We might have Gen Z’s disposition for coziness to thank for the recent boom in home café content. Instagram accounts like @y.na_ (nominated for the 2020 Shorty Award for Best Social Media in the food category) have spearheaded a trend that's grown wildly popular, not just on Instagram but all over the world wide web, including on TikTok. Home cafés have been a particularly cozy corner of the internet since at least the mid-2010s when South Korean Instagram accounts like y.na shared sunlit videos of elaborate "café" drinks being poured into even more elaborate serving cups. Think of a beautiful iced matcha latte getting slowly poured into a sparkling glass while Billie Holiday plays in the background.
But these videos always show elaborate ice molds, unattainable ingredients like mugwort and edible flowers, and all sorts of serving tools that while beautiful, aren't entirely true to the idea of a home café. Then came the Dalgona latte: a superbly-sweet coffee concoction that relies on a caramel-thick layer of foamy coffee to bring it all together.
To make the Internet-famous drink, add equal parts (about two tablespoons per serving) hot water, sugar, and instant coffee to a big bowl. The water needs to be hot so that the coffee and sugar can dissolve. If you don't have a hand mixer (or can't be bothered with the cleaning), it's going to take some elbow grease. Use a fork or a whisk to mix it all together — it will help you add air into the mixture so it gets fluffy. For a happy medium, you can use a milk frother. Once everything is mixed in and the mixture looks frothy and glossