Dalgona Coffee – Explained and Upgraded


Today we’re going to talk about this thing. It’s what most people called Dalgona Coffee. It’s the internet sensation sweeping the world and I love it when coffee is a thing that is everywhere ’cause it means we get to talk about it. We get to get a little bit nerdy about it And so what is this thing? What is this craze? Well, it’s a milk drink topped with this thick, glistening, glorious, creamy, rich beautiful foam heaped on top Is it any good? I don’t know. We’ll drink it and we’ll find out. Now, its name is a little bit confusing because it kind of comes from Korea but it doesn’t. This kind of frothy coffee thing is common in lots of parts of the world But this drink got its name in Macau, confusingly. There was an actor, Jung Il Woo, who was there and he said it tasted like Dalgona which is a Korean (kind of) street snack. It’s a little bit like honeycomb – you melt sugar and you add baking soda and you chill it down and you get this kind of foamed, hardened sugar. It’s delicious who doesn’t love that. And he said it had that kind of honeycomb taste. It’s honeycomb coffee, basically. But the Internet, the world immediately anglicized and everything and so it became Dalgona coffee even though that’s not how you say that word but Well, I should drink one, but not this one. We should make one from scratch. Start at the beginning and then taste that. So let’s talk about how to make it in the traditional way. Well, I think a big part of its appeal has been the simplicity of it as a recipe. You need kind of three things to get going maybe two more things later, but basically, the fun bit, three things. You need your instant coffee. puncture that seal for freshness [smells coffee and grimaces] Now this whole thing is done volumetrically as a recipe, so what this here to do is use two units instant coffee. So let’s say two spoonfuls. Let’s get a reasonable level. Here. Now I hate volumetric recipes, so I’m going to measure this just kind of get the ratio about right. So that’s six grams of coffee. We add to that the same volume of sugar, which turned out to weigh considerably more. So that’s 21 grams of sugar. About the same volume of water, and that’s it. And that’s about 20 grams of water. Now, you whisk it for a miserably, miserably long time. I’m going to be using this little guy which I quite like. He’s actually addressing whisk but I think for this purpose he’s gonna work pretty well. I guess time for a time lapse. So after your three miserable minutes of whipping, maybe four, you end up with a very soft, gooey, moussey, meringue-like foam. And this is I guess the interesting bit the beautiful bit the bit that captures everyone’s attention – that texture. Let’s talk about why that happens. Now, I’ve seen a few different explanations of this most of which I’ve kind of disagreed with a little bit. Including one from Howard McGee which made me feel weird inside because he taught me so much. Anyway, here’s my explanation. The first time I saw it I thought that looks a lot like a meringue before you cook it, obviously. And it kind of is the same thing. Now, a meringue you’ve got a couple of things going on. You’ve got egg whites. They’re providing the sort of the foaming properties of that thing and you’ve got sugar to stabilize the foam and here coffee is providing the firming agent. Now when you roast coffee, you create a bunch of compounds called melanoidins. These were identified by a paper published, I think, by Illy or the researchers at Illy, that these were the firming agents in espresso. They allow crema to happen, they form a stable foam. These I suspect are the very same foaming agents here that they’re typically called surfactants which is a shortening of surface active agents. They are things that wrap themselves around bubbles and make those bubbles strong in milk for your cappuccino. Well, proteins there are playing the role of these surfactants. So here in coffee just having surfactants doesn’t make a perfectly, stable foam. You’ll know that because your crema on your espresso disappears within a minute or two. It kind of bubbles away and fades. What’s happening here is a couple of things. We’re whisking it to form a foam, but the liquid that we’re making a foam out of is extremely viscous. We’ve got, you know, 20 grams of sugar in 20 grams of water that’s a 1:1 syrup here. And we’ve also added six grams of soluble material. That’s thick and gooey liquid now, right? That’s sticky, so when you form the foam out of such a viscous liquid, it means that your drainage is very slow. And the smaller your bubbles can be, the stronger that foam is going to be. A small bubble is inherently stronger, than a much, much larger bubble. That’s what we’ve got here. We’ve whipped air into a sweet coffee like liquid. And we’ve beaten it until the bubbles are tiny, but that foam is very, very stable And so to finish the drink traditionally you need a couple more things. You need some ice. You need your milk or milk alternative. And then all you need to do to finish this is spoon on your foamy, gooey coffee thing and of course It will float because it’s a foam it’s mostly air. You’ll see it obviously increased in volume – a great deal – and this kind of is with all the gooey, drippy bits [is] what people call Dalgona coffee? You’ve probably got some questions. Is it good? Let’s find out. No, not really. This is a preparation method. What you get out of it is as good as what you put into it. This isn’t a transformation. We’re not creating flavor. This tastes like sweet instant coffee and milk. And whether I whipped into a gooey, glossy, wonderful foam or not. It’s still It’s still sweet instant coffee and milk. It’s not horrific because it’s sweet and there’s some dairy to mitigate that bitterness But it’s not delicious. Now your next question will be “Okay, okay, maybe can I make this out of espresso?” And the answer is probably not. The problem with espresso, confusingly, it’s that it’s too dilute. Making it this way, when we’ve