dalgona coffee

Dalgona Coffee Recipes

The main recipe for creating Dalgona coffee foam is pretty simple; all you need is to mix an equal amount of instant coffee, sugar, and water. Once it is ready, we can use it as part of different recipes limited only by our imagination.

We can change the taste of the foam by adding flavor modifiers (vanilla or spices) or serving with alcohol (Baileys, Kahlua, brandy, etc.). One ingredient we can not substitute is instant coffee; no other form of coffee can reproduce the same foam and texture due to its specific chemical composition.

What is so special about it? Before we get into the details of why and look at some recipes, let’s see where the Dalgona style of coffee might originate.

Whipped Coffee

Dalgona coffee is nothing new; it has been known for many years under different names in places like Greece, where it is known as Frappe (Yannis Dritas for Nestle,1957). In Bulgaria, it is made with Coke instead of water, and in India and Pakistan is known as Whipped/Hand beaten coffee. However, what made it famous was a Korean tv show and social media.

Here is the actual video that triggered the interest of many people and caused numerous how-to videos on various social platforms.

In Korea, Dalgona is associated with an old-school honeycomb sugar confectionery known to Koreans not as a drink but as candy since the 1960s. Its taste is very similar to that of the ‘newly’ discovered whipped coffee, hence the name Dalgona.

Dalgona candy is made by mixing sugar, water, and baking soda, boiling it until it starts turning slightly yellow, and the final result is hardened sugar with a light and crunchy taste1.

Dalgona is not like caramel, which is just sweet, instead, it tastes sweet at first then has a bitter finish, making it a perfect match for milk tea.

Kenny Hong Kyoung-soo, co-founder of Cafe Cha in Seoul

Kenny Hong Kyoung-soo, the co-founder of Cafe Chain in Seoul, wanted to incorporate this old traditional street candy into its milk teas and lattes as a sweetener and a visually pleasant decoration, which indirectly became a part of social interaction. Usually, it takes between 5-10 minutes for Dalgona sweets to melt and sweeten the drink.

The difference between Dalgona coffee, Frappe, and Whipped coffee.

Looking at the main ingredients, one might say that Dalgona coffee is the same as Frappe and an Indian whipped coffee, and that is exactly what it is, but with a couple of differences. Whipped coffee also refers to the process of making the coffee foam.

Dalgona Coffee vs Frappe – Differences

The Dalgona coffee doesn’t taste like Frappe, the main difference being the amount of milk used to prepare the drinks and the texture of the coffee foam.

– Dalgona is milk with caramel-like coffee foam on top. It can be served hot or cold.
– Frappe is made with not-so-dense coffee foam and a little bit of milk if any. Served cold.
– Whipped coffee is known as Indian cappuccino (Desi Cappuccino), the same as Dalgona served with hot frothy milk.

The differences are, of course, relative; with so many recipes and variations out there, I’m sure these two types of coffees will be hard to differentiate at a certain point.

Why use an instant coffee, and not any other one?

The answer lies in the chemical composition of the instant coffee granules and the absence of oils.

Not all instant coffees are suitable and able to achieve long-lasting and smooth foam, and the reasons for that are the methods used in coffee production.

Two particular steps influence the number of oils present in the final product.

  • Spray drying
  • Freeze drying

Due to the lack of oils, only coffee made by spray drying is suitable for making whipped coffees. Think of making a meringue foam out of egg whites or egg yolks.

To achieve stiff peaks, the egg whites should be free of any yolk fats that can interfere with this process by bonding with the proteins (therefore preventing the proteins from sticking with each other). This interference by fat can make it difficult for a stable foam to form.

If you want to learn more about these methods and how they affect the final result, check this post.

  • In freeze-drying, the coffee extract is frozen to about – 40°C and cut into granules. The frozen granules are then dried at low temperatures and under a vacuum. The quality of the aroma and flavor are protected by the very low temperature and gentle drying conditions2.
    • Freeze- drying might be preserving better the coffee aromatics, but that also means that oils are also part of the coffee chemical composition.
    • The presence of coffee oil, which is a hydrophobic (water-hating) agent at this stage, can quickly stimulate and speed up the collapse of the foaming process, by breaking down the holding forces between air, liquid and solid in the foam, which leads to a much lighter and not so stable foam.

Spray-Drying Steps

– Preparation of the liquid
– Adding the liquid feed to the spray dryer
– Atomization of the liquid feed to create droplets
– Drying of the droplets in a heated air stream
– Collection of the dried particles

  • In spray-drying, the coffee extract is sprayed into a stream of hot air at the top of a tall cylindrical tower. As the droplets fall, they dry, becoming a fine powder by the time they reach the bottom. The powder may then be agglomerated into granules to facilitate dosage and dissolution. Most of the quality of the aroma and flavor are preserved thanks to the very fast drying occurring during this process3.
    • Spray-dried instant coffee powder is virtually coffee oil free and made up solely of tiny particles of coffee solids.
    • In appearance the froth made with this type of instant coffee looks very much like the crema foam on espresso but is actually much thicker, more stable and completely different in composition.
    • Frappe foam can be described as tiny bubbles of air held together by the coffee solids. The virtual absence of coffee oil adds stability to the system, so that the bubble form does not collapse with the same ease as in the crema on espresso coffee4.
    • One reason why spray-dried coffee is lower in quality is the use of heat and oxygen, which removes the most delicate sweet and acidic flavors, and even if the captured aromas are reintroduced back into the coffee, the perceived quality is inferior to the freeze-dried one.

