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One Lump or Many?

Science brain teasers require understanding of the physical or biological world and the laws that govern it.


Puzzle ID:#38694
Fun:*** (2.85)
Difficulty:** (1.43)
Submitted By:Hrsemn4Aus****




The following is a true story.

My friends and I were enjoying the atmosphere (and food) at an authentic English pub in town. We all ordered tea, and the barmaid brought us all our preferred variety. She passed by each of us and asked, "Would you like milk or lemon?" One of my friends simply said "Yes" and quickly poured a bit of milk and squeezed a lemon wedge into his cup. He passed the milk back to the young lady who smiled and said "I'll be right back with another cup for you, sir."

My friend was confused at first, but upon her return he was happy to have a fresh cup. What had happened to necessitate a new cup of tea?


My friend was unaware that you NEVER add milk AND lemon to your tea as the citric acid in the lemon will cause the proteins in the milk to curdle, making for an unpleasant cup of tea indeed. The young lady had seen this happen before and moved quickly to remedy the problem. Afterwards, she only teased him a little about it.

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Oct 13, 2007

I don't drink tea, so I was stumped! Nice one.
Oct 16, 2007

Yeah, good one. I had thought about the different pH's at first and then realized about the protein in the milk and that the acidic nature of the lemon would cause the milk to go bad. Good one though. Keep up the good work.
Nov 05, 2007

The only reason I knew this one is because I read a book where someone did that!
Nov 12, 2007

When I worked in a restaurant I always served tea with both lemon and cream and saw this many times!
Jan 01, 2008

Got it after a lil' bit. Sounds like something I would do.
Jan 15, 2008

Nice one. Thanks for keeping me from an unpleasant circumstance!
Jan 30, 2008

who would've known
Apr 22, 2008

Hey people. This is true, but more specific. The true thing is, milk and any kind of juice must never me mixed together! If you put it together, most likely, you will have stomach pains and later, a bad case of (not to disgust though but) diarrhea. It is true. I experienced it in school. Once i got home, uggh! It hurt. Even my relatives recommended to drink milk and juice separately (best if 30 minutes apart). Hope this helps.
Apr 22, 2008

P.S. Hrsemn4, your friend is lucky!
Jun 02, 2008

I've had that happen to me when I would eat grapefruit for breakfast and then wash it down with milk. Blech, that was nasty! I never knew the milk actually curdled, though!
Jan 24, 2009

But if you mix 1 part milk with 1 part orange juice, you get something that tastes like an orange cream sickle. Yummy!

Also, your stomach is filled with HCl (a very strong acid), so any time you drink milk, it's going to curdled in your stomach faster than it gets broken down. It doesn't taste good if it's pre-curdled, but it won't harm you. I think it's more psychological or a case of food-poisoning. Of course, most people lose the ability to digest milk by the time they are a young adult, so it could just be a reaction to the lactic acid.

You'd be amazed at how many things people do everyday that they would consider totally gross if they considered it from a scientific view.
Aug 19, 2009

I did that once too
Mar 02, 2011

Being from Canada originally, I grew up drinking tea with milk in it. My daughter drinks it that way still. It never occurred to me to put lemon in at the same time; it doesn't sound good in flavor to me, never mind the interesting side effects! I've always known it would curdle...
Mar 02, 2011

I actually learned this from drinking cement mixers - a shot involving Bailey's Irish Cream and Rose's Lime Juice.
Mar 02, 2011

Very elementry, but I guess a lot of people are very unaware of the mixing of the elements.
Mar 02, 2011

Mar 02, 2011

Milk and lemon might not taste good in tea, but I always mix it when making pancakes. With a little sugar, and the rest of the ingredients - delicious!
(user deleted)
Mar 02, 2011

I knew that one!!
Mar 02, 2011

Good teaser. Fairly easy but still fun.
Mar 03, 2011

Any cook worth her/his salt knows that lemon will curdle milk. We often substitute lemon and milk in recipes that call for sour cream or buttermilk. Not too difficult to figure out what would happenn to tea with both in it.
Mar 09, 2011

Everyone in my house drinks tea so EZ!
Oct 10, 2014

@Auntiesis You beat me to it!!
Nov 22, 2014

That was an easy one. I just got it by thinking what else could it be but curdled. That was it1
Nov 22, 2014

When cooking, if I need sour milk or buttermilk and don't have any on hand, I will put a tablespoon of vinegar (has the same action as lemon juice) in a cup of milk and let it set for about 30 minutes. A good substitute for the above. I have done this for years. NICE QUIZ

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