The Clog investigates the hype behind the whipped coffee trend

Sunny Sichi/Staff

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If you’ve been watching TikToks or looking at Instagram in the past few weeks, the odds are pretty good that you’ve seen the emergence of the whipped coffee trend. It starts by adding 2 tablespoons each of instant coffee, sugar and hot water to a bowl. Then, after what seems to be instantaneous but is actually a long process of whisking (or using an electric mixer!), the mixture is transformed into a fluffy, almost frosting-like texture. It’s spooned on top of a glass of milk (usually almond milk) and finished off with a reusable straw and a smile. We at the Clog were slightly confused about how these seemingly simple videos gained so much popularity in the past few weeks, so we decided to research the trend a little bit more.

The whipped coffee drink originated in South Korea, where it is known as dalgona coffee. It’s named after a honeycomb toffee candy that looks very similar to the coffee mixture. Dalgona candy is made by boiling sugar until it starts to burn a little and then adding baking soda, which causes it to puff up. The candy is pressed into shapes and sold from street vendors on a stick.

We at the Clog suspect that this trend went viral for a number of reasons. First, it’s aesthetically pleasing, and we all know how much everyone loves to post their coffee drinks on social media. And, it’s even cooler when you make it yourself. That brings us to our second reason: With people staying at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, trips to your favorite coffee shop aren’t feasible anymore. The whipped coffee trend is the perfect way for people to continue getting fancy coffee drinks while sheltering in place. And third, making the coffee is a good workout if you whisk it by hand. Once people try it the first time, they could keep on making it because they realize it’s a great way to build forearm strength.

Obviously, we had to try it out for ourselves. On the first attempt, we could have been more careful with ensuring we had equal proportions of coffee, sugar and hot water, but we were still surprised that it took almost 15 minutes of mixing to reach the desired texture! We were also confused by the fact that the coffee mixture, which is very light and fluffy, did not easily mix with the milk, forcing us to put a bit more effort into drinking it than we would have liked. Despite this underwhelming first impression, we tried again, this time with the proper proportions of ingredients, and found that it only took five minutes of mixing! With a slightly less fluffy texture, the coffee mixture slowly seeped into the milk, allowing for a much more pleasant drinking experience. This second try helped us understand why the coffee drink has gotten so popular in the past few weeks, yet we will never entirely understand all the hype.

Contact Beatrice Aronson at [email protected].