The world and especially social media is going crazy about this South Korean quarantine coffee; whipped coffee or also known as dalgona coffee. And it’s no wonder, I got instantly hooked too! Dalgona coffee is whipped to perfection, with a sweet and strong coffee flavored foam on top of cold milk. It’s like a reverse cappuccino!
Social distancing means no more coffeehouse visits, and for many that has been a big blow. To cope with this, we’re trying all the things on the world wide web. This dalgona coffee literally exploded in popularity once most people went into self-quarantine. And yes, getting your coffeehouse coffee fix at home is easier than ever with this drink. All you need are three ingredients, four if you count water.
What is dalgona coffee?
Dalgona coffee is cold milk topped with whipped coffee. The whipped coffee consists of equal parts hot water, sugar and instant coffee. Talk about an instant coffee comeback!
Who invented the dalgona coffee?
Actor Jung Il-woo is the one who gets the credit for at least naming this coffee. He encountered the drink in Macau, in a small shipyard café. He decided dalgona was a good name for it because it resembled dalgona honeycomb candy back home in South Korea.
However, there are many other cultures that also claim they invented it first. Some are India and Pakistan, Greece and Libya, and they are all making it the same way; whipping instant coffee with sugar. Read more about the disputed history of the dalgona coffee here.
According to Google Trends, the phenomenon started brewing early in 2020 and took off in the first week of March, coincidentally about the time everyone started social distancing due to the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to a spike in interest. It debuted on the social media platforms TikTok and YouTube, spreading quickly to Instagram and Facebook.
I noticed it first on Instagram, and got intrigued instantly by that delicious looking foamy whipped coffee.
I don’t like coffee, but want to try it, what do I do?
Dalgona coffee has a strong coffee flavor, and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (see what I did there). I am honestly one of those that can’t drink coffee neat, but with coffee and milk I love it. So if you’re like me, you will like this coffee. However, that’s not the case for everyone and I am absolutely no one to judge, so I have some variations for you to try:
- Dalgona Whipped Matcha: 1 tbsp matcha powder instead of instant coffee, simple syrup as the sugar + water and 2 large egg whites. Read how in the recipe card.
- Dalgona Whipped Chocolate: cocoa powder instead of instant coffee, heavy cream instead of water
- Thai Whipped Milk Tea: Thai milk tea powder instead of instant coffee
- Cookies n’ Cream Dalgona: my friend Angel and I discussed how to take the no-coffee dalgona to the next level and she took my chocolate dalgona and turned it into a delicious cookies n’ cream dalgona, doesn’t it look delicious?
Other flavor variations
I am a sucker for anything with chocolate, coffee and peppermint (hello peppermint mocha). And I think this dalgona coffee could also be made that way. Take 1 tbsp cocoa powder, 1 tbsp instant coffee and 1/2 tsp peppermint extract instead of the 2 tbsp instant coffee. If you want to make it all chocolate peppermint, use 2 tbsp cocoa powder. You get the jist.
Mix Baileys with the milk, about 1/3 Baileys and 2/3 milk (or whiskey, dark rum or kahlua, but then maybe just a couple of tbsp). Then top with either regular dalgona coffee, or dalgona chocolate! We all know Baileys work amazingly with both coffee and chocolate, like these cupcakes.
Here’s how to make it:
Add equal parts hot water, sugar and instant coffee to a bowl (1-2). With a handheld mixer, mix on high speed for about 10 minutes, or until light and whipped to soft peaks (3). I see some recipes say between 2-4 minutes, so maybe this depends on your mixer. It will splash and make a mess if you don’t cover the bowl with your hand, while you mix it.
Fill your favorite glass with milk, leaving about 1/2-1 inch (2 cm) at the top to fill with whipped coffee (4). If you want it extra cool, add ice to your glass before filling with milk, but I don’t find that necessary. More milk for me, please!
To avoid just slurping whipped coffee first, and only milk later, we want to top the milk with coffee a certain way. I am using the same technique as a classic Irish coffee here. Take a spoon and turn it up-side-down over the milk, then slowly pour the whipped dalgona coffee on top of the spoon and let the coffee run down slowly to top the milk. This way you get both whipped coffee and milk in one sip!
Did you like this recipe? Here’s more quarantine worthy drinks I think you’d like:
- Better-Than-Starbucks Peppermint Mocha
- Apple Caramel Latte Macchiato
- Classic Irish Coffee
- Creamy Homemade Eggnog (as you’ll be social distancing, no one knows you drink eggnog in April)
- Apricot Rosemary Gin Fizz
- Pomegranate Cucumber Vodka Lemonade (easy to make non-alcoholic)
- Ginger Lemon Iced Tea (equally easy to make with vodka)
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later! To make sure you’re never missing another recipe, please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter. As a thanks you will receive a free e-cookbook Travels Through the Seasons, with many delicious recipes from around the world that suit different seasons of the year.
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South Korean Whipped Dalgona Coffee
- 1/4 cup instant coffee 4 tbsp*
- 1/4 cup sugar both caster and granulated work, 4 tbsp
- 1/4 cup hot water 4 tbsp
- 3 cups milk of choice, about 700ml
- Add equal parts hot water, sugar and instant coffee to a bowl. With a handheld mixer, mix on high speed for about 10 minutes, or until light and whipped to soft peaks. I see some recipes say between 2-4 minutes, so maybe this depends on your mixer. It will splash and make a mess if you don’t cover the bowl with your hand, while you mix it.
- Fill your favorite glass with milk, leaving about 1/2-1 inch (2 cm) at the top to fill with whipped coffee. If you want it extra cool, add ice to your glass before filling with milk, but I don’t find that necessary.
- To avoid just slurping whipped coffee first, and only milk later, we want to top the milk with coffee a certain way. Take a spoon and turn it up-side-down over the milk, then slowly pour the whipped dalgona coffee on top of the spoon and let the coffee run down slowly to top the milk. This way you get both whipped coffee and milk in one sip!