These past few weeks have consisted of adjusting to a new reality. Like many, I have been working from home, logging onto my Zoom classes, and using up way too much screen time — specifically on TikTok. Although I swore I would never download that app, here I am trying out a recipe for Dalgona coffee, a whipped coffee creation that rocked the world when it went viral on TikTok.
After all, this is the perfect time to try out fun recipes I normally wouldn’t have the time or energy for.
What exactly is Dalgona coffee?
If, like me, you find yourself missing $6 cups of coffee, snapping an Instagram-worthy picture, and sipping bittersweet frothiness, I’ve got a fun recipe for you to try at home. Dalgona coffee was born out of the quarantine coffee challenge, a social media trend that originated in South Korea in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, encouraging people to try fun, stay-at-home activities like making creative coffee drinks. This particular recipe elevates your typical cup of instant coffee by turning it into a sweet, creamy, and thick foam that you pour over an iced glass of milk, creating a cloud-like appearance.
Dalgona coffee was given its name because of how much it tastes like and resembles the Korean candy Dalgona. While this specific form of whipped coffee is trending right now, India Today reports that a similar variation called “Phenti coffee,” or beaten coffee, has been around for a while — the difference being that Phenti coffee calls for the fluffy mixture to be placed at the bottom of the drink.
I adapted a recipe from the Los Angeles Times, which calls for three simple ingredients poured over ice-cold milk. I found the process to be simple and quick; it only took 10 minutes.
Dalgona Whipped Coffee
Start to finish: 5-10 minutes
2 tablespoons instant coffee
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons hot water
1 cup whole milk
Combine coffee, sugar, and hot water into a mixing bowl.
Beat the mixture for 3-5 minutes using a hand mixer, or until the mixture takes on a thick consistency and becomes golden brown in color.
Use a spatula to remove the mixture from the bowl. Pour the milk into a glass with ice, then place the mixture on top.
*This recipe works best for a single serving. You can adjust as needed but always maintain a 1:1 ratio.
When making this recipe, I was surprised by how quickly the fluffy, golden foam materialized. I didn’t even use the hand mixer properly (and created a mess in my kitchen), but even so, I was ready to dive in.
I didn’t get the artsy results I was hoping for, and my mixture didn’t have the thick, peanut butter resemblance I was aiming for — it was very much an expectation versus reality moment. But keep in mind that the ingredients you choose will affect your final result. The recipe calls for granulated sugar, but I used brown sugar instead. I also used Nescafé Café de Olla instant coffee, and for the milk, I used Oatly Original Oat Milk.
That being said, when it comes to the flavor, I never expected that instant coffee could feel so glamorous. Although the consistency was not what I was expecting, it was still light and airy, making it enjoyable and pleasantly sweet.
This recipe isn’t something I would make every day, but it turned simple ingredients that I often overlook, such as instant coffee, into something delicious. It was also such a fun shelter-in-place activity, and, of course, I got some pictures to post on Instagram!