Quarantine has upended our daily purchasing habits severely (while leaving a trail of unemployment and financial devastation in its wake). Since the coronavirus took over our lives, even those lucky enough to be able to work from home don’t have access to the same (often frivolous) storebought comforts we’d grown used to. Lunch breaks and coffee runs? They’re a thing of the past. What used to be a convenient excuse to peace out from our fellow employees for a few minutes of sweet solitude is now a panic-inducing act.
Enter the Instagram and Tik Tok friendly instant coffee drink, Dalgona. Named for the Korean honeycomb toffee it resembles, dalgona is taking social media streams by storm during the shutdown. The drink consists of three ingredients — instant coffee, sugar, and hot water — whipped together and poured over chilled milk. It’s as simple to make as it is visually pleasing. Better still, it utilizes easy-to-access ingredients and equipment, making it the perfect substitute for anyone who misses their craft coffee drinks but doesn’t have the ability to make a barista-quality drink with the gear they have at home.
Plus a decadent version of instant coffee? Could there be a more doomsday-friendly way to indulge amidst the chaos?
On YouTube, the most-watched Dalgona video is ASMR-style preparation video posted by South Korean YouTuber 뚤기ddulgi, which has raked in over 4 million views since February 22nd, inspiring many other YouTubers worldwide to follow suit and make their own videos. On TikTok the #dalgonacoffee hashtag has been viewed 108 million times. According to Vice, Dalgona even has traction across Facebook groups (still a thing!) and is blowing up on Twitter.
It’s only a matter of time before some late-night hosts jump on the trend and make it with their kids or whatever. If you don’t know it by name, you’ve likely at least seen the drink floating across your social media streams.
— Jeysi ✨ (@jeysijane) April 3, 2020
— chiqui aportadera (@pwettychiqui) April 3, 2020
So how do you make Dalgona and is it any good? Yes and yes. Does it match the level of craft you experience from your favorite local barista? Probably not. But we’re in quarantine baby — you’ve gotta do what you can with what you’ve got.
Here are the basics of how to make Dalgona Coffee.
What you’ll need: 2 TBSP Instant Coffee, 2 TBSP sugar, 2 TBSP hot water, and milk (optional, but use the milk, it’s better with milk). This is the recipe in most Dalgona videos, you can alter portions for your needs but it’s a basic 1:1:1 ratio.
What you don’t need: A whisk or electric beater.
- Combine ingredients together in a bowl or small cup and start whipping. You don’t need an electric mixer or a whisk, the mix will start to thicken up after about 2 minutes of vigorous stirring with any utensil. Use a chopstick or a fork in a pinch.
- Pour chilled milk (cow’s, oat, soy, whatever you want to do) in a separate cup over ice, filling the cup about halfway. For a visually stimulating drink use a glass.
- Spoon the Dalgona mixture on the top of your drink until the cup is full. Pro tip: a rubber spatula works if you have it.
- You’re done, share your process or the finished result to your favorite social media outlet. You’ll get so many DMs from people you never talk to that you’ll feel semi-famous for an hour.
It should be noted that while the drink looks incredibly sweet and decadent if you’re expecting frappuccino-levels of sugar here, you’re going to be disappointed. The instant coffee brings a blunt and bitter punch that’s only made slightly palatable by the sugar. If you like your coffee strong, you’ll appreciate it and the buzz it gives you will have you feeling pretty good for about an hour.
Several Dalgona videos mention that you can substitute instant coffee for Matcha tea powder, hot cocoa, and other instant mixtures. I tried my luck at a Matcha version with some tea packets and was never able to whip up the same thick mixture as I did with coffee — but feel free to experiment, God knows you have the time! It’ll be the most exciting thing that has happened in your household in the last two weeks.