New in the world - dalgona coffee

Dalgona viral coffee drink

A new coffee drink that was born out of TikTok. Itreminds many people of a true Greek frappé, but its origins are different.

Dalgona coffee is a drink that we can all make at home. It is made by whisking equal parts instant coffee, sugar and hot water to a creamy consistency and then adding it to cold or hot milk.

It can also be supplemented with coffee powder, cocoa, crushed biscuits or cinnamon.

Dalgona probably got its name from a popular South Korean candy called Dalgona, which looks and tastes like this coffee drink.

The origin of the Dalgona coffee trend

This viral trend was born during the quarantine of and where else but on social media. However, there are a number of factors behind its great success.

The quarantine didn't allow us to have our favourite drink at our favourite coffee shop. In addition, many people don't have a pro coffee machine at home to make coffee or even a selection of coffee. So, people started looking forways to make good coffee with options from home and at the same time, to somehow keep themselves entertained during the long days.

Videos of Dalgon coffee preparationstarted to appear, people started to imitate the recipes and try the coffee. This started a new phenomenon in the coffee world.

Dalgona coffee. Source:

The origins of Dalgona coffee date back to India.

Although Dalgona coffee only started to enjoy popularity across the world thanks to TikTok and Instagram during the pandemic, it existed long before that.

In India, for example, the coffee is known as Phenti Hui. The key difference between Dalgona coffee and its Indian predecessor is the order in which the two drinks are prepared.

Phenti Hui coffee is made by whisking equal parts coffee, sugar and hot water in a bowl until the mixture dissolves and a light-coloured froth forms. Then more water is gradually added until a larger amount of foam is formed. The foam is then added to the glass and topped up with hot water and milk.

For Dalgona coffee, the foammixture is usuallyadded with a spoon to the top of the cup, which is filled with ice milk and ice cubes, creating an attractive layered effect.

What baristas think of Dalgona coffee

When it comes to opinions on Dalgona coffee among professionals in the world of fine coffee, opinions vary. Some feel that it can be used as inspiration for other coffee-based drinks, while others are not particularly enthusiastic about it and just take it as a social media thing.

Vanessa Lee is a coffee consultant at Forbidden Bean, a selective coffee consultancy in Hong Kong.

She says Dalgona Coffee is worth trying and is a great inspiration for creative drinks. He adds that it's a good inspiration for baristas to explore the possibilities of creating different textures in the coffee itself, and that it's a good example of how the market is responding via Instagram to a drink that is more good looking than good tasting.

Others feel that the ingredients used in a drink can affect its quality.

James Hoffmann saysin his video about Dalgon Coffee that a big part of the drink is its simplicity. He points out that it always matters a lot what ingredients you use. As long as they are of good quality, the final drink will be of good quality too.

What does barista James Hoffman think of Dalgona coffee?

How to make a Dalgona coffee drink

Preparing Dalgona coffee is not difficult! After all, everyone else in the café has done it on TikTok, so you can do it too.

Ingredients for Dalgona coffee

  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • milk
  • ice (optional if you prefer the iced version)

Classic Dalgona coffee instructions

  1. Put 2 tablespoons of instant coffee, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of hot water in a taller glass and whisk until frothy and resembling whipped cream. Similar to whipped cream or heavy cream.
  2. Pour milk into another glass . It's up to you if you use hot milk or go for the original ice cold milk and ice option. Again, whisk until a thick froth forms.
  3. Finally add the prepared coffee cream on top of the whipped milk and you're done.

So the result is basically a reverse cappuccino, instead of the whipped milk added to the hot coffee, the coffee foam is added to the milk.

Preparing a drink from a selection of coffee

WithDalgona coffee becoming very popular around the world, it is natural that the select coffeeindustry would want to see if this drink could be reproduced using select coffee. However, this is a huge challenge.

Creating a Dalgona from a classic espresso may seem like the easiest solution, but James Hoffman notes that a standard shot of espresso will still be too runny.

Preparing Dalgona using an alternative method can lead to much better results.

The Space Roastery is a coffee roastery based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. They have created a version of Dalgona that involves preparing one part freshly ground coffee in an AeroPress with two parts hot water.

They then add this mixture and one part sugar to a bottle of water and shake vigorously for ten minutes to create a Dalgona-like froth.

It seems that using AeroPress can create a Dalgona-like texture reminiscent of the drink. Unfortunately, the froth created may lack the glossy texture and stiffness that is created when using instant coffee.

Although Dalgona is best created with instant coffee and doesn't leave much room for experimentation with the coffee selection, it is another inventive way for coffee lovers to maintain their interest in coffee at a time when visiting coffee shops may not always be possible.

The circumstances surrounding Dalgona coffee are not yet fully explored. But we don't have to worry about it disappearing from the coffee scene so quickly.