What Is Korean Coffee?

What is Korean coffee? Korean coffee, also known as Dalgona coffee, has recently become more popular as a sweet, whipped drink that is easy to make with instant coffee.

 fluffy creamy whipped coffee - what is korean coffee
Korean coffee has four ingredients

While Korea is not typically known for its coffee, one particular drink has taken the internet and social media by storm in recent years. Named after the beloved Korean sugar candy, Dalgona coffee is a whipped coffee served over cold milk. It's made using only four ingredients and needs to be whipped to create a luscious frothiness. 

We'll take a look at what Dalgona coffee is, how it became popular, and the best way to make it yourself. 

What Is Dalgona Coffee?

Dalgona coffee is a whipped mixture of instant coffee, sugar, and hot water that is poured over cold milk. You put sugar, instant coffee, and hot water into a bowl and whip it until it becomes velvety and creates stiff peaks. Then you can add dollops of it to a glass of milk. 

Dalgona coffee was first featured in a Korean TV show in January 2020 when Korean actor Jung Il-Woo first tasted it in Macau and commented on its similarity to Dalgona candy. The other members in the show were fascinated by how instant coffee turned into something so creamy with a similar appearance and taste to Dalgona candy. 

Korean Dalgona honeycomb sugar cookie
Dalgona candy is featured in the Netflix show Squid Games

Dalgona is a traditional Korean snack that you typically buy on the street. It recently became more widely popularized thanks to the Netflix show Squid Games. 

The candy has a thin and brittle texture and tastes similar to a honeycomb toffee with a slightly smoky flavor. It typically has a shape imprinted on it, and getting the imprinted shape out in one full piece is a challenging but fun game. Many cafes in Korea serve Dalgona coffee with pieces of sweet candy on top to complement the drink. 

Whipping coffee is not a new technique, and it is easy to make at home. You can either whip it by hand at least 400 times or use an automatic handheld mixer at high speed. 

You might also be interested in our explainer on can you put Yakult in coffee.


This Korean coffee only needs four ingredients to make one cup of coffee. All you need is: 

  • Instant coffee 
  • Sugar 
  • Hot Water 
  • Milk 
  • Ice cubes

While you may prefer to use freshly ground coffee or another form, you may not get the same creaminess as you do with instant coffee. If you want to make two servings of stronger coffee, add another tablespoon to each ingredient to keep the even ratio.

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How To Make Dalgona Coffee

To make Dalgona coffee, add the instant coffee, hot water, and sugar into a bowl. Then whip it either by hand or using a handheld mixer. If you decide to mix it by hand, you need to mix it at least 400 times with a spoon or whisk to make the mixture stiff enough to create peaks. An electric hand mixer will take about 3-4 minutes for a thicker whip. 

Ingredients of making dalgona coffee
Dalgona coffee ingredients

You can also use a handheld milk frother to whip it together. It takes about 6 minutes, but it works well if you don't have an electric mixer on hand. A standing mixer also works to bring the ingredients together, but it may be more difficult for the attached whisk to reach the small number of ingredients in the bowl unless you make a larger amount. 

Whip the ingredients together until it turns frothy and looks like a light caramel color. Using the hand mixer, start at a lower speed and increase the speed once the coffee and sugar dissolve. You can use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides once or twice during the process to make sure everything gets mixed evenly. 

When your mixture has a velvety texture, fill a glass or cup with about ¾ of warm or cold milk. If you want it extra cold, add ice cubes. Dollop the whipped coffee on top and enjoy it by stirring it into the milk. Then enjoy!

To store your whipped coffee, refrigerate it in an airtight container. It will keep for about a week if you want to make more Dalgona coffee later. 

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