The Origin Of The Popular Dalgona Coffee
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Dalgona Coffee (also known as Whipped Coffee or Desi Cappuccino) is a thick foam formed from whipped, sweetened instant coffee. In early 2020, the drink was the subject of a viral internet challenge. The most popular name for the drink is "Dalgona," which is derived from the Korean word “달구나/Dalguna” which loosely translates as "sweet," and is also the name for a honeycomb toffee snack sold by street sellers in Korea, which the sweet foam of the drink is believed to resemble. 

However, as the drink grew in popularity around the world, its origins and even name were debated, with other civilizations claiming their own variants. What's evident now is that whipped instant coffee has a much longer history and significance than a social media craze sparked by a pandemic.

How It All Started?

"Dalgona coffee" is most easily associated with Macau. Hon Kee Café, a modest shipyard café, was the place where the dalgona coffee was founded in the 1990s by former shipbuilder Leong Kam Hon after a labour accident left him with a near-amputation of his arm. Despite the fact that his arm was reattached, his debilitated status led him to seek other vocations, so he opened a café for shipyard workers, according to CNN. He learnt kung fu in the process of opening it, which helped him restore strength and was also useful for producing the labour-intensive coffee drink.

Dalgona Coffee


In the early 2000s, Leong learnt the method of continuously stirring instant coffee into a frothy texture from a "foreign couple" who visited the Macau Grand Prix every year, though he had no idea where they were from. The grinds were swirled so vigorously that "dalgona coffee" is now also known as "400x coffee" on the internet, implying that it has been stirred at least 400 times. Leong found the procedure "so inconvenient" that he generally just drank normal coffee instead.

Then, in 2004, Chow Yun-Fat, the star of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, paid a visit to Hon Kee. Leong produced the whipped coffee drink in an attempt to impress the actor. According to CNN, the star adored it, prompting customers to flock to the struggling café to try it for themselves. It was dubbed "Chow Yun-Fat coffee" for a short time. The hand-stirred coffee remains the café's distinctive item, despite the fame's short-term impacts. Though Leong is unsure of the couple's origins, this method of brewing coffee is widely used in so many parts of the world that it might be anywhere. In India and Pakistan, the drink has been known by a variety of names, including "pheta (beaten) coffee," "phenti hui coffee," "phitti hui coffee," "hand-beaten coffee," "Indian cappuccino," and others. Whatever you call it, it's created the same way "dalgona coffee" is: by whisking instant coffee and sugar until thick and frothy, then serving with milk. The drink's reach is far wider. It's called a "frappe" in Greece, and it's been dubbed as the country's "unofficial national drink." The drink is so popular in Libya, where it's known as "cappuccino Libyan style" or simply "Nescafé," after the instant coffee brand, that large families and cafés may keep the combination in the fridge to use as needed.

Instant coffee is preferred by a big majority of the world, despite the fact that it is not particularly popular in the United States. According to industry data, instant coffee accounted for "more than 34% of all retail brewed coffee drank worldwide," with the majority of its popularity in Asia, Australia and Eastern Europe. When you don't have milk, a milk frother, or an espresso machine, the hand-beaten coffee method is a great way to approximate drinks that would normally require milk, a milk frother, or an espresso machine.