A picture of a Dalgona coffee on a wooden board with coffee beans scattered behind it.

Dalgona Coffee: Does it Live Up to the Hype?


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Dalgona coffee is a decadent frothy coffee made by whipping together instant coffee, sugar, and hot water until it becomes smooth and creamy with caramel notes. Then all you simply do is add it on top of cold or hot milk. Originating in South Korea around 1997, the drink did not become a virial craze until 2020.

What Made This Drink So Popular?

Dalgona coffee started to become popular in early March of 2020 due to the COVID 19 pandemic and a South Korean actor, JungII-Woo, ordering the drink on a Korean TV show. The drink is easy to make at home and that is what makes it the perfect beverage for the quarantined folks around the world. You do not need any fancy mixers or coffee machines, you just need either a whisk or a hand mixer. The ingredients are simple as well. All you need is instant coffee, sugar, and hot or cold water. Add the coffee, sugar, and water together and mix until it becomes smooth and creamy. The coffee will begin to change to a caramel color and that’s when you know it’s ready. Once it is all mixed and creamy get a cup and add the milk of your choice, put the coffee mixture on top and the drink looks like it came from a coffee shop. You’ll get the great taste and appearance of a café beverage right from your home.

Where Did Dalgona Coffee Originate?

Dalgona coffee wasn’t named Dalgona in the beginning. Originally it was named Chow Yun-fat by a man named Leong Kam Hon. Leong decided to open a small business when he had an accident at work and lost an arm. Leong made his first Chow Yan-fat for a tourist couple in 1997 but it wasn’t until 2004 that the beverage became popular. Once Leong noticed that the tourist visiting South Korea enjoyed the beverage and was requesting it often, Leong decide to add it to the menu. The beverage went viral early in March of 2020 due to the increase of DIY videos and TikTok for the stay at homers. The recipe and video first started on YouTube videos in South Korea. Over the new few years, the video progressed to US YouTube and then moved to TikTok.

New Variations of Dalgona Coffee

There are many different things you can do to make this simple recipe your own. You can use decaf instant coffee instead of regular coffee. You can use milk, cream, or half and half and you can dress it up with a beautiful decoration using cocoa powder, crumbled biscuits, or honey. That will give you that amazing look as if you just got it from a café shop.

The true question is, is Dalgona coffee worth the hype it has received thanks to YouTube and TikTok? The only way to answer that question is to try and make it yourself. The creamy caramel color and frothy finish are defiantly worth a try. Plus you can’t beat the fact you can make this masterpiece right from your own kitchen with little tools and simple ingredients.

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