All The Reasons Why Your Dalgona Coffee Is Failing

Three ingredients don't always mean easy.

IMAGE Jasper Castro

Have you done the Dalgona coffee challenge? The Dalgona coffee trend is a whipped three-ingredient coffee topping that has become viral on Tiktok and then on YouTube. It's a Korean innovation that has both amazed and frustrated everyone who has tried to make the frothy toffee-hued mixture. 

The frustration over this coffee trend is both the sheer simplicity of the ingredients and the tiring whipping one must do to make it. The coffee froth is deceptively easy, so it's no wonder that many failed when trying to make it a home. 

Here are all the ways you're failing when making Dalgona coffee: 

Sugar, creamer, and coffee is made more delicious with a cinnamon stick.
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1 You are using 3-in-one instant coffee. 

The biggest mistake of many people is thinking that any coffee will do, even the premixed sachets that they love. However, this mix also contains other ingredients that are not present in the original three ingredients: instant coffee granules, sugar, and water. 

You may be tempted to use brewed coffee and while this is a brilliant hack, unless you can intensify enough coffee flavor into a small amount of water, it's best to stick with instant coffee granules. 

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2 You didn't add enough sugar. 

The ingredients of the Dalgona coffee is not the only important aspect of the list. Just like many baking recipes, measurements are important and in this case, it's very, very important to its success. Here's the recipe that we suggest: 

1 tablespoon instant coffee + 2 tablespoons cold water + 8 tablespoons sugar 

This isn't the recipe that's circulating, but it's the ratio that we found to be perfect every time. You may be shocked at the sheer amount of sugar. The sugar may be a lot considering that the amount of water is so little but trust us when we say, the amount of sugar is important to achieve the cloudlike state that you're aiming to achieve. 

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3 You're not using a whisk. 

Unfortunately, this recipe is easiest when done with either a whisk or a hand mixer. Unless you're going to make a big batch, a stand mixer may not be able to handle the small amount of mixture in its bowl. 

Did you try the blender? While a smart idea for other recipes, the blender will heat up the mixture, preventing the froth to be created.  

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4 You added too much water. 

Is your mixture still watery? You may have added too much water. The water is a really small amount but add too little and you may just have a hard time whisking a thicker mixture. Add too much, and you will end up whisking forever. 

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5 You stopped whisking after awhile. 

This recipe really will test your patience because the whisking will require some time. It will go from watery to frothy in seconds but the stage from frothy to a whipped, thickened froth is at least 8 minutes using a hand mixer and 15 minutes by hand.

Here's the good news: you can take a break and you can switch arms if you're able. If you're impatient, set a timer so that you know exactly how many minutes has lapsed. 

Once your mixture looks whipped, keep whipping! There is no "overwhipping" this mixture and in fact, it will only get thicker and stickier. You want to achieve soft peaks where the mixture will not only hold its shape on the whisk when you hold it up, you can create figure eights or ribbons in the mixture. 

This trend is delicious but it does take time to make. If you have the ingredients, the time, and the patience to see it through, you'll be rewarded with a delicious coffee drink.  

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