Coffee spray drying

Dalgona Coffee Recipes

The main ingredients for Dalgona coffee recipes are pretty much the same; an equal amount of instant coffee, sugar, and water. The amount of sugar is up to a personal taste, and once the foam is ready, only the imagination is the limit.


2 tbsp instant coffee
2 tsp sugar
1 oz hot water

Preparation Methods:

Method I
Add a few ice cubes in a glass and fill with milk 2/3 of the glass. Top with whipped coffee and stir.
Method IIAdd ice, fill the glass with water instead of milk, or add the foam first, pour the water, and stir.
Method IIIIn a glass, add 1 tsp sugar – optional, coffee foam, fill with hot milk 2/3 of the glass, stir, top with more foam.
Method IV
Swirl chocolate syrup to coat the inside of the glass, add ice, sugar – optional, pour milk (hot or cold) -2/3 of the glass, top with foam. Drizzle chocolate syrup on top.

Classic Dalgona Recipe

1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 tbsp hot water
Add ingredients to a bowl and whip with a mixer until you see soft peaks are forming.
Add a few ice cubes in a glass and fill it up to 3/4 full with milk. Top with coffee foam and enjoy.

Matcha Dalgona Recipe

It is not a coffee foam, but the preparation method is the same and can create different foam flavors.

1/4 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons matcha powder
Whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla. Just before you see soft peaks forming, add the matcha powder and whip again.
Add a few ice cubes in a glass, and pour hot or cold milk up to 2/3 of the glass. Top with Matcha foam.

Colada Matcha Dalgona (CMD)

Dalgona Colada 1

1 1/2 oz white rum
2 1/2 oz coconut milk
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons refined powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons matcha in a bowl

Whip the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Before you see soft peaks forming, add the matcha powder (Sift the matcha powder) and whip again.
Shake the rum and coconut milk with ice. Strain into a chilled glass filled with a few ice cubes. Top with Matcha foam.


Frappe (frappé) comes from the French language and means drink prepared with ice. Coffee frappe is defined as a drink made with coffee and ice. Some are close in texture to iced coffees, and some to slashes. It all depends on in which country you are.

The Frappe, which I enjoy having especially in the summer, is the Greek variation, which is extremely popular in Greece and Cyprus, and around the world.

Greek Frappe

To make Greek-style Frappe, we need the same ingredients as Dalgona coffee.

  • Instant coffee
  • Sugar – there are tree different styles/names, based on the amount of sugar.
    • Sketos – no sugar
    • Metrios (medium) – 1-2 teaspoons sugar
    • Glykos (sweet) – 2-4 teaspoons sugar
    • Me gala” (with milk) – it refers to use of milk as part of the recipes – 1or 2 tbsp evaporated milk.
  • Cold water

The goal is to create a coffee foam, not as thick as in Dalgona; time and effort are much shorter. The easier way is to use a shaker, a milk frother, or a frappe mixer.

In a tall cold glass, add:

  • 2 teaspoons of instant coffee
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar – if desired
  • 1 oz cold water

Shake or mix until you get a nice foam, about 15-30 sec depending on the foam you are after or on the equipment used.

  • Add 2-3 ice cubes.
  • Pour the mixture into the serving glass.
  • Add a little bit of milk milk -optional.
  • Fill up the glass with cold water and serve with a drinking straw – the foam will stay longer.

The best Frappe coffees are those having the smallest bubbles and a foam thickness of about 1.5 to 2 inches (30 to 50 mm).

Video by Ken Panagopoulos

Hand Beaten Coffee

The whipped coffee is known under different names, Indian cappuccino, Pakistani latte, Phitti Hui Coffee, Desi coffee, and Soft coffee. They use the same method; whisking instant coffee, sugar, and water to create coffee foam.

The way of making it begins as with Dalgona by whipping the coffee to a thick foam; once you have it ready, the following steps involve steaming the milk, pouring it into a cup, and toping with the beaten coffee.

If you prefer a stronger coffee, add a shot of espresso in a cup, pour over the steamed milk, and top with coffee foam.

These are the common recipe ingredients used to make beaten coffee.

  • 2 tbsp instant coffee
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 oz cold water
  • 2 cups of milk


  • Make coffee foam by whisking or using an electric mixer the coffee, sugar, and water.
  • Steam the milk.
  • Place one scoop of the coffee foam on the bottom of a heatproof glass.
  • Pour over slowly the steamed milk up to about 2/3 of the glass.
  • Scoop some of the coffee foam and place it on top.
  • Sprinkle with chocolate powder or instant coffee.

Like Dalgona coffee and Frappe, the Indian cappuccino can also be served cold and be part of many other recipes.
I view the technique of how the whipped coffee is made as a tool available to bartenders for creating drinks, similar to the purpose of foams in Molecular Mixology.

Image credit – Image by Joseph Mucira from Pixabay


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