Dalgona coffee, also known as whipped coffee, is the layered South Korean drink that is taking the internet by storm. This version, made with instant powdered espresso, is inspired by the flavors of Tiramisu and served with crisp savoiardi cookies on the side.
For the past two months I haven’t been able to scroll through any social media feeds without a recurring sight – glasses of milk with fluffy mounds of whipped coffee floating on top. Dalgona coffee is arguably the beverage of quarantine 2020. As a coffee enthusiast, I’ve been dying to try it for myself. It is made with instant coffee but the only kind of instant coffee I keep on hand is espresso powder. I’m happy to report that it whips into the most luxurious, sweet and intensely caffeinated clouds fit for topping ice cold milk.
The bold flavor of the whipped espresso reminded me of recipe, so I was eager to bring some of those flavors to this unique coffee treat.
Whipped coffee is made with instant coffee granules (in this case, instant espresso), granulated sugar, and hot water in 1:1:1 ratio. That’s fairly easy to commit to memory, and you can increase the amounts according to how many servings you need. I highly recommend using an electric mixer for efficient whipping. I’ve heard you can whip this coffee by hand, but it would take some time and major elbow grease.
After about 5 minutes on high speed, the mixture will become thick and glossy, and lighten considerably in color. It’s almost the same consistency and glossiness of meringue cookie batter.
I just love a layered coffee drink – and this one has about 5 layers! Prepared hot fudge sauce brings chocolaty goodness, while a little sweetened condensed milk in the bottom of the cup helps to make this beverage more dessert-like.
I added a little heavy cream for richness, and a nice big measure of ice cold milk to temper the intensity of the whipped espresso on top. If you pour the cream and milk into the glass over a spoon, it will not disturb the pretty abstract splashes of hot fudge inside the glass (see video for technique).
Serve with crisp lady fingers (savoiardi) and you’ve got yourself a proper afternoon pick-me-up! I also had some prepackaged pizzelles, and they were lovely crunchy treats with this drink, too.
I first sampled all the layers by dipping a spoon through them, which was nice, but in the end I stirred them all together for a blended sippable treat.
I am mostly skeptical of booming food trends, but I found that this one is worth the hype. If you’re a coffee lover, then it’s a must-try! It’s like sweet rocket fuel that will power you through the day. I’ve really been enjoying this drink, but not too late in the day. It’s potent and best enjoyed early afternoon, as to not disturb nightly slumber.
(Tiramisu-inspired Dalgona Coffee)
Yields 1 serving
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (tested with DeLallo)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon hot water
1 tablespoon hot fudge sauce, melted
1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2/3 to 3/4 cup ice cold milk (tested with almond milk)
1/4 teaspoon dark cocoa powder
Crisp lady fingers (savoiardi) for serving
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the espresso powder, sugar, and hot water. Whip on high speed until the mixture is thick and glossy, and has lightened in color.
Drizzle the hot fudge on the insides of a glass. Pour in the sweetened condensed milk. Pour the heavy cream over the back of a spoon into the glass, layering it on top of the condensed milk. Pour the milk over the back of a spoon also. Spoon the whipped coffee on top of the milk and lightly dust with the cocoa powder. Serve immediately with crisp lady fingers.
Omit sweetened condensed milk for a lighter, less dessert-like coffee drink.
For plain Dalgona coffee, use instant coffee granules in place of the espresso; whip and pour over ice cold milk.
Ground coffee will not work in this recipe, you must use instant coffee granules or powdered instant espresso.