I miss my local coffee shop. I visit whenever they have an outdoor pop up, but the plain black French-pressed coffee that I make in the morning doesn’t quite do it for me the same way that their maple oat milk lattes do (don’t make me feel guilty about the indulgence, I’m supporting local business).
But maybe there’s something I can make at home?
Recently, a viral internet video has taken the coffee world by storm: whipped coffee. Instead of whipping milk into a foam, as is traditionally done for espresso drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, instant coffee is mixed with water and sugar and whipped until frothy, then spooned over milk.
Whipped coffee has become especially popular in South Korea during the stay at home orders due to the coronavirus. The beverage itself is called “Dalgona coffee,” apparently named after a popular Korean candy.
Allegedly, the whipped coffee craze gained traction near the end of February when a popular Korean YouTuber posted a video of how to make the creamy drink. The clip now has over 4 million views. According to web research tool Google Trends, things really started taking off for whipped coffee globally around the beginning of March.
Now, whipped coffee is all over social media. A quick search of the hashtags #whippedcoffee, #dalgonacoffee on Instagram yields posts from tens of thousands of people making the creation. Whipped coffee is even more popular on the short video clip app, TikTok. One popular TikTok video that user @imhannahcho posted on March 14, and has since gotten nearly 12 million views. (I am personally a fan of the gourmet whipped coffee from TikTok user @succulentbite.)
I’ll admit that I’m not an active participant in social media. I have been especially resistant to TikTok for whatever reason — maybe because it makes me feel old, or maybe due to some of the unsavory press about its security and censorship practices — but the governor’s stay-at-home order has me exploring odd corners of the Internet that I never have before. Amidst absent minded scrolling through clips of bored dancing teenagers or coronavirus PSAs delivered by hamsters, these whipped coffee clips were a sight for sore eyes with oh-so-satisfying visuals and, frankly, sultry musical stylings.
I knew I had to try to make it for myself.
Here are the basic steps: mix together equal parts instant coffee, granulated sugar and water — in another, less viral version of @imhannahcho’s coffee adventures, she explains that she used two tablespoons of each — and pour it over either hot or iced milk.
Luckily, because I love camping and am a caffeine addict, I already had instant coffee from Cafe Bustelo on hand. Water and sugar were also readily available at my house (though I admit, the latter is getting in short supply with all the boredom baking I’ve been doing).
I whipped the instant coffee, water and sugar using a hand mixer. I have seen people on TikTok try to do it by hand with a whisk, but apparently it takes a while. With the hand mixer, it is nearly instantaneous. After less than a minute of whisking, my ingredients formed into fragrant, caramel-colored foam with the consistency of merengue.
I took a little lick off of the whisk. Surprisingly for how scrumptious it looked, the foam tasted extremely bitter, with that distinct, burnt instant coffee taste. I hoped that the milk would mellow it out.
I poured the coffee over a glass of cold milk with ice cubes. Initially, the foam floated on top and didn’t mingle with the milk. I stirred it around with my straw for a minute or so — a step that I did not anticipate, but highly recommend to integrate the flavors.
Once the layers of the drink melded, the result was delicious. It was like a fancy iced latte combined with a Vietnamese coffee. I even had my boyfriend (and cowork-from-home-er) sample it. He never drinks coffee and was put off by what he said was a “peanut buttery” consistency, but once started sipping it, he couldn’t get enough. Consider me the in-house barista.
If you’re missing your local coffee shop like I am, this is a great way to get your fancy coffee fix for cheap. It wasn’t as good as the drinks from my local coffee shop, of course, but for now, it will do. Plus, it made the morning feel a little bit more special. TikTok is good for something, after all.
Do you know of any viral home cooking, gardening or rabbit-rearing trends that Sam should try? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.