I Tried to “Dalgona” 6 Different Powders and It Was a Complete Disaster

published Apr 10, 2020
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Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

By now you’ve probably heard of Dalgona coffee, a combination of water, sugar, and instant coffee that gets whipped into an airy, cloud-like foam and poured over a glass of milk. The Insta-famous drink became popular in South Korea as a way to connect via social media during quarantine, and the technique quickly spread all over the internet.

A couple of weeks ago I tested the whipped coffee recipe with wild success, but in recent days I have noticed that people are whipping other powdered beverages to create riffs on it. An Instagram post by i am a food blog showed it made with matcha powder, and a popular TikTok video demonstrated how to make it with hot cocoa powder. This had me wondering if this was really possible, and if other powdered beverages — such as Kool-Aid, instant lemonade, and even powdered peanut butter (things I had in my pantry) — would also work. The concept seemed way too good to be true, so I needed to try it.

I headed into my kitchen and followed the basic ratio of equal parts powdered beverage, sugar, and hot water, and then tried my hardest to whip each one. To say that the results were a complete disaster would be an understatement. Here are the drink mixes I tested and how they whipped up (or didn’t, I should say).

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

Test #1: Cocoa Powder

Review: I was only able to achieve a ribbony texture, not peaks, no matter how much I whipped the hot cocoa powder. The whipped cocoa made the drink more of a marbled chocolate milk versus a riff on a latte. It tasted good — like a frozen hot chocolate — but it was rather ugly, and the whipped cocoa powder was somewhat snotty. Would I make this again? No. Did I drink it and enjoy it anyways? Yes.

Did it work? Kind of.

Whip-ability: 6/10

My advice: If you want to try whipping instant hot cocoa at home, I suggest adding heavy cream to the mix like this TikTok video suggests — although that’s pretty much just making chocolate whipped cream at that point.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

Test #2: Instant Pudding Mix

Review: The first time I had pudding in a drink was at a bubble tea cafe in Chicago and I absolutely loved it, so I was excited to give this a try. Sadly the pudding didn’t whip up very much, and it never achieved a light and airy texture. It was slightly aerated, but not enough to dub a Dalgona success. It tasted good, but it definitely wasn’t what I was hoping for.

Did it work? Not really. The mixture turned into a lightly whipped pudding and was definitely not cloud-like.

Whip-ability: 3/10

My advice: Pudding in drinks is tasty, but it doesn’t whip up very well so don’t bother.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

Test #3: Powdered Peanut Butter

Review: This was a total flop. Powdered peanut butter does not whip. I whipped it for over five minutes and nothing happened. It pretty much just turned into a paste that sunk to the bottom of the milk. Don’t do it!

Did it work? No. Not at all.

Whip-ability: 0/10

My advice: If you really want to make a fluffy peanut butter drink, just whip peanut butter powder into heavy cream and serve it over milk. Otherwise it’s just not gonna whip!

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

Test #4: Matcha Powder

Review: As with the other tests, I first started out with just water, sugar, and matcha powder, as per the Dalgona method. Despite mixing for what felt like forever, it just wouldn’t whip. But according to i am food blog, if you introduce egg whites and simple syrup to the mix, you can create a frothy mixture that resembles the same texture as Dalgona coffee — so that’s exactly what I did. I whipped egg whites, streamed simple syrup in, and added matcha powder. It worked wonderfully and turned into a fluffy green cloud. I’m not sure this really counts as the Dalgona method, as it’s pretty much just whipped egg whites, but it tasted good and I thoroughly enjoyed drinking it.

Did it work? Yes, but only if you add egg whites.

Whip-ability: 0/10 without egg whites, 10/10 with egg whites

My advice: Save yourself the struggle and just follow i am food blog’s recipe and don’t attempt to whip it without eggs or cream.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

Test #5: Instant Lemonade

Review: Oh geez, now this was sad. I whipped, and whipped, and whipped — yet nothing happened. So instead of serving it over milk, I cut my losses and just added some more water and drank it.

Did it work? Not at all.

Whip-ability: 0/10

My advice: Just don’t.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

Test #6: Kool-Aid

Review: This is the point in the experiment where I decided to give up. I was going to test even more powdered beverages, but I simply couldn’t. Once again, it did not whip up, so I added some more water and sugar and drank Kool-Aid for the first time in my adult life.

Did it work? Not at all.

Whip-ability: 0/10

My advice: Don’t attempt to Dalgona anything except instant coffee!

TL;DR: Despite trying my hardest to mimic the results of Dalgona coffee, nothing whipped up quite the same. (In fact, many powdered beverages did not whip up at all.) So if you’re in the mood to make a frothy beverage, either stick to instant coffee or use the egg white/heavy cream method outlined by i am food blog. Whatever you do, just don’t do what I did. (And definitely don’t do what my coworker Tara did.)

Credit: Slack

Have you tried Dalgona coffee yet? Let us know in the comments!