, 20°C, 40°C and 10°C.
As expected, the temperature of coffee has an effect on the amount of curdle. However, our results varied from research and our hypothesis. Our hypothesis was that the higher the the temperature of the coffee, the more the curdle. This was not the case in our experiment for coffee to soy milk as our optimum temperature for the least amount of curdles is 30°C, which is the median of the temperatures we are testing.

However, when we poured soy milk into coffee, our results were drastically different. We had an optimum temperature of 10°C, followed by 20°C, 30°C, 50°C, and 40°C. Our hypothesis was correct to a certain extent. Though higher temperatures showed an increase in the amount of curdles, we realised that the mixture of coffee and soy milk at 40°C had more curdles than the mixture at 50°C.  

4.2 Key findings

Hence, we realised that pouring soy milk into coffee would actually cause the soy milk to curdle less as compared to pouring the coffee to soy milk for temperatures below 40°C.


4.3 Explanation of key findings

When we poured coffee into soy milk, there probably were less curdles at 30°C as it was the nearest to room temperature, thus the main factor that affects the curdling would be the acidity of the coffee which acts as a coagulating agent.

For the soy milk into coffee experiment, there was the least amount of curdles at 10°C as it is the coolest and since we were pouring soy milk into coffee, the proteins in the soy milk curdle at a slower rate as compared to pouring coffee into soy milk since the soy milk is able to ease into the coffee’s cooler temperature when the soy milk is poured in.

Therefore, for those who take coffee with soy milk are recommended to wait for the coffee to cool before adding soy milk if they want to decrease the amount of curdles.




4.4 Evaluation of Hypothesis

Our hypothesis was correct to a certain extent based on our results. There was indeed more curdling with high temperatures. However, for the coffee to soy milk batches, we found that there was almost the same amount of curdling in the lower temperatures as the higher temperatures. In fact, the middle range of the temperatures that we had tested had the least amount of curdle, which was 30°C.

Despite that, our test for the soy milk to coffee batches has proved our hypothesis correct as the optimum temperature for the least curdling was at 10°C. Hence, the higher the temperature, the more curdling.

In comparison with previous researches done by the kitchn (2011), the kitchn claims that pouring coffee into soy milk will actually cause less curdling as compared to pouring soy milk into coffee as it allows the soymilk to ease into the coffee’s temperature. Therefore, curdling less. However, our results have shown that pouring soy milk into coffee actually causes the soy milk to curdle less for temperatures lower than 40°C. The curdling at 40°C and 50°C are almost the same regardless of the sequence of pouring.

4.5 Areas for improvement

(1) Limitation: We failed to consider the rate of evaporation of the curdles. Even though we left the filter paper to dry for the same amount of time (24 hours), other external factors might have affected the rate of evaporation, such as the temperature, humidity level and windiness on the day. This may have affected our results as we left different filter papers out to dry on different days, causing our results to be less accurate.
Suggestion for improvement: We could leave the filter paper in a controlled environment, like a closed room with a constant temperature and humidity level.

(2) Limitation: We did not take into consideration the acidity of the coffee, which could have affected the amount of curdles formed. Even though we used the same brand of coffee, we cannot know for sure that the acidity of all of the coffee used is exactly the same as we did not measure the acidity of the coffee.

Suggestion for improvement: We could use a pH sensor to measure the acidity of the coffee.

(3) Limitation: Since filtering the mixture of coffee to soy milk takes at least 6 hours, we left the mixture to filter overnight. However, we did not consider that the rate of evaporation might differ on the different days, causing there to be an imbalance in the amount of curdles and mixture each filter paper contains.
We also did not realise that leaving the mixture to filter overnight would allow more time for curdles to form. We left each mixture to filter for a different amount of time, hence causing the amount of curdles formed while filtering to be different.

Suggestion for improvement: We could place the filter paper in a controlled environment to filter, and make sure that we let each mixture filter for the same amount of time.  

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