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: For 1: Whip 1 egg white with 1 tablespoon sugar, then add in 1 teaspoon matcha powder
- Dalgona Whipped Chocolate: cocoa powder instead of instant coffee, heavy cream instead of water
- Thai Whipped Milk Tea: Thai milk tea powder instead of coffee, stirred into hot water and mix with heavy cream to whip
- 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.
Whipped dalgona matcha latte.
Other flavor variations
Ok, so I can't seem to help myself in making a ton of flavor variations, like all my mayonnaise ideas and what to top with guinness coffee caramel sauce.
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 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon instant coffee and ½ teaspoon peppermint extract instead of the 2 tablespoon instant coffee. If you want to make it all chocolate peppermint, use 2 tablespoon cocoa powder. You get the jist.
I am also deep in love with chocolate and orange, both in cakes and hot chocolate, and so use 2 tablespoon cocoa powder + 1 teaspoon orange extract or orange juice instead of the instant coffee and cold heavy cream instead of the water.
Mix Baileys with the milk, about ⅓ Baileys and ⅔ 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 ½-1 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!
This dalgona coffee is perfect to pair with some healthy banana pancakes or not-so-healthy double chocolate banana muffins.
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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Saturday 2nd of May 2020
I was a bit sceptical as I was staring to whip the coffee, water and sugar, thinking "how can this be a thick foam." But I am amazed by the result, both me and my partner liked the finished result a lot! One question though. I think it was a bit too sweet with all the sugar, is it possible to sub it with something less sweet? Or maybe leave out some of the sugar? I like to cook so I often find my own subs for what I don't have in my pantry, and I was thinking about maybe trying to swap some of the sugar for cacao powder. What do you think?
Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice
Sunday 3rd of May 2020
Hello Elisabeth, so glad you liked it! I know it is very sweet, you can reduce the sugar a little (no less than 2 tbsp for this recipe), but unfortunately it also serves a purpose. The sugar helps stabilize and fluff up the foam, which is kind of the point with a dalgona coffee. But all things considered, you can definitely try to make it with just hot water and instant coffee, and see what happens - it will still be coffee! Other sweeteners that can work are monk fruit (although less fluffy), honey and maple syrup, stevia kind of works but is more frothy than fluffy. Hope this helps and let me know if you need anything. :)
Friday 17th of April 2020
I ‘m not a big coffee drinker but I would definitely try the whipped chocolate or Thai whipped milk variation! Looks delicious
Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice
Monday 20th of April 2020
Thank you so much, Anna! I love coffee drinks, but I also love chocolate drinks so it's nice to know our options!