The Easy Way Alton Brown Amplifies The Flavor Of Dalgona Coffee

Dalgona coffee, also called whipped coffee, was created in Macau, but exploded in popularity in Korea and around the world during COVID-19, according to the Macau Post Daily. Known as "hand-beaten coffee" to locals, the Macau Post Daily explains that the drink was given the name dalgona and rose to prominence thanks to a Korean TV show. Dalgona loosely translates to "it's sweet," in Korean (via Sprudge), and the whipped coffee was given its unofficial name when Korean actor, Jung Il-woo tried it in Macau and mentioned it reminded him of dalgona, a Korean honeycomb street candy (via The New York Times), which originated in Busan, South Korea in the 1960s (per Sprudge). The popularity of the drink reached global levels in 2020 when TikTok tutorials shared how to recreate it at home using common household coffee ingredients. Celebrities like Lizzo even jumped on the trend, reports Glamour.

Alton Brown — host of Food Network's Good Eats, Iron Chef America, and Cutthroat Kitchen — is no stranger to internet trendy foods. On his YouTube channel, he frequently shares food reviews, tutorials, and recipes for things like fried biscuits, a smoky tequila sour cocktail, and an upgraded macaroni and cheese. The award-winning chef even shared his trick to enhance the taste of dalgona coffee at the height of its popularity. Even though it might not be trending on social media these days, this upgrade may make you want to give it another try.

He makes one simple swap

In 2020, Alton Brown shared a tutorial on his YouTube channel of himself making dalgona coffee in the Good Eats test kitchen. The standard recipe for dalgona coffee combines equal parts water, sugar, and instant coffee powder. Brown swaps out the instant coffee for instant espresso powder, stating that he believes it has more flavor and makes for a better drink. For an added note of sweetness? He also adds a few drops of vanilla extract before whipping it all together. The swaps slightly change how the drink tastes, but shouldn't affect the science behind dalgona coffee and how it whips up. 

According to Waka Coffee & Tea, if you're looking for a quick pick-me-up, instant espresso is the way to go. The amount of caffeine in instant coffee can vary by brand, but instant espresso stays fairly consistent — 63mg per for every 1 to 1.75oz serving, the same as a shot of brewed espresso. Instant espresso also features a bolder, richer flavor when used for baking, so it may be a good addition if you're looking to offset the sugar and milk of your next cup of dalgona coffee.