There’s a new social media star in town — one that’s all over everyone’s Instagram, with millions of views on TikTok. Nope, this isn’t a new persona, nor is it a celebrity icon; in fact — it’s coffee. Well, in all seriousness, this isn’t your generic, overpriced, aesthetically pleasing cup of caffeinated beverage. The latest in culinary trends to go viral is a smooth, cake-like confection called the Dalgona coffee. But, what exactly is it? This cool-looking drink has its roots in South Korean cafés. It consists of a base layer of milk, topped with a thick, caramel-esque upper layer.
The reason for its overwhelming popularity has been credited to its suave look, along with the satisfying visuals of its preparation. Watching a fluffy coffee drink emerge from just four simple ingredients made the viewers highly curious. Its ease of preparation added to the benefits, with almost everyone trying out the drinks for themselves. Apart from looking appetizing, the drink also served as a stress-buster for many people stuck at home due to the ongoing global pandemic.
While it may seem to many that this is a recent invention, this fluffball of a drink is not a new concept at all. In fact, according to a citation by India Today, Dalgona coffee is very similar to beaten coffee, a popular Indian coffee drink. “However, the only difference is that in our version of the Dalgona, we pour milk over that mix,” cites the publication’s article on the same. “In the case of Dalgona coffee, the frothy mix is added on top of iced milk to make it look Instagram-worthy.”
In addition to its Instagram-worthy aesthetics, another major factor for the rising appeal of Dalgona is its cost and ease of preparation. It requires only four ingredients, all of which are general staples present in your kitchen and takes barely two minutes to brew. The Dalgona is convenient enough to act as a viable substitute to your regular cup of sweetened coffee. All you require for making this concoction is instant coffee powder, hot water, sugar, and dairy milk, or any other milk base of your choice. Here’s a quick summary of the recipe: Mix together equal parts of coffee and water, and add sugar — 2 or 3 tablespoons each — using a standing mixer or a hand mixer, until the mixture turns into a frothy, light colour. In case you do not have a mixer, you can use a wire mixer, or even a fork, but this will require much more effort and time to achieve the airy consistency wanted.
Serve this whipped topping over the hot milk of your choice, and it’s picture-ready now!
If you do not have instant coffee, or dislike using it, you can also use regular coffee grounds too. To get the consistency of instant coffee powder, add a couple of your regular ground beans into a coffee grinder, and grind until it achieves a super-fine, powdery consistency. To mix it down further, have the coffee worked down through a meshed strainer,leaving only the smallest bits to be used for making your Dalgona. Continue on with the rest of your original recipe as instructed earlier.
Now, there is a lot of room to play around and experiment with the actual recipe. You can add various other ingredients to make your Dalgona more fancier, reminiscent of a dessert treat, in fact. Oreo cookies are a popular addition, and can be added in as your bottom layer. Cinnamon and cocoa powder is also good as a light, final topping. You can also make a mochaccino version of Dalgona coffee by adding cocoa powder to your actual coffee mixture. If you prefer iced coffee, you could simply add your whipped topping to a glass of iced, cold milk. And if you don’t like coffee in general, there’s an alternative for you too! There are various Dalgona-inspired milk tea, Thai tea, and matcha tea tutorials available online.