Mel’s Coffee Travels is about coffee and traveling, mainly. Exploring different café and coffee cultures in foreign countries across the globe. Recently though, we’re all rather stuck at where we are and might only be able to visit other (coffee) cultures from the comfort of our own homes. Just like me.
People who know me were very surprised, when they learned I’d be going back to my hometown to live there, a 13,000 people town in Eastern Germany. After living in several big cities such as Frankfurt and Berlin, after going abroad traveling half of the world, I’m back to having my own home base, making myself comfy, building my own coffee kitchen.
With the current situation – C-times – people again ask me,
Mel, how about you? How do you feel? What about your (travel) plans?
Maybe it’s because I’m getting older or maybe it’s because I just kinda adjust to what’s going on around me, I’m not making any plans as of now, travels or no travels. I decided to stick with staying and working from home – writing and taking food photos.
With being a coffee lover that lives on and works in coffee, the Internet and Social Media is full of creative ideas, tutorials, ‘how to’s’ and what not at the moment. I barely couldn’t stumble across that hype going on for a couple weeks already now: Dalgona Coffee.
This photogenic peanut butter like fluffy foam on top of an ice-cold milk beverage is going viral on all channels, Instagram, Tiko Tok, and YouTube.
The specialty coffee enthusiast inside me made my toes curl when thinking of the ingredients that are being used for Dalgona Coffee, which is instant coffee, freeze dried coffee of the worst of all qualities and sugar.
I could never ever give that a try… But, yeah, I did eventually, because the food photographer in me wanted to create some new visual content and the curious chef in me wanted to try new recipes.
So, here we are with six (6!) different Dalgona Coffee and Dalgona Matcha beverages for you to try at home, one even with some booze in it.
What is Dalgona Coffee?
First things first, though. Dalgona Coffee is named after a sugary sweet toffee like childhood memory (Korean 달고나 커) 피) and street food from South Korea. Singi, my YouTuber and coffee friend explains how to do the Dalgona sweet treat here.
The color just as sort of the taste reminded people of that treat, when they first tried Dalgona Coffee, which basically is instant coffee, sugar and hot water in equal parts whisked until it gets all foamy and creamy that basically tastes like honeycomb with an intense coffee aroma.
Iced coffee beverages like Dalgona Coffee aren’t really new, the Greek Café Frappé or the Phenti Hui Coffee from India or even the Ca Phe Trung (Egg Coffee) from Vietnam use similar methods to create a sweet caffeinated treat.
With all of us being stuck at home and missing all those Lattes and Frappés, all those fancy coffee beverages that we usually get in our favorite cafes and coffee shops, we are longing for an easy to make coffee drink that is even challenging us to make the prettiest one on our Instagram and other Social Media accounts. On Instagram alone the Hashtag #dalgonacoffee is being tagged for over 400k times in the past weeks and months.
Will my attempts be only one more of these? Maybe! But read on dear coffee fan, I’ll provide some interesting twists on that original recipe as well as two versions with Matcha and even a coffee cocktail that my friend and brewing bartender, Timon Kaufmann created just for this article.
1. Dalgona Coffee – The Original
What you need for one glass of Dalgona Coffee is a glass of you favorite milk or milk substitute (I prefer oat milk, usually a Barista edition) and ice cubes. For the Dalgona foam take two table spoons each of instant coffee (I bought an organic version, just gives me a better feeling), sugar, such as cane sugar, and hot water. The latter is essential to help dissolve the instant coffee granules and the sugar.
After several minutes whisking with an electric mixer or using a hand whisk – don’t start trying it with a spoon as they showed it in early tutorials, it’ll take ages to foam – until it gets nice and fluffy. Don’t over mix, though, otherwise you’ll end up with a very stiff expanding foam like texture. Not so photogenic anymore in my eyes. But it’s all about preferences, of course. ;-)
Scoop your Dalgona foam on top of your ice-cold milk beverage, stir and enjoy! I’d rather not recommend drinking it without stirring, it’s just too overpowering on the sweet side. Mixing it with the milk will give you a sweet iced coffee that’s even vegan, when using plant based milk.
I’ve also seen versions of the Original Dalgona Coffee using agave syrup instead of sugar and adding vanilla extract to the mixture. I haven’t tried this, but sounds yum, too.
