What I Learned from the Dalgona Coffee Challenge

Well, I’m a little behind on the trend, since I'm working from home and self-isolating, I just had the chance to go to the grocery store and get instant coffee, so I could try the social trending whipped coffee called Dalgona coffee.

Googles definition: Dalgona coffee is a beverage made by whipping equal proportions of instant coffee powder, sugar, and hot water until it becomes creamy and then adding it to cold or hot milk.

The Dalgona coffee challenge started in January when Korean actor Jung Il-woo showed how to make the drink during a television appearance at his home. Since, many videos have popped up on how to make it. There are also several variations and new trends that have branched off from the original, including a Strawberry Milk version. Being a little "older", I like to say I always get to trends late, but I am speaking for myself. I'm also not a foodie or a particularly good cook. I can follow recipes, and I like good food, but I've never had the inclination to whip up masterpieces in my kitchen. So, when I make something I like, I feel fancy. I've never been much of a coffee drinker. I didn't even really start enjoying coffee until my 40s. I don't like it black. I must have cream and sugar. My weakness is sweets and I can't have just one, so I try to steer clear of sugary drinks all together. I haven't seen any versions of this drink that use alternative sweeteners. They may be out there, but I haven't really looked for them. I knew I wouldn't use sugar for my version, that I would use Stevia instead. I figured if it didn't work, oh well, I would just have a bottle of instant coffee hanging out in the cabinet for years. Apparently this drink will not work with traditional coffee. You must use instant. Instant coffee has never been on my shopping list. It's something my Grandma would get out for guests she wasn't too fond of or because she didn't feel like brewing a pot. I never liked the smell. So different from the coffee and bacon smell that always reminds me of childhood breakfasts at my Grandparents. As a coworker said, instant coffee is bitter. I had no idea that I would actually like it, but in an alternative form. In fact, coffee flavored milk is my new favorite thing. My version looks much darker than the caramel looking online versions I've seen, and I'm assuming that's because I didn't use sugar. It looks more like chocolate or well, coffee.

So, how did I make it?

  • 2 tablespoons of instant coffee
  • 3 (2g) packets of Stevia
  • 2 tablespoons of hot water
  • 2 tablespoons of fat free half & half
  • 1 tablespoon of birthday cake coffee creamer (my cheat item)
  • Skim milk / unsweetened almond milk

To make I added the first 3 ingredients into a small bowl and then hand wisked until I felt like my arm would fall off. It took me about 5 minutes, I think, to get to foam. I didn't officially time myself. Just wisked with some serious dedication until it was cream like. Then I added the last 3 ingredients to a glass and spooned the foam onto the top. Voilà.. Done. Now, if you really like strong coffee, you will like the taste of the foam. Personally, too bitter for me, but, after I completely stirred the foam into the milk, it tasted pretty amazing. It was the perfect sweetness, but, as I said, I really like things sweet. That's why I did cheat a little and added a tablespoon of birthday cake creamer in the skim milk. Cake tasting yumminess. For my second version I used unsweetened almond milk and I really like it just as well. Aldi had all of the ingredients I needed, including a medium roast instant coffee. It was such a fun experiment that now I want to try a chocolate version. There are also many sugar full alternatives making the rounds on social media right now. sweetportfolio on Instagram, for example, has many delicious looking sugar filled variations. Let the sugar alteration experiments begin!

If you are interested in the tradition version, here's a great how to video.

I was curious about what was actually in instant coffee and found this article helpful. I've also Googled Stevia to learn more about the different versions for sale at the local grocery store. Not all natural or organic versions are created the same. Most packet versions use "natural flavors," which, well, could be just about anything that doesn't include added colors or artificial flavors, or they add erythritol, which at first I thought was Stevia and found out it's not. I've recently purchased a Stevia only powdered version from Amazon that I want to try. I've also purchased liquid Stevia from Trader Joe's, but they've been sold out every time I've been in since before March. Bobby Parrish got me thinking about sugar free sweeteners and really looking at the ingredients. Check out his video below.

Update: Found this great low carb version:

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