S Korea’s Dalgona coffee is the new quarantine fad


After workout videos and saree photos, social media feeds have been taken over by pictures of a two-tiered cup of foamy coffee. Originating in South Korea, Dalgona Coffee is the perfect drink for the Instagram age — aesthetically pleasing, and easy to whip up. You only need four ingredients —milk, water, sugar and instant coffee.

Social media is full of Indians sharing pictures and videos of themselves making the drink, thanks to a bunch of YouTube videos sharing the recipe. Food YouTube channel, Kabita’s Kitchen, has a video on how to make the coffee with Hindi instructions and has amassed over 1 million views since it was posted on March 31. Many Indian YouTubers have shared their version of the recipe in a variety of languages, including Malayalam, Tamil and Marathi. On Instagram, there are 2.2 lakh posts under the hashtag Dalgona Coffee and TikTok videos under the hashtag have received a total of 170 million views.

Indians who have tried it say they are familiar with the basic process behind making it. It is essentially “phenti hui coffee” or beaten coffee. The main difference is how you present it — you take spoonfuls of the whipped mixture and put it on top of milk, rather than pouring the milk on top and mixing it. It’s one of those trends that comes out of nowhere — the term ‘Dalgona Coffee’ was virtually nonexistent on Google until January 26, Vice reports. It first appeared on a Korean TV show in January. In the show, actor Jung Il-Woo travelled to Macau and tried the coffee, which resembles the Korean toffee candy Dalgona.

Slowly, the trend began to pick up steam, with YouTubers and TikTokers sharing recipes and pictures of the end result. It happened first in South Korea itself, but slowly spread across the world, particularly in countries where residents have been advised to follow social distancing.

There is something relaxing and stimulating about both watching the videos of other people making the coffee, and whipping it up yourself — the repetitive movements are pleasing to watch, and physically taxing to perform, which is probably why many people have called the trend the Dalgona Coffee Challenge. The reactions of the coffee have been varied — while some absolutely adore the frothy texture, others point out it’s nothing new and tastes like regular cold coffee. And like any other social media trend, the jokes are endless. People are applauding anyone who hasn’t posted a picture of the drink yet, memes about the “overhyped” trend, a millennial spin on something that has always been there abound, and tea drinkers are trying to lure people onto their side.

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