What is Dalgona Coffee and How to Make It at Home

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During the corona period, so many people, companies and products hiding in the shadows was unveiled all over the world, from homemade to traditional origins to factory manufactured.

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The food and drink industry were not left out of this revelation either as many delicacies have been discovered. Among these is the Dalgona coffee.

If you are a social media enthusiast (addict) or an internet pruner, there is a chance you might have come across this instant coffee delicacy that is going viral.

Also known as the “Quarantine coffee”, it has become one of the most searched brews of coffee worldwide during the COVID-19 lockdown.

History of Dalgona Coffee

Due to its global virility, the origin of this coffee and even its name are being disputed as multiple cultures seem to lay claim to their own versions been the original version.

The history of this whipped instant coffee goes way back than just a pandemic inspired YouTube trending video. Dalgona coffee can be connected to Macau (a small shipyard café where the drink adopted its name from).

This shipyard café is called Hon Kee Café; opened in the 90s and owned by a former shipbuilder, Leong Kam. As reported by CNN reported in 2013, after a workplace accident almost resulting in the amputation of his arm, Leong Kam considered alternate careers.

So he started the Hon Kee Café for shipyard workers, in the process of opening his café, he had to learn some kung fu techniques which helped him recover and also proved useful for making the labor intensive coffee drink.

Leong learnt the technique of repeatedly stirring instant coffee into a frothy texture in the year 2000 from a ‘foreign couple’ who attended the Macau Grand Prix yearly.

The grounds of the coffee are stirred so intensely that ‘dalgona coffee’ is now nicknamed the ‘400x coffee’; the name suggests it is been stirred 400 times. According to Leong, he found this technique so troublesome that he usually opted for regular old coffee.

This name dubbed quarantine coffee first brought to light and gained prominence during the social distancing order imposed in South Korea.

The naming and faming of this Do-it-Yourself (DIY) quarantine drink is credited to a South Korean actor Jung II-woo, who ordered a whipped coffee at an eatery in Macau during one of his appearance on KBS2 show.

He likened the taste to that dalgona (a type of Korean honeycomb toffee).

According to older YouTube videos, food blogs and recent reports from the Economic Times, the drink has long been known in India and Pakistan by many names, some of which include;

  • Indian Cappuccino
  • Phenti hui Coffee
  • PHeta (beaten) Coffee
  • Phitti hui Coffee
  • Hand beaten Coffee And other similar variations

The coffee extends further;

  • In Greece, it is known as a ‘frappe’ and it is been referred to as the country’s’ ‘unofficial national drink’.
  • In Libya, the drink is called the ‘cappuccino Libya style’, as simply put ‘Nescafe’.

Dalgona in Recent Times

Dalgona Coffee
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Under the hashtag #dalgonacoffeechallenge, homemade versions of dalgona coffee began spreading on South Korea and world food/drink YouTube channels before going viral on TikTok.

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The spike in interest during the quarantine period has been attributed to the calming ASMR-like (Autonomous sensory median response- a pleasant form of paresthesia) effects of watching online Do-It-Yourself videos.

Although the beverage was popularized as a homemade version of beaten coffee, it is becoming a menu offering in many coffee shops in South Korea. Though the Americans aren’t so keen on it, a large percentage of the world prefers instant coffee.

Instant coffee makes up “more than 34% of all the retail brewed coffee consumed around the world,” according to industry data, with most of its popularity in Asia, Australia and Eastern Europe.

How to make Dalgona Coffee?

As HuffPo pointed out in a 2017 post about the “Indian cappuccino”, the process is similar to the technique used for Cuba’s iconic café cubanos, which also follows same procedures as whipping a dalgona coffee.

Though the Cuban drink differ slightly in that it involves whipping hot espresso with sugar.

Ingredients for Dalgona coffee include;

  • 2 table spoon instant coffee or espresso powder
  • 2 tablespoon of coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of hot water
  • 400ml/14fl of milk
  • Ice, for serving

Procedure for making Dalgona Coffee;

  • Add instant coffee, coconut sugar and hot water to a medium mixing bowl.
  • Using a hand mixer or a whisk, vigorously whisk until mixture turns light brown, silky smooth and shiny
  • Continue whisking until it thickens and holds its lofty and forms a stiff shape peak when the whisk is removed
  • It takes 8 to 12 minutes to get optimal fluffiness if whisking by hand
  • Fill a glass most of the way with ice and milk
  • Then dollop and swirl the whipped coffee mixture on top, mixing before drinking if desired.

Recipe tips: For a Friday afternoon dalgona, beat in 1-2 tablespoon of coffee liqueur into coffee mixture.

Health Benefits of Dalgona Coffee

Coffee have been mocked for centuries and blamed to cause impotence and madness, other times it has been praised to be a cure for laziness or “gift from heaven”. But what are really the pros and cons of the dalgona coffee?

Caffeine, the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world, is the best-known ingredient of coffee. Its beneficial effects on the human body have been researched quite well but coffee as a whole is a complex beverage with a thousand different substances.  

Some benefits of taking dalgona coffee are:

  • Stomach acidity: Milk is a good source calcium and protein which helps to reduce heartburn and make way to ease digestion. Since milk is one of the applied ingredients for dalgona coffee, it can help relieve acidity. Calcium has an acid-neutralizing effect which helps builds the bone and muscles.
  • Lower glycemic index: Coconut Sugar is one of the ingredients for making dalgona coffee and it has a lower glycemic index of around 54 while table sugar has around 60. This helps to lower the rise of blood sugar. Glycemic index is a number from 0 to 100 that is designated or assigned to food.
  • Weight Control: Coconut sugar contains small amount of minerals, antioxidants, fiber which may help shed the pounds and it is healthier than table sugar. Also, coconut sugar should be taken sparingly(moderately).
  • Stay focus and alert: The dalgona coffee helps you to stay focused, alert, becomes more smarter, less tired when taken moderately on daily basis. It also helps in the improvements of your mental alertness while enriching your body. 
  • Depression: This coffee brightens your mood by stimulating the central nervous system and boosts production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine which subsequently helps fight depression and reduce the risk of suicide.
  • Dalgona Coffee can help fight against type 2 diabetes and liver disease because it contains many nutrients and antioxidants
  • Dalgona Coffee helps to reduce anxiety, stomach upset, restlessness, fast heartbeat etc. because it has low caffeine content.

Summary

In summary, dalgona coffee is quite different from your usual cappuccinos and regular coffee; dalgona coffee is made from instant coffee powder while cappuccinos are made from freshly brewed coffee on an espresso machine.

Dalgona coffee has a peculiarity of having coffee froth floating over iced milk. So, when you visit a café while why not request for the dalgona the world is talking about or better still make one for yourself as you spend the weekend with your love ones.

Sources;

Dalgona Coffee
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Ehikioya Hope
making my mark in the digital world, one post at a time.
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