One of the latest crazes of the Internet is this Dalgona Coffee which is also called 400 times coffee. The trend started to gain traction in Feb as Korean YouTubers started making their versions of this coffee after a famous Korean actor’s clip of trying this coffee in Macau become viral.
The coffee earned its name Dalgona from a popular traditional street candy which is made by caramelising sugar into a brown molten liquid before shaping them into flat biscuits in different shapes. You can probably still see this candy being made in the streets of Myeongdong Seoul today.
This is where it supposedly all started the Hon Kee Cafe helmed by Leong Kam Hon who said he learnt this coffee from a foreign couple in the early 2000s. The coffee became popular when the Hong Kong Star Chow Yun Fatt tried it in 2004 and loved it. Many started flocking to the cafe just for this coffee. When the Korean star tried it recently, the show liked the taste to the Dalgona candy the Koreans love so much and thus became a bigger viral hit in today’s digital world compared to the 2000s. For those interested in the show featuring the Korean star, you can see the video here
So back to my challenge. With nothing to do at home during this period, I decided to give it a try. What you need is the following:
2 tablespoons of instant coffee – do note there cannot be milk in the coffee so best to use instant coffee grounds instead of those 3-in-1 packets
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of warm water
Either a hand whisk or electric whisk
So pretty easy to start, put everything into 1 bowl and start whisking. The colour was very dark in the beginning and the coffee fragrance was extremely strong. After 10 mins, you start to see the colour fade.
This was after 30 mins of whisking with my tiny whisk. The colour looks more like a caramel colour now but the consistency is still watery.
After going at it for an hour, the consistency is much thicker and the colour a lighter brown but it was still not the ideal consistency. I was on the verge of giving up and call it a failure until I decided to give it a last try.
So I change the mixture to a larger bowl and a larger manual hand whisk and whisk it by hand for another 5 mins and there you have it, the successful Dalgona colour which is a creamy light brown and the mixture is thick and holds its shape nicely.
For the taste test now, I decided to have it with iced milk and added about 2 tablespoons full of the Dalgona cream. It floats very nicely and you can actually shape your drink with a piping bag to make it really pretty. Tasting it without mixing, you can taste the strong caramelised creamy foam on top which is very sweet followed by the refreshing iced milk.
After stirring it, the milk is now thick and foamy and the taste is upgraded intensely. The taste is basically milk coffee but with more layering since the air introduced into the Dalgona cream creates an airy and all-rounded creaminess in the coffee itself. In simple terms, it tasted like a frothy blended ice coffee with condensed milk in those old school coffee shop.
Overall, the taste is really addictive and I would choose this over many other cafes since it is pretty affordable and easy to make. As it was my first time making it, it took a lot more time with my mini whisk but I gather that using a normal-sized whisk would have been much faster. In fact, I discovered a few hacks from the Internet to make this in 5 mins without tiring out your arms.