Many things went viral on the internet these last few years, including Hallyu stars and K-Pop artists, like the Bangtan Sonyeondan, or Bangtan Boys, or in short, BTS. In terms of food, South Korea scores again, after the popularity of kimchi and samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly), with dalgona coffee.
Why did dalgona coffee become such a hit? Maybe because more people are staying at home today and want to try something different from their regular cup of instant coffee.
Dalgona coffee is whipped coffee over iced milk. It is easy to learn how to make dalgona coffee because it only requires a maximum of five ingredients in minimal amounts. But the story of how dalgona coffee came about goes far beyond the time it takes for you to prepare a cup of it.
What is dalgona?
For South Koreans, dalgona is a 1960s street food originating from Busan. It is a sweet treat that resembles honeycomb toffee. It is similar to Japan’s karume-yaki, sea foam of Maine and California, Wisconsin’s angel food candy, Britain’s cinder toffee or New York’s sponge candy. Dalgona feels like you are eating peanut brittle in butterscotch flavor.
Who popularized dalgona coffee?
Jung Il-Woo, a South Korean actor, is credited for coining the name dalgona coffee. He went to Macau for a TV shoot for the show, Stars’ Top Recipe at Fun-Staurant. He ordered a whipped coffee in one eatery in Macau and said that the taste reminded him of dalgona.
The drink he ordered was inspired by the Indian coffee drink called beaten coffee or phenti hui coffee (also known as phitti hui coffee). The Indian version pours the milk on top of whipped instant coffee.
The dalgona coffee you order does not contain dalgona. It’s the taste of the whipped instant coffee that resembles the taste of dalgona that made the name stick. Thanks to Jung Il-Woo, one of their traditional native sweets became viral.
How do you make dalgona coffee?
If you want to try making dalgona coffee at home, here’s what you should do.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. You need two tablespoons of instant coffee. The recipe will not work with any other type of coffee. Add two tablespoons of granulated sugar to the instant coffee. You can substitute with brown sugar or coconut sugar, although the foam will not be as creamy and frothy as when you use white sugar. Likewise, you can lessen the amount of sugar, but remember that the consistency will not be the same.
- Add two tablespoons of boiling water to the dry ingredients.
- Whip the ingredients for about three minutes or until the cream is lighter in color and the texture is close to meringue or marshmallow. Using the mixer will make the process faster and smoother.
- Add some ice cubes to your desired container, and pour a cup of milk over the ice.
- Spoon the dalgona coffee over the milk.
- Add a straw. Use the straw to stir the dalgona coffee into the milk. The creamy foam will not dissolve, so you will enjoy the creaminess and full flavor of the coffee plus the milk.
Remember that you can only use instant coffee to make dalgona coffee. The drying process used for instant coffee contributes to the creation of the foamy and dense coffee cream that makes the concoction unique.