2. Dalgona Coffee with brewed coffee
For this recipe I borrowed the tips of this article right here, but didn’t really stick with all the instructions, i.e. using a cooking thermometer, which I don’t have and also don’t necessarily need in my opinion.
For one glass of this Dalgona Coffee alternative you need:
- 100ml freshly brewed coffee. Use a Mokka pot, if you have, because it brews you a strong coffee in an instant. Save 50ml for later.
- 50g sugar (I used cane sugar)
- 1 egg white, room temperature
- lemon juice, about 1/8 teaspoon
- 250ml milk or plant based milk (I used oat milk)
- one glass with ice cubes
For the coffee syrup mix 50ml of the freshly brewed coffee with the sugar in a small pan and let it dissolve on medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar starts to caramelize. Keep doing this for about 10 min otherwise the sugar starts crystalizing and will stick to the bottom of your pan and burn. The coffee syrup reached its right consistency, if drops of it will stick to your stirring spoon, just like when cooking jam.
Once the coffee syrup is done using an electric mixer whisk your egg white together with the lemon juice until soft peaks begin to form. Slowly and steady add the coffee syrup while beating until all of the syrup is fully incorporated into the meringue and has a nice thick and shiny appearance.
Finally fill a glass with ice cubes and your favorite milk and scoop the Dalgona Coffee meringue using a spoon on top of your glass. The consistency of this version is slightly more liquid-ish, so be careful, when putting it on top.
This Dalgona Coffee alternative is less intense coffee aroma wise, hence the last step of this recipe is to use the leftover 50ml brewed coffee and pouring it into the glass. Mix to combine and enjoy!
I really loved this alternative to the original Dalgona Coffee recipe, since it’s less sugary and has more of this sweet iced coffee flavor that we all love.
3. Dalgona Specialty Coffee
Once I started digging deeper into this Dalgona Coffee topic, I asked myself, if someone actually thought about using instant specialty coffee for making our fluffy coffee beverage?! And, yup, there is at least one guy who did: James Hoffman. Watch the video of him preparing a regular Dalgona Coffee and the version with instant specialty coffee here.
After seeing this video I felt challenged myself to try this. With having a sachet of instant specialty coffee by Berlin Coffee roastery The Barn still sitting on my coffee shelf, I definitely had to give this a try.
The thing with the tiny sachets of instant specialty coffee is, it contains way too little coffee (4.4 grams) to make a proper portion of Dalgona coffee fluff. I had a hard time not to dilute the whole mixture, as James warned in his video, yet I still failed to create a nice creamy foam. One sachet just doesn’t hold enough instant coffee to whisk with either an electric mixer or a hand whisk. You’d need at least 2, if not 3 sachets.
Since I only had this single one left, I still tried my best with this one. Result: The color is super nice compared to the original Dalgona recipe, but the texture is by no means comparable.
What about the taste? Well, since I used Oatly Barista, one of my favorite plant based milks, and mixing this with my rather liquid-ish Specialty Dalgona cream, it actually is quite delicious. Way better than the Original Dalgona Coffee and even better than the Dalgona Coffee with brewed coffee.
4. Matcha Dalgona
This article wouldn’t be complete without also giving tea, in that case Matcha, a stage, too. People who know me and my Instagram account are aware that I’m not only into coffee, but also into Japanese tea. Because I am, I spent three months on a tea farm in Wazuka/Japan in spring 2019 (I yet have to write a recap of this incredible stay) to learn more about harvesting, processing and preparing Japanese tea and beyond.
Out of that reason, another viral trend using Matcha had to be part of this article, too. Not quite as popular, but nonetheless pretty, Whipped Matcha or Dalgona Matcha (Latte) basically uses the same principle as my Dalgona Coffee with brewed coffee, making a sweet meringue.
Unfortunately Matcha powder still has too much moisture to use it the same way as instant coffee and with the same 1:1:1 ratio, hence the trick making the green egg white foam.
For my Matcha Dalgona I used the recipe from Floratcha, a Munich based Matcha Blogger.
