What Is Dalgona Coffee?

Back in the day, it seemed like coffee was the drink of choice for tough guys. You’d hear these characters in old movies say that black coffee would “put hair on your chest.” But, much like the film industry’s portrayal of masculinity, coffee has evolved. Frappes, lattes, flat whites, and various coffee milkshake concoctions dominate. Cool new coffee trends pop up on social media as well, which is how dalgona whipped coffee took off. What is dalgona coffee? What are dalgona coffee’s ingredients? Hang onto your whipped instant coffees because we’re going down whipped coffee TikTok to find out.

What is dalgona coffee? 

Dalgona coffee is a whipped instant coffee drink that originated in Macau, became a sensation in South Korea, and exploded in popularity as a viral trend on TikTok during the pandemic. Essentially, it’s just sweetened whipped instant coffee over some cold milk.

What is whipped instant coffee? And what are the other dalgona coffee ingredients?

Dalgona coffee’s ingredients are instant coffee, sugar, water, and milk. Using a 1:1:1 tablespoon ratio, whip sugar, water, and instant coffee. It’s best to use a hand mixer or stand mixer. Mixing by hand is super time consuming and tedious and can lead to mixing elbow which is like tennis elbow but not real. Once you have a nice froth, spoon it over some cold milk. Now you are ready to join whipped coffee TikTok. Don’t try and get too fancy with a nice instant coffee either. Basic works best. Some of the pricier fancy instant coffees are freeze-dried, which preserves the oils. Those oils get in the way of whipping the meringue texture. Plain old cheap instant coffee is usually spray-dried, which doesn’t trap the oils in the granules.

What is dalgona coffee’s origin story?

Dalgona coffee started in Macau. Leong Ham Kon, the owner of Hon Kee Café, says he learned about the drink in 1997 from a visiting couple. In 2004, he busted out the technique for actor Chow Yun-Fat who loved it, so it became a regular menu item. In 2020 Korean actor Jung Il-woo came to the cafe to film a segment for the show Stars’ Top Recipe at Fun-Staurant. When he tried the whipped coffee, he said it tasted like a melted version of dalgona candy, a Korean sweet with a toffee taste. The name stuck as the coffee made its way across South Korea and then onto TikTok. The photogenic coffee hit right around the pandemic when coffee shop regulars were staying home and were looking for easy-to-make recipes. Dalgona whipped coffee blazed across social media platforms and became the cool drink du jour. It’s a great way to enjoy some cold coffee on a hot day. Or if you’re like me, you don’t even need to drink it. I just use the frothy foam as a little hat.

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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