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Whipped Dalgona Coffee

One Beautiful Cup of Coffee

I admit that I am late to this game. I had not even heard of Whipped Coffee until a few weeks ago when I spied a stunning photo of a gorgeous glass filled with shades of mocha, caramel and cream. The headline called it Dalgona Coffee.

A quick search confirms that Whipped or Dalgona Coffee is nothing new. Photos are readily available on social media. Dalgona Coffee has been posted about again and again, especially in the last few weeks. Normally I would let that discourage me, give it a faint “pfft!” and go about my business.

But these are different times. There is little in the way of “my business” to go about these days, confined to the house as we continue to shelter in place and all. And there was that amazing photo, rising through my news feed, of a beautiful cloud of rich coffee foam piled high above a pool of iced milk in a slender glass. I couldn’t deny I was drawn to it. It looked impressively delicious!

Do Try This At Home 

I imagined the care that must have been taken to create such an alluring refreshment - and then, to quickly snap that gorgeous photo before the whole foamy confection deflated and ran down the sides of its slim glass like tears. I assumed it was the product of a complicated procedure. I felt sure it required some specialty ingredients I was unlikely to have on hand. Sadly, I allowed that it was something I would enjoy on the page only and never taste in real life.

 But then I read on...

Turns out I was wrong on all counts! In fact the whole splendid creation is so simple and straightforward it begs to be tried at home.

Four Simple Ingredients

Four ingredients. That’s all this takes. Four humble staples of a common kitchen, so elemental that they are things my native kitchen was never without: Instant Coffee, Sugar, Water and Milk. 

Plus three basic pieces of equipment. That’s all we need to make it work – a bowl, an electric mixer (or whisk if you are a hearty soul) and a cup or glass to serve it in. It couldn't get much simpler than that. 

First Ingredient: Instant Coffee.

This is an absolute must! Here you need the real stuff, instant crystals or powder that, when mixed with hot water, produce a strong black cup of Joe. It can be instant espresso or instant decaf. These are okay. I have read the “coffee” cannot be chicory based and it shouldn’t be a presweetened mix, at least not for these directions. I am picturing basic Folger’s crystals here, the stuff that fueled my family’s morning routine and after dinner conversation for decades as I was growing up. 

While I can get nostalgic over instant coffee I hesitate to suggest that, in this era of coffeehouse commerce, a jar of Folger’s instant is necessarily a part of everyone’s pantry. Even I was caught off guard by this spur of the moment opportunity to try something new. After a little digging though, I found several packets of Starbuck’s Via Decaf in the drawer beside my coffee maker. I also found a tired old jar of Medaglia D’oro instant espresso that I use for baking more often than drinking. Either of these work fine if you don’t keep Folger’s crystals on hand. 

Second: A Little Sugar. 

Again, several packets will do, though I think more people are likely to have sugar in their pantry than instant coffee. I used pure cane granulated white sugar but I suspect brown sugar, natural sugar, possibly even honey, molasses or agave would work instead. No guarantees but that’s my guess. 

Third: Hot Water. 

Hot is the key here. You want the instant coffee and sugar to easily dissolve. 

Combined, in equal measure, these three ingredients sound common and unimpressive. It is easy to imagine them stirred together into a potent sweet syrup. It is harder to imagine that syrup being something we would chose to consume. That doubtful expectation, however, falls far short of what is actually produced when the mixture is not merely stirred but beaten, preferably with an electric mixer.

Beating the thick instant coffee mixture for a minute or two is a proof of the possibility. Beating it for another minute or two is surprising and delightful. Continuing to beat it for a full five minutes makes you wonder what you really know about coffee, really know about staples, really understand about the chemistry of any of the consumables you store in your kitchen! The result is a mixture as thick, expansive and full of body as the freshest cream or most expertly prepared meringue.

Fourth: Cold Milk. 

This goes beyond the amazing and acts to balance the beverage. For contrast, dilution, and as a canvas to display our airy creation, we need a little ice and a little milk. Or we could use straight up ice cold milk. If you don’t do dairy, use your favorite substitute here. Almond, soy, oat, coconut, whatever. It will dilute and soften the Whipped Coffee as you stir it in, spoon through or sip it, however you like.

Beyond that, we are free to garnish as desired. A dusting of cocoa powder, cinnamon or powdered sugar might be pretty. Chocolate curls or Cocao Nibs take it up a notch. Or keep it simple and skip the garnish. There’s nothing wrong with that.

And Now: Enjoy At Your Leisure! 

Feel free to linger with this clever beverage. There is no need to rush. This lovely coffee foam won’t keep long but neither is it quick to deflate. Dipping the thick layer of coffee foam into the milk is like spooning gelato from its espresso bath in an affogato, but without the urgency. An affogato begs to be consumed with attention focused on balancing the hot and the cold so that it is enjoyed before the espresso overwhelms the frozen gelato and melts it into a uniform dispersion.

With our Whipped Coffee the foamy texture gently resists dilution and remains resolute until you purposefully stir it into, or gently spoon it through, the cold milk. This is a polite drink that waits for you, optimally abiding long enough for you to fine tune your place setting, post to Instagram, turn the page of your book or adjust your Zoom settings. So enjoy.

Here’s to a beautiful day!

Whipped Dalgona Coffee 

  • 2 Tablespoons instant coffee
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons hot water
  • 1 cup milk
  • Several ice cubes, if desired


In a small mixing bowl, stir together the coffee and sugar. Add the hot water stirring quickly.

With an electric mixer, beat the coffee mixture at high speed for 5 minutes.

Pour milk into cups or small glasses. Spoon the whipped coffee mixture on top.

Garnish as desired with cocoa powder, cinnamon or chocolate curls.