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Dalgona coffee is the trendiest way to stay caffeinated during quarantine

It’s about time you caved to all the TikTok tutorials you’ve been watching on whipped coffee

My measurements were just enough for one serving, although I ended up splitting the whipped coffee mixture into four smaller portions to share.
My measurements were just enough for one serving, although I ended up splitting the whipped coffee mixture into four smaller portions to share.

It seems as if the best way to cure the quarantine blues is to spend hours and hours on TikTok and social media. In fact, baking and cooking tutorials on TikTok seem to be a big hit this season. One of those recipe tutorials features a fun twist on your everyday instant coffee, which can be easily repurposed since all the ingredients are probably already lying around in your kitchen.

Officially known as Dalgona coffee,  this viral treat consists of instant coffee whipped long enough to create a light and airy foam consistency that tops a glass of milk. Afterwards, the foam is stirred into the milk before drinking — a step that reminds me of all the fancy coffee shops I’ve been missing lately.

The name “Dalgona” originates from South Korea and is the name of a popular toffee candy that is made by heating together sugar, oil and baking soda. This treat is mixed rapidly until it gets thick before the mixture hardens into a crisp candy. The similar sugary taste and method of whisking the simple ingredients together explain this drink’s specific name. 

Although there are many different renditions of this process, many people find it worth whipping the instant coffee mixture by hand. This can take about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the endurance of the mixer — considering today’s circumstances, though, there is no reason why you shouldn’t take the time to savour the laborious process of doing it by hand. However, for those who are in a rush, the instant coffee mix can be whipped using an electronic hand mixer.

To recreate this trendy and refreshing drink, you will need equal amounts of instant coffee, sugar and hot water. I combined two tablespoons of each into a small bowl and simply whisked until the mixture reached the perfect, foamy consistency. It’s as simple as that. After filling up a glass of milk, the frothy coffee can be placed right on top, creating a beautiful, two-toned beverage that takes some effort to create yet results in an aesthetically satisfying Instagram post to add to your “quarantine” story highlights. 

When I tried this out for myself, I simply cut open a single serve packet of Korean instant coffee called Maxim. These packets are very popular in South Korea and within the Asian American community in America as well, as the packet contains both instant coffee grounds and sugar for a single serving. I added hot water to the remnants of the packet before realizing I didn’t have a hand whisk in my kitchen. This wasn’t an issue, though — I got the same results from using a metal spoon, despite it taking a little bit longer. The key in this step is to stir the coffee mixture as quickly as you can — without straining yourself, of course. Many people have joked and said that this is considered a “quarantine coffee challenge” because of its tendency to burn the arm muscles. I discovered that it was most effective to move the spoon in a zig-zag formation in the bowl to ensure that the coffee efficiently reaches its foam consistency.  

To pass the time while mixing, I listened to a podcast I had saved weeks ago — it took about 30 minutes until I was satisfied with the consistency. After adding the hot water, the color of your mixture should change from a dark brown to a light caramel color. The whipped coffee should also be able to float on top of the milk. Of course, the milk itself can be replaced with almond, oat or soy milk for non-dairy alternatives. My measurements were just enough for one serving, although I ended up splitting the whipped coffee mixture into four smaller portions to share.

After you have taken the mandatory pictures and posted them all over social media, this drink is best served after mixing the coffee and milk together, fully incorporating the two sections. The taste of this whipped coffee drink was almost luxurious despite its simple process. I was pleasantly surprised by the accurate replication of the pricey lattes I would occasionally treat myself to back in Charlottesville. Plus knowing that you’ve put in the physical work to get the foam consistency seemed to make it taste even better. 

Although I didn’t have a chance to do so, I could’ve easily swapped out the instant coffee and sugar for matcha latte powder to create a matcha version of this drink. To be even more creative, you can even opt out of the milk and use the whipped coffee mixture to top a simple bowl of vanilla ice cream or even brownies.