Dalgona whipped coffee is a foamy coffee drink that dominated Tik Tok during March when many people were sitting at home in quarantine. Internet searches increased by
1,800% in March and another 1,700% in April, making it the most Googled coffee in the world.
Dalgona whipped coffee is a Korean coffee drink named after a sugary, foamy sweet from South Korea. This candy is the same color as the whipped coffee and tastes similar to honeycomb.
It’s easy to see why it took the world by storm, as the drink itself looks beautiful and tastes even better!
Dalgona whipped coffee is the easiest way to recreate that boujie cafe experience from the safety of your own home, with no special gadgets or ingredients required.
Why Is It So Foamy?
To make the dalgona part of the coffee, you mechanically incorporate air into the coffee mixture, creating a stable foam. A foam is a gas trapped inside a liquid or solid.
Foams are stabilized by things called surfactants – surface-active agents. They have a hydrophilic head and a hydrophobic tail that binds to the water and coffee molecules respectively.
This binding action makes the foam much more stable and allows smaller, more even air bubbles to form in the solution. This is what helps to create the foamy sumptuousness that we have come to know and love dalgona coffee for.
Coffee is made up of many molecules including protein, fats, and bigger polysaccharides (lots of simple sugar molecules bound together). These all help the foam to form and remain stable over a long period of time.
The sugar in the dalgona coffee is vital to create the luxurious foam we have seen all over social media. It dissolves in the water and increases the viscosity of the whisked mixture. It works similarly in dalgona coffee as in meringues, making it harder for the small bubbles to merge and move up through the foamed solution.
This makes the whipped coffee foam very stable. It also massively increases the volume of the resulting foam.
How do I make dalgona whipped coffee?
1tbsp instant coffee (decaf or non-decaf, both work well)
1tbsp warm water
1tbsp granulated sugar
A glass of milk (or non-dairy alternative)
Optional: coffee syrup
Optional: an extra shot of espresso
Whisk with an electric mixer for around 2 minutes, until the mixture has taken on a lot of air and doubled in size. The coffee mixture should turn a light caramel color and be stable enough to hold its shape.
If you do not have an electric mixer, a hand-held whisk should do the job just as well, however, the process will be a lot slower.
You can also put the coffee mixture in an empty Mason jar, screw the lid on tightly and shake until the coffee foam forms.
Add some ice and milk of your choice to a tall glass. If you are using coffee syrup, add this before the milk. If you want a serious caffeine hit, pour over a single shot of espresso.
Spoon the coffee mixture on top and mix well before drinking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make dalgona coffee without sugar?
Yes, you can, but the sugar plays a key role in stabilizing the coffee foam. Without sugar, it is likely to be more bitter in taste and the foam will deflate much faster.
You can substitute the white sugar for brown sugar if you prefer, as the softer texture will help it to dissolve more easily.
If you are drinking lots of these coffees and are worried about your sugar intake, you can substitute the sugar for an artificial sweetener such as stevia or aspartame, but your coffee foam will not be as fluffy.
Can I use ground rather than instant coffee?
Dalgona coffee will work with ground coffee, but will not work anywhere near as well as the instant version.
Why won’t my dalgona coffee whip?
There are 2 key reasons that your coffee may not be whipping. The first is that the water you used was not hot enough to dissolve both the coffee and sugar granules. It is not necessary to use boiling water, however, we have found the best results when we do.
If this still does not work, try increasing the volume of your coffee foam and decreasing the size of your bowl. This will allow the blades of your whisk to have more contact with the coffee solution and will help the foam whip up faster.
Can I keep the dalgona coffee foam?
The process is time-consuming and uses a lot of equipment, so many people began experimenting with storage of the dalgona foam.
Make a large batch of the foam and place it in a container in either the fridge or freezer. It will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge and longer in the freezer.
Dalgona coffee variations
Mix up the temperature: As fall and winter draw ever closer, try making dalgona coffee on a base of hot milk for a warming fall-time drink.
Switch out the sugar for maple or honey: Simply add the liquid sweetener to the bowl before whisking and continue as normal.
Use powdered sugar instead of granulated: Some people who have issues with the stability of their foam use powdered (confectioner’s) sugar in this recipe. They say that this makes the foam much thicker and speeds up the whipping process.
Add spices: People have used cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and vanilla to great effect in this coffee. Simply add the ground spice to the bowl before whisking and carry out the method as usual.
Make it a mocha: Add 1-2tbsp cocoa powder to the bowl before whisking to give your dalgona coffee a hint of chocolate/ If this isn’t enough, you can swap the coffee altogether for cocoa powder to make a whipped hot chocolate.
Make it keto: Use zero-calorie sweetener and some watered-down cream instead of milk.