Dalgona Coffee & the Pandemic Shot

I’ve always found myself behind on trends, if I participate at all. I’m a perpetual late adopter, and usually I’m fine with that. But when I saw some trendy coffee drink pop up on my Instagram feed, I decided I could get with the times just this once.

Actually, I think I’m still a little late, but who’s keeping track?

Dalgona coffee (or whipped coffee) is apparently a Korean concoction and a lot older than the current internet trend would have you believe. We can thank the current pandemic for its popularity as everyone is stuck at home trying new things. I guess making copycat Starbucks drinks got boring? Not that I’m complaining.

Basically, think of a cappuccino in reverse. Instead of espresso with milk foam, you’ve got milk with coffee foam. How do you make the foam? Take equal parts of instant coffee (instant espresso also works here), sugar, and water, and whip the hell out of all of them. Then you spoon that foam over milk. If you have strong feelings about using white sugar, feel free to replace with brown, or coconut sugar, or even an artificial sweetener to keep it keto. Just make sure to keep the sugar granulated.

Now that the outside world caught wind of this new drink, there are a million and one variations of it online. I opted to try out an inverted version where the milk on the bottom is replaced with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

I used an instant espresso here, which is normally a more expensive option but I already had it on hand for a previous baking project. If you don’t have espresso, instant coffee is acceptable. Now, these drinks (is it still a drink if it’s foam?) are strong. You’ve got strong coffee and a lot of sugar, and they’re enough to make my caffeine resistant self wired for a while. If you’re the kind of person who likes coffee with their cup of cream, this may not be the recipe for you.

You could whip it all by hand, but if you’ve got an immersion blender, I’d recommend using it instead. It requires a lot less time and elbow grease, and the foam comes out thicker. If you don’t have an immersion blender or have more upper body strength than I, whipping by hand will also work. A hand mixer will also work if making large batches, but the recipes below are for a single serving.

Have an empty glass with whipped cream on standby. I used store bought whipped cream for this because I’m lazy.

Garnish with cocoa powder, cinnamon, chocolate, or anything or nothing at all. We’re all still on lockdown, nobody’s judging.

Pandemic Shot
Serves 1

2 T instant coffee or espresso
2 T water (works with hot or cold water)
2 T granulated sweetener
1 pinch of cinnamon (optional)

Combine all ingredients and whip together until a thick foam appears, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add foam to empty glass. Top with whipped cream. Garnish with cinnamon if desired.

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