Move over, unicorn and rainbow Frappuccinos – staying home in the age of social media means that the Internet now favours slightly more realistic trends that can be carried out in the comfort of our own kitchens.
Meet dalgona coffee – it takes five minutes to make (or slightly more if you don’t have an electric whisk), requires just three ingredients (all pantry staples and easily available) and should win you the approval of your Instagram and TikTok followers.
What is dalgona coffee?
Named after a Korean candy, dalgona coffee is arguably a latte or cappuccino in reverse. In dalgona coffee, coffee and sugar are aerated to create a cloud-like, foamy froth. This mixture is then dolloped onto milk, creating a two-layer coffee concoction – 2020’s answer to the Internet’s addiction to “fluffy” foods (remember soufflé pancakes?).
The term “dalgona coffee” was virtually non-existent in Google searches before late January. By February, several Korean YouTubers had started posting videos, and the rest, as they say, is Internet history. The #dalgonacoffee hashtag now has over 130 million views on TikTok alone (as of the time of writing), is used on more than 170,000 Instagram posts and has millions of views on YouTube (this video alone has been watched over nine million times).
Intrigued? Here’s how you too can make dalgona coffee from the comfort of your home...
- 2 tbsp instant coffee (use one without sugar)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp hot water (needs to be hot or boiling)
- milk (hot/cold depending on how you want your final drink; amount depends on personal preference)
- ice cubes (if you want your coffee iced. Obviously.)
A few things to note:
You can substitute the ingredients depending on your preferences/dietary restrictions (e.g., switch to a plant-based milk or use brown sugar), and some Internet variations swap instant coffee for matcha powder. You can also reduce the sugar amount (you probably should – two tablespoons just about maxes out our recommended daily sugar intake), but it’s a necessary ingredient to get that fluffy, whipped structure in your coffee froth.
An electric whisk is ideal to create the most Insta-worthy froth, but we’re guessing not all Hong Kong kitchens have the space (or need) for an electric whisk, so we kept it manual.
Generally, two tablespoons of coffee, sugar and hot water should create just enough froth to top one glass of milk and ensure it looks nice enough for your social media.
- Put the hot water, sugar and instant coffee into a bowl.
- Whisk the mixture until it is light and fluffy (note: if you’re whisking by hand, this might take about five minutes or more).
- Fill a glass about two-thirds of the way full with hot/cold milk, with/without ice cubes (per your preference).
- Spoon the coffee froth on the top.
- Photograph, photograph, photograph. Instagram/TikTok/YouTube.
- Enjoy your dalgona coffee!
In TikTok we trust? Let’s face it – there are a ton of random, often pointless and occasionally dangerous Internet trends that come and go. But dalgona coffee… might well be on to something.
The coffee foam tastes too bitter and sweet on its own (not surprisingly, since it consists of just coffee, sugar and water in equal parts), but mixed into milk, the final concoction tastes much better than I expected – creamy and smooth, kind of like a speciality drink I’d order at a hipster coffee joint if I weren’t practicing social distancing.
Be warned though – there is much more sugar and caffeine in this deceptively light and fluffy concoction than your taste buds might tell you. I added an extra shot of black coffee to my glass because it didn’t taste strong enough on first sip, but now my hands are jittery as I type this article. That said, in case my boss is reading this, I’ve also been way more productive than usual from this sugar/coffee high.
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