What you need:
For the whipped Matcha topping
- 1 – 1.5 teaspoons Cooking grade Matcha (I used this one from Obubu), sifted
- 1 egg white
- 2 tablespoons cane sugar
- 2 tablespoons warm water
For the Matcha-milk
- 150ml milk or plant based milk (I used oat milk)
- 1 teaspoon Cooking grade Matcha (see above), sifted
- glass with ice cubes
- Sift 1 teaspoon of the Matcha and mix with 50ml of the milk. Set aside.
- Whisk the egg white with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
- In a small bowl mix the 2 tbs water and 2 tbs sugar until the sugar dissolves. Gently incorporate into the egg white.
- Slowly add the 1-1.5 tsp of the sifted Matcha into the egg white and continue beating until the foam turns into a really nice green color.
- Take the glass with the ice cubes and add 100ml of milk into the glass.
- Topp the glass with your whipped Matcha with a spoon.
- Finally add the 50ml Matcha milk by pouring it into the glass without destroying the Matcha foam.
- Take as many photos and go viral as you like! Lastly stir and enjoy!
5. Vegan Matcha Dalgona
My diet is a mix of vegetarian and vegan food. I’m a veggie cook at home and also like to experiment with different ingredients supplementing eggs or dairy products, too, to make things vegan.
When Flora suggested to try her recipe while using Aquafaba, the water of a glass of chickpeas, I was challenged to do exactly that.
I compared both Matcha Dalgona side by side and also invited a friend over to try-taste them. I did like the Aquafaba-version better, not only for the look (the foam is super fluffly and creamy), but also for the taste. No chickpea or salty taste, as I read in some Blogs or posts trying similar recipes, but a very nice Matcha intense cream.
I basically stuck to the very same recipe as shown above, but swapped the egg white for the same amount (measure an egg white before beating! Mine was about 35grams) of the Aquafaba liquid. Proceed with all of the other instructions as written above.
6. Dalgona Coffee Cocktail
I saved the best for last, a Dalgona Coffee Cocktail! I love coffee cocktails, hence I asked my friend and brewing bartender Timon Kaufmann to create a recipe that uses similar ingredients compared to the Dalgona Coffee beverage, but by adding some nice booze to give you the kick that we all needed, C-times or not: Tadaaa, the Dalgona Eggnog.
It’s a twist on a classic Eggnog, so has a raw egg in it. If you’re not up for beverages that contain raw eggs, this one might be not for you, I’m afraid.
Timon’s Dalgona Eggnog is topped with a creamy Espresso meringue made from a freshly pulled Espresso, preferably one from the stronger side, maybe even a blend with Robusta.
Here goes the recipe:
For the Dalgona Eggnog
- 2 cl Spiced Rum (Timon uses Remedy)
- 2cl Port (Timon uses SixGrapes of Grahams)
- 4cl full fat dairy milk or any other dairy free milk you have on hand
- 1 bar spoon simple sirup to taste. Timon suggests to always try the mix before shaking. If it’s just a tiny bit too sweet, it’s gonna be perfect after shaking.
- 1 egg (egg white and egg yolk)
Dalgona based on an Espresso shot
Making the Dalgona Espresso Meringue
Separate the egg. Whisk 5cl of a freshly brewed Espresso together with 20 grams of cane sugar and the egg white until soft peaks form.
For the Espresso use a coffee that contains Robusta, since it often foams better (crema). When not using a Robusta or Robusta Blend, grab a classic coffee. Nuts, chocolate, creamy, but nothing fancy, that’s what we’re looking for.
If you have, make the Espresso foam in a whipped cream dispenser, a siphon. Adjust the amount of the ingredients accordingly.
Using a Cocktail Shaker shake well the milk, the Port, the Rum, simple sirup and the egg yolk on ice cubes. Strain in a Coupette or a Sherry glass as I did and quickly top with the Espresso Meringue. This last one is crucial, since the Espresso will separate from your egg white faster than you might think. Preferably top the glass with the Espresso foam right before serving / drinking.
Phew, six Dalgona Coffee recipes… What have been my favorites?
Definitely the Dalgona Coffee with Specialty Instant Coffee, flavor wise. The Vegan Dalgona Matcha is also in the top 3, I’ve been just too blown away by how well the Aquafaba works in that beverage! The Dalgona Eggnog by Timon is my Number 3, creamy and with just the right amount of booze.
What’s your favorite?