This Recipe Became Famous During Quarantine, But Is It Worth The Hype?

by Tiffany Naticchioni, RDN, LD

Last Updated: May 6, 2020

While COVID-19 has been an unprecedented disruption to daily life, it has also led to a massive increase in social media use, and given birth to several new trends and even new social platforms. Unexpectedly, whipped coffee has become one of those trends, popping up on social media feeds from Instagram to Tic Tok. We’re here to weigh in on the hype. The tempting whipped coffee beverage also known as ‘Dalgona Coffee,’ is named after a taffy candy made in Korea, where the trending beverage originated. Dalgona Coffee, however, has been made famous through its rapid emergence on the social media accounts during quarantine. Both the candy and the coffee have a light caramel color in appearance. We’ve got you covered whether you’re ready to try the original or OptUP to a healthier version.

Whip it up!
To get started you will need a few things: instant coffee, sugar, water, a tablespoon, a mixing bowl, and a hand mixer (or whisk). No need to pull out your recipe, as measuring these ingredients is quite simple because each is included in equal parts.

For one serving:
1 tablespoon instant coffee
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
  1. Place all the ingredients in the mixing bowl.
  2. Whip with hand mixer (about five minutes) or a whisk (about 7 minutes) until the mixture turns to a frothy almost frosting-like mixture that is ultimately spooned atop a glass of the iced-milk or dairy alternative of your choice.

Optional: Dairy alternatives can be nut milks such as almond, soy, cashew, or even oat milk or flax milk can be used. The flavor and texture can vary and that choice is yours.

The Dietitian’s Scoop
Depending on the milk or dairy alternative used, the grams of sugar and grams of fat per serving can vary. The standard recipe for a Dalgona Coffee contains about 12 grams of added sugar and under 50 calories. Typically, the Dalgona Coffee is poured over milk or another dairy alternative. So, what are your options here? A single-portion version using eight ounces of another liquid:
  • plain or unsweetened almond milk + whipped coffee = ~ 80 calories
  • skim milk + whipped coffee = ~ 120 calories
  • whole milk + whipped coffee = ~200 calories

Any of the above can be a great option considering some coffee shop beverages can contain as many as 600 calories.

What About the Sugar?
From a culinary eye, granulated sugar is recommended for the best flavor and whip texture, but it is possible to use other sugars like confectioner’s sugar, maple syrup, or even honey. If you’re looking to reduce added sugar, you could also use a sugar substitute in the same ratio that sugar is used in the original recipe. To add a sugar-free flavor boost try vanilla extract, nutmeg, or cinnamon.

A Note to Team Caffeine
If you’re indulging in this dulce delight for the caffeine, maybe reconsider. Due to the small portion of instant coffee used, this drink has a minimal dose of caffeine, totaling about 5 milligrams per single serving. This is equal to the amount of caffeine one-cup of decaffeinated coffee. For reference, a full cup of regularly caffeinated coffee delivers about 80-100 milligrams, depending on the coffee type. So, while it does provide a fun culinary coffee experience, the Dalgona Coffee likely won’t replace your staple cup of morning coffee. However, it can still suffice for a well-deserved treat most times of the day, including dessert, since it has just a smidge of caffeine.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.


Tiffany Naticchioni, RDN, LD

Tiffany Naticchioni, RDN, LD

Tiffany is a compassionate dietitian with experience in nutrition throughout the lifespan along with empowering those with diabetes and heart disease to use food as medicine. A believer in total body wellness, she has a decade of experience as a licensed massage therapist. With a passion for healthy living, she practices hot yoga, enjoys most any fitness activities, stays active in the community, and loves spending time with her family.