Dalgona coffee is the latest trend on social media regarding coffee. For those unaware of it, Dalgona coffee is a type of whipped coffee made with a 1:1:1 ratio of instant coffee, hot water and sugar. Whipping it all together until it becomes a frothy mixture and then scooping it over cold or hot milk, to form exactly a whipped coffee like many other around the world.
Dalgona coffee has become well known through social media like TikTok and Instagram and comes from South Korea (probably the first to name it so was a south-korean actor, Jung Il-woo, who ordered it in Macau and likened its taste to the Dalgona candies from his country). Instant coffee has the feature that can be frothed using it along with water and sugar, not requiring cream as in most other types of whipped coffee. That’s because the recipe calls for a large ratio of solid parts (the instant coffee and the sugar) compared to the water. Especially sugar helps to make the froth stays put and not dissolve as usually happens with an espresso.
The question is: can you make Dalgona coffee with Nespresso? A Nespresso Dalgona coffee.
By itself brewed coffee, especially those light-bodied ones from a pour over, cannot froth. They can make some foam at the top if you whip hard and long enough or if you brew with enough pressure, similar to an espresso, but themselves cannot be 100% foam, like a Dalgona coffee would require. The water content is too high compared to the solid components that end up in the final cup after brewing.
We tried anyway, twice, the first time with a colombian blend in a moka pot. Using an electric mixer and a good 10 minutes of whipping, the results were closer to some foam over a very sweet coffee than a proper Dalgona coffee. We didn’t even try to scoop it over milk as the recipe would call for, it couldn’t float at all and the result would simply be a sort of caffe latte or macchiato. We didn’t try to match the 1:1 ratio of sugar and coffee, leaving 2 spoons of sugar amid about 50ml of coffee. That didn’t quite work as you can see.
So no, the percentage of sugar must be higher. Much higher.
The second attempt, and what is more pertinent to this blog, was with a Nespresso pod, Colombia to be precise. Brewed as an espresso, left it cooling a bit, and then we added 4 teaspoons of sugar and whipped it all using an electric mixer. The froth didn’t develop other than some slurry liquid of light brown colour still.
Only by adding 3 more teaspoons of sugar, basically nearly matching the weight of the brewed coffee, the froth developed and became firm enough to be used in a Dalgona coffee.
The final result was as the picture below:
As you can see, not as frothy as it could be but it was already unbearably sweet like this, we didn’t dare to make it even more sweet.
In the end, can you make Dalgona coffee with Nespresso? Yes. That was a success.
More importantly, is it worth making a Dalgona coffee with Nespresso? That would be a no.
To make it froth it needs large amounts of sugar and that covers all the subtle flavours that the least intense Nespresso capsules offer and most of those of the stronger ones too. We tried with a Kazaar later and the taste was like a sweet cafè latte with some cocoa hints and barely any coffee flavours at all. A waste of good coffee.
For fans of sweet coffee, it may be worth trying. Be aware that you aren’t going to taste much of the flavours of the coffee but if you want a refreshing, sweet and creamy drink, carry on. We would advise to use a good brand of instant coffee, one that doesn’t have that bitter, nearly charry aftertaste, and stick with the original recipe. That is more balanced in terms of sweet:coffee flavours mixing.
As a reference, in the below gallery are shown the steps to make an original Dalgona coffee with instant coffee. The recipe is as straightforward as it gets: mix equal weight of sugar, instant coffee and hot water till it looks like a beige froth, as in the fourth picture.