got six grams of instant coffee to 20 grams of water, well, we have a much, much, much, much, much stronger liquid than we could ever hope to produce from espresso without making that espresso taste disgusting. If you try to just sweeten espresso and whip it, you will get a foam out of it eventually, but not a stable foam because it’s too dilute. It’s not viscous enough. It will drain out of that foam far too quickly. You could try and concentrate your espresso, I guess. Two ways spring to mind, you – or three, I guess, probably just two. You could heat it – essentially you could reduce it on the pan. Don’t do that, though, that will taste disgusting. and also when you heat coffee like that you create some unpleasant compounds. Just – I don’t advise doing it. The other thing I could think of would be doing something like pulling a shot and putting it into so like a chamber vacuum. Where if you put a vacuum on it, it would boil as a liquid at room temperatures. So you wouldn’t be adding heat, but you could still evaporate out a lot of water. You’d lose a lot of aromatics, but I guess it would work? You’d want to remove probably half the water. I don’t have a chamber vacuum but I guess, if I did, I could test it that way. And so the next question is, well, do I have to whisk it 400 times with a whisk? I don’t think so. There are a number of different ways to achieve this kind of foam, and I looked at a few of those. So the first and most obvious one would be something like a paddle mixer that you would use to make meringue – very good. On the internet, you’ve seen a lot of people using like a hand whisk that works very well. You could probably use something like a stick blender. And I also suspect you could probably get something like a milkshake machine to work if you were trying to make large volume of this stuff. The principles are very similar throughout everything – which leaves you with one question left, What about, what about, good instant coffee Now before we do that – that’s what we’re gonna round this video out with – I’m gonna get some good instant coffee out in a second, I do just want to have a little bit of a PSA with this one, a little bit of a warning, this is a single beverage and in making this I pretty much used all of the coffee foam that I created and that coffee firm had six grams of instant coffee in it. That is about three and a half standard two hundred mili cups. That is it is a lot of coffee plus 20 grams of sugar right? So, so this looks cool, but bear in mind, it’s very strong. Just go easy on it. That’s all I’m gonna say now I get sent coffee sometimes, and a little while ago some lovely people at the Belleville brewery in Paris, they sent me some of their instant coffee and I used it now and then when I’ve needed instant coffee. And it seems sensible to use it again now. Now from the last recipe, we worked out the kind of mass ratio. It’s about one to three to three (ish). So that way I can just weigh how much is in one of these and I can use the right amount of sugar and water, and not fuss about with volumetric things that are nonsense ’cause mass all the way. So I’m gonna add about 10 grams of sugar and about 10 grams of water. And now I’ll whisk it again [sighs]. This was very interesting. Initially, I could not get the nice coffee to foam. And I think part of that is to do with the way that small companies are making instant coffee being very different to the way that much bigger companies make instant coffee and I think essentially I had over diluted it. And so I needed to use more sugar. So as a slightly complicated workaround, I added more sugar, but it wouldn’t go into solution so then I made a quick workaround, heat it up, got the sugar into solution, but it still wouldn’t firm. So then I put it in the freezer to chill it back down again because it’s all about viscosity right. And, and the cooler a surface is, the more thick and viscous it gets. So – that worked. So if you’re having trouble if you’ve started with hot water and you’re having trouble getting a good foam going, cool it down. Chill it down. That’s very important it’s a great quick way to get where you need to go. The cooler the syrup is, the better that coffee syrup will foam. So let’s let’s get on with it. Let’s make a let’s make a good specialty Delgona. Do bear in mind that this is one full sachet. so, it’s a – it’s a full cup of coffee here, even though it’s not that much of a lovely, foamy, friend to sit on top. So here it is a specialty coffee version. Is it better? Is it good? All right, then get down with that. That is like a little little coffee ice cream going on here. Cold dairy, sweet coffee. None of the harsh bitter burnt, Robusta-ey, generally unpleasant qualities that most instant coffee has. This is pretty okay. I could get down with this. I mean, it’s very sweet, wow. These have a lot of sugar in this, a lot of sugar. Let’s give it a stir. Now it looks gross. I mean I just tasted sugar. That is incredibly sweet. A little bit of coffee there. There’s a little bit of coffee there, not a lot of coffee actually, a lot of sugar. Mmm-hmm. If you got some instant specialty coffee lying around you haven’t you used it, or haven’t found a use for it? You stuck at home, you want to do something interesting? Yeah, make this actually that was that’s not bad. That’s not bad. I’m okay with that. But remember the rules of the game. You’re just trying to whip air create a really dense foam in a coffee syrup. That’s that’s all you’re doing. You’re whipping a coffee syrup and the end result is a coffee syrup. It’s as healthy as a coffee syrup. It’s as delicious as a syrup of coffee is gonna be, if you put good coffee in it. Let me know your thoughts. What did I miss? What do you want explained about this phenomenon that is sweeping the Internet? Do you have questions still? Other things unanswered? Leave me a comment down below. But for now, I’ll say thank you so much for watching and I hope you have a great day.

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