You may have seen it on Instagram or TikTok: a creamy, two-toned coffee drink amid the posts of push-up challenges, men growing mustaches and calls to draw a vegetable with your nose.
Known as whipped coffee, or dalgona coffee, the drink is made by whipping instant coffee with sugar and water, resulting in a butterscotch-hued foam that’s spooned over milk.
It first gained prominence in South Korea in January, after the actor Jung Il-woo tried it in Macau for “Stars’ Top Recipe at Fun-Staurant,” a popular television show. On the show, he said it reminded him of a South Korean honeycomb toffee confection called dalgona, giving it its name — and some traction. After the show aired, the drink went viral in South Korea, and has become a staple menu item in a number of coffee shops there.
“I never expected dalgona coffee to get this popular,” Mr. Jung said in an interview conducted through direct messages on Instagram.
Then, in early March, Hannah Cho, a TikTok user, uploaded a 15-second video of her making it for her mom, and it took off even further. (The video has been viewed more than 12 million times.) Ms. Cho credited its popularity with the fact that it’s an aesthetically pleasing, accessible drink to make at home.
For some, however, this isn’t simply a momentary trend; they’ve been making whipped coffee at home for years. In India and Pakistan, whipped coffee has long been a popular home brew, known as phenti hui. In Greece, the frappé is dalgona’s older, frothier sibling. And, more generally, there are versions that are shaken with egg whites and served with condensed milk.
Though it might not be the most viable option for your morning routine, this whipped coffee is a pantry-friendly way to try something new when the days can seem all too repetitive. “It takes time and patience, but it’s certainly rewarding,” Mr. Jung said.
How to Make Dalgona Coffee
Step 1: To make one drink, combine 2 tablespoons granulated instant coffee, 1/2 tablespoon sugar and 2 tablespoons hot water in a medium bowl. (You can use up to 2 tablespoons sugar for a sweeter drink.)
Step 2: Whip, by hand or with a mixer.
Step 3: Continue mixing until the mixture turns from foamy to frothy to creamy.
Step 4: Spoon the fluffy mixture over milk in a glass filled with ice. (You could also spoon it over warm milk for a hot drink.)
Step 5: Combine and serve.