Dalgona coffee: how hard can it be? - The Hindu

Dalgona coffee: how hard can it be? - The Hindu

Dalgona coffee: how hard can it be? - The Hindu

Posted: 31 Mar 2020 04:10 AM PDT

You are probably short on ingredients by now. On the other hand, there is suddenly plenty of time. With India entering its second week of lockdown, to tackle COVID-19, there is an unexpected surge of interest in a flamboyant, South Korea-inspired coffee that requires little more than pantry staples and patience to create.

Dalgona coffee, more poetically known as cloud coffee, currently features in more than 91,000 posts on Instagram alone. Inspired by a retro South Korean candy by the same name, this is proving to be an ideal quarantine project, as it demands more optimism than skill.

And cheery determination — which, let's admit, is also in short supply these days.

Nevertheless, I try. After quickly skimming through half a dozen recipes, I put instant coffee, sugar and hot water in a bowl, then begin to whip it all together with my hand blender. The result is dark, steamy and depressingly viscous, reminiscent of Twitter on a particularly angry day. Despite impatiently continuing for about eight minutes, the mixture does not mellow into the sweet, fluffy cloud it is supposed to — instead it spits foam at me angrily. Discouraged, I abandon it.

Realising that I had put too little sugar, and a touch too much hot water, I try again. But this time I follow instructions more precisely. I also decide to keep at it, till I get results. I add two tablespoons of instant coffee, two tablespoons of sugar and two tablespoons of hot water, and then begin to whisk again. It takes a few minutes, but then begins to change colour, getting light and foamy with gentle peaks.

The rest of the recipe is absurdly easy. Put ice cubes into a glass, add cold milk and then spoon this fluffy mixture on top with one hand, while you video the process for Instagram with the other. The result is rich and creamy, almost like eating meringue, with a pleasingly bitter echo of espresso.

Although this recipe has been floating around for a while, according to Google trends, interest started peaking by the end of December. Interestingly, in India, the main peak of interest has been over the past week, coinciding with the current lockdown. In a storm of anxiety, clearly it helps to focus on simple pleasures.


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