Coffee 101: The Real History of Dalgona Coffee
Let's explore the history of Dalgona coffee and why it has become so popular. Plus an easy Dalgona tutorial as a bonus.
Whether you’re an avid or amateur coffee drinker, you may have heard of Dalgona coffee. You might have also heard it referred to as whipped coffee or Desi coffee. It’s made by taking sweetened instant coffee beat into a thick foam.
What is Dalgona Coffee?
Dalgona coffee is a type of frothy drink made from whipping equal parts instant coffee, sugar, and water. It first become popular back in early 2020 when a video went viral challenging people to make their own Dalgona coffee.
Dalgona comes from the Korean word meaning “sweet.” It’s the same word used for a popular sweet toffee snack sold in Korea. The street candy is sold in almost all Korean cities and has been around since the 1960s. If you have never tried Dalgona, it almost tastes like butterscotch. The consistency is closer to peanut brittle though.
If you have the chance to visit Korea, you can find this street candy almost anywhere. It’s made with melted sugar and a small amount of baking soda.
How Was Dalgona Coffee Invented?
Dalgona coffee has been around since the 1960s. Most people didn’t know about it though until a popular Korean actor was shown drinking it in the popular TV show “Stars’ Top Recipe at Fun-Staurant.”
Many people saw the actor drinking it on the show and then attempted to make their own version of it at home while filming the process. The trend came at the start of the COVID pandemic when people were at home making TikTok videos.
More and more people started to make Dalgona coffee at home tagging it as #dalgonacoffeechallenge. The sharp rise in the popularity of the drink is partly because so many people were stuck at home making TikTok videos during this time.
Drinkers in the USA compared the drink to Beaten Coffee or Desi Cappuccino. These drinks are also made with instant coffee, sugar, and water. All ingredients are beaten together rapidly. Once the foam is formed, it’s ready to drink.
Making the Perfect Dalgona Coffee
Since the base of Dalgona coffee is instant coffee, make sure you buy high-quality instant coffee. This will ensure the drink has a good flavor and good texture. Since the drink will be whipped with sugar, most people choose to use plain instant coffee. You can try using a flavored variety though if you want.
Mix equal parts instant coffee, sugar, and water. Two tablespoons is usually a good amount. Use more if you are making the drink for several people.
Whip the coffee, sugar, and water with a whisk or hand mixer. It should take about 5 to 10 minutes before it forms a thick foam. You can then pour the mixture over ice and milk. The foam should stay on the top if made correctly. It should mix with the milk as you drink it.
Can I Make Dalgona Coffee at Home?
Most people who joined the viral internet trend made Dalgona coffee at home. Since it only requires four ingredients, it’s very easy and cost-effective to make.
Keep in mind that the first time you make it, it might not turn out like the videos and pictures you have seen.
It requires constant whipping which can get tiring for many people. If you have a standing mixer, you will find the process to be much easier. Even using a frother is easier than trying to whip for 10 minutes by hand.
If you need help, you might want to find some tutorial videos on TikTok or YouTube. Many Korean influencers have made awesome videos showing the perfect technique. They also discuss ingredient ratios for the perfect flavor.
Who Created Dalgona Coffee?
There is some dispute over who actually made Dalgona coffee. Many countries have some variations of whipped coffee making it hard to know the exact origin. It most likely came from a country that regularly drinks instant coffee though.
In India and Pakistan, there are many different types of whipped coffee drinks made from instant coffee. Greece is also said to be one of the first countries to invent the frappe.
Many people think the drink originated from Korea though since a Korean show is what made it popular. The name also stems from a Korean word.
What Does Dalgona Coffee Taste Like?
This depends on the instant coffee you use. People who used strong instant coffee describe the drink as almost bitter. This can be fixed by using more sugar or less coffee though. Dalgona coffee should be more on the sweeter end than bitter.
If you use a light instant coffee and sugar, the drink should come out airy and sweet. Many people also say that Dalgona coffee at a restaurant is often sweeter than the one made at home.
Where Can I Drink Dalgona Coffee?
If you don’t want to make the concoction at home, you might be wondering where you can try it. Most places in the United States do not serve true Dalgona Coffee. You will be able to find frappes or other coffees though in many coffee shops.
If you’re in Korea though, you will be able to find Dalgona Coffee at most coffee shops. In Seoul and other large cities, it’s almost always on the menu.
Is Dalgona Coffee the Same as a Frappe?
While they appear similar, they are not exactly the same. Dalgona coffee is much creamier with a more intense flavor. They drink the same though.
Both coffees should be drunk slowly so that you don’t end up just drinking the foam by itself.
Dalgona coffee is popular in Korea. It became popular in the US after a viral TikTok challenge. Most people find Dalgona coffee easy to make since it’s just a few simple ingredients.