What is Dalgona Coffee?

whipped coffee dalgona coffee

Whipped coffee is not something new on our tables nor in our cafes. The concept is as old as the cafes themselves and very simple: mix coffee with a component that makes some sort of froth, like cream, whip it vigorously for a few minutes, serve.

The possibilities are near-infinite, it can be with or without sugar, with added cocoa, with cinnamon to top, with a spoon of ice cream, scooped on a hot cup of coffee, or over a cold brew. Whipped coffee is versatile, can be adapted to any season and it’s much, much easier to do than many may think.

The latest variant that has been taking social media by storm is called Dalgona coffee. Its origin is from South Korea, where it’s extremely popular, and has been spreading in western countries of late through captivating videos of its preparation on TikTok and Instagram.

The origin of the name is uncertain but it’s highly probable that it is connected with the dalgona or ppopgi candies, a type of toffee candies that was popular in South Korea around the 70s/80s especially.

They were made mixing sugar and baking soda and that recipe is not far from today’s Dalgona coffee in concept, as this uses instant coffee, water, and sugar, prepared and drank cold.

Both baking soda and instant coffee release carbon dioxide which makes the result “fluffy” and airy, like whipped cream. The idea of calling this Korean version of a whipped coffee “Dalgona” as the candies may be credited to Jung Il-woo[2], a Korean actor. Whether this is true or not we may never know for sure, as with many internet trends.

The whipped coffee is like a syrup for the coffee affogato. It’s just so good!

Royal Hark, YouTuber

But let’s go in order, how do you make Dalgona coffee?

The recipe is extremely simple and not at all different from whipped coffee elsewhere in the world. Use 1 or 2 (I found that 2 is better as there’s more mixture to whip) spoons of instant coffee, water, and sugar. You may use any brand of instant coffee, it doesn’t matter.

Same with sugar, some suggest brown sugar as it has a bit more flavor than white. As you prefer. Just make sure that water is hot as it is needed to easily dissolve the instant coffee, add all the ingredients together, and start whipping.

Many use a whisk or a simple fork to whip the coffee but that will take a long time. An electric mixer or milk frother will do wonderfully. Whip all the ingredients until the mixture is fluffy, somewhat firm, and of a light brown color.

At this point the coffee is cold. Put in a large glass or mug some ice cubes, pour the milk of your choice up to ⅔ before the rim and start, slowly, scooping the coffee froth over it. Use a spatula or a spoon. The ice cubes will help you keep the foam afloat. Then just serve. Your whipped coffee, Korean version, is ready!

The final cup of Dalgona coffee will be quite sugary (the 1:1:1 ratio of coffee, water, and sugar will inevitably make a sweet end result). It can be customized with cinnamon, cocoa powder, further sugar on the top, and even a few chocolate chips in it. The possibilities are plenty. Use milk of your choice, many like to pair it with almond milk as it is naturally sweet. Or the opposite, soy milk has a more subtle taste and won’t go in contrast with the coffee froth on the top. There’s no fixed rule in this so feel free to experiment.

Dalgona coffee is cold, refreshing and to be had with a teaspoon first to reduce the amount of froth, before accessing the underlying milk. Exactly as most whipped coffee around the world, they’re drinks that are creamy more than liquid, so they require a spoon to help you drink them.

Can Dalgona coffee be made with normally brewed coffee?

Unlike most other whipped coffee, it has no ingredient that can be whipped on its own, like cream, and thus the coffee itself needs to be “whippable”. Instant coffee can, a brewed coffee with little body, as with a pour-over method or a weak Moka brew, most probably won’t. A heavy-bodied espresso or, better, double espresso, should be able to generate a relatively high foam. Of course, any decaf coffee can be used as the caffeine content won’t make any difference during the whipping. Whipped coffee without caffeine has been served since decaf coffee was available after all, nearly 2 centuries ago.

Dalgona coffee can be made into a whipped tea either, by using a chai latte powder instead of the instant coffee or simply making more similar to a classic whipped coffee and mixing brewed tea of your choosing with heavy cream. A Dalgona tea is definitely a real thing. Again, the possibilities are truly infinite.

As a whipped coffee variant, the Dalgona coffee is only the last and most popular one. From the Viennese Wiener Eiskaffee, an iced coffee with ice cream served in Vienna, to the Italian classic Crema Caffé, heavy cream furiously whipped with a strong espresso and served cold, till the numerous recipes made popular by Starbucks and other similar coffee chains, whipped coffee are more known and appreciated than ever.

And with a recipe as simple as the Dalgona coffee, everybody can have one at home in a handful of minutes.

Conclusion

In summary, Dalgona coffee is worth the effort! Have fun making and whipping your coffee and get creative with this tasty treat. 

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