Say “Anneyanghaseyo” To Dalgona Coffee!
“Anneyanghaseyo” is Korean for “hello!” and once you learn a little bit more about this excellent South Korean coffee confection you are going to be saying “kamsahabnida”, too (that means “thank you!). But what exactly is dalgona coffee? How can you make yourself a truly delectable cup of this fantastic treat at home? Also, which of Java Bean Plus's excellent coffee beans would be perfect for the dalgona challenge?
What Is Dalgona?
For those who have seen Squid Game (don’t worry, no spoilers), you may remember the tan-colored confectionary treat the characters try to break in a particular way to free a little symbol or picture printed at the center of the snack while breaking off the outside of the treat. That is dalgona! But wait, how on earth did it become associated with coffee?
It all goes back to the first few months of the COVID pandemic. Within a few months of the first major outbreaks of COVID, South Korea was faced with a massive wave of infections. This forced the nation to mostly shut down as most of the populace went into a long, uncertain, and worrisome quarantine.
However, the lockdown had some silver linings, one, was Korea emerging out of this massive and tragic wave of infections to a much safer state of being as it is (mostly) today. Another would be the development of the dalgona coffee. South Korea is a real powerhouse of coffee and Koreans love their coffee! It's not uncommon to have 2, 3, even 5 cups of coffee a day. From cafe fresh lattes, to iced coffee from quick street corner places, to, interestingly, stick coffee from little plastic tubes!
Some coffee connoisseurs may turn their noses up at instant coffee sticks. Super processed freeze-dried coffee with a heap of sugar that you simply dump into a cup of hot water? Believe it or not, there is a huge market for that in Korea! Mostly for older folks who prefer the sweet taste over the more bitter flavor of black coffee. They're also popular with lots of folks who work in big companies like Hyundai and stick coffee can be found in kitchen cabinets and workplace break rooms across the peninsula. So, what is a coffee lover to do when they can’t go out to the cafe to grab a cup of coffee? Get creative, of course!
Folks decided to try whipping their instant coffee with hot water, sugar, and milk. The result? A frothy, fluffy, sweet, and truly delicious coffee confectionary treat. But how did Koreans under lockdown get the idea to try this? Well, it all goes back to one Macanese restauranteur, Mr. Leong Kam Hon.
He developed the “hand beaten coffee” as a specialty drink for the martial arts film legend Chow Yun Fat back in 2004. The Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star and his friends loved the drink but it wasn't until early 2020 (when Korea was undergoing some of the worst of the pandemic thus far) when the K-drama star Jung Il-Woo, visited Mr. Leong Kam Hon’s cafe and tried the “hand beaten coffee” himself while filming for a Korean tv show. He compared the whipped coffee’s appearance and sweet flavor to the Korean confection known as dalgona. Dalgona is a crunchy treat made from baking soda and melted sugar which has a tan, honeycomb-like appearance when it is cracked and crumbled.
Jung Il-Woo's visit to the cafe which featured this wondrous whipped coffee that looked and tasted like Korea’s own dalgona treat was viewed during the quarantine which led to tons of folks trying to make this caffeinated gem themselves in the comfort of their own apartments and homes. Not only that, but lots of amateur baristas making the treat put it online on several social media platforms like Tik Tok. The hashtag #dalgonacoffeechallenge made quite the stir and spread across Korea and throughout the whole world.
Though the massive lockdown that led to the dalgona challenge developing has come to a close, with many people returning to some semblance of normalcy in Korea, the dalgona coffee has only grown and evolved. One can find dalgona coffee in myriad forms not just in Korea but worldwide. Dalgona with its original ingredients as well as more artisanal dalgona coffee that is topped with extra goodies like the real dalgona confection can be found, too.
But nothing beats whipping up a sweet and caffeine-charged cup yourself at home with instant coffee or better yet some stellar Java Bean Plus beans! This is one challenge you won’t want to pass up, because with the dalgona challenge there are only winners. Let’s see what it takes to surmount this excellent challenge!
How To Prepare Dalgona Coffee
What You Will Need
- Coffee- While instant coffee is the traditional method, using a fine ground bean from Java Bean Plus is a superb choice. Some great beans to use include our Vanilla Caramel or Southern Pecan flavored beans. These two flavors in particular will synergize with the fluffy and decadent dalgona froth while bringing a sweet and delectable flavor to boot!
- Purified or filtered water
- Cold Milk
- Ice cubes
- Mixing bowl
- Whisk or electric mixer
How It's Done
- First, heat your water up and add it in a mixing bowl alongside the sugar and your instant coffee or finely ground Java Bean Plus bean of choice.
- Then, whip the whole mixture together either with your electric mixer or by hand. You're going to want to aim for a mocha-colored, soft, fluffy, consistency.
- Now, add your ice to your mug and pour in the milk.
- Next, scoop out the soft, fluffy, foamy “dalgona” and add it to the top of the ice and milk.
- Finally, enjoy! You’ve just completed the dalgona challenge. Now posting your success to social media is not mandatory but after trying this spectacular coffee treat you may just wanna!
Korea is a nation of innovation, and so feel free to make some innovations here and there yourself. Korean coffee fans love an iced coffee but this treat can certainly be prepared hot by just swapping out the cold milk and ice cubes with some hot milk instead. The milk is up to you, too, if you’d prefer almond or soy milk in lieu of cow’s milk. Though we suggest the Vanilla Caramel or Southern Pecan flavored beans to use, feel free to give your dalgona more of a kick with some of our espresso blends or other bean varieties such as our Breakfast Blend or Colombia Dark Blend, courtesy of Java Bean Plus.
Dalgona Challenge Accepted!
The dalgona coffee is named after a sweet, sugary treat. It was invented in Macau, came into vogue on Korean tv, was innovated upon by a populace under lockdown, and spread around the globe via social media. It is, without a doubt, one of the most electrifying, tasty, and inventive coffee trends to come out in recent years. The dynamic, delectable, and decadent dalgona. We hope you try the dalgona challenge yourself and use some of our fabulous beans by way of Java Bean Plus. Kamsahabnida and happy brewing!
- Alexis, et al. “Dalgona Coffee (Whipped Coffee).” My Korean Kitchen, 15 Oct. 2021, https://mykoreankitchen.com/dalgona-coffee-whipped-coffee/#:~:text=Essentially%2C%20dalgona%20coffee%20(%EB%8B%AC%EA%B3%A0%EB%82%98%20%EC%BB%A4%ED%94%BC,velvety%20and%20stiff%20peak%20status.
- Bradley, Hallie. “Dalgona Coffee: What It Is, Where It Came from, & Why What You're Making, Isn't It!” The Soul of Seoul, 14 June 2021, https://thesoulofseoul.net/2020/04/13/dalgona-coffee/.
- “Dalgona Coffee.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Oct. 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalgona_coffee.
- “Roasted Coffee and Green Coffee.” Java Bean Plus, https://javabeanplus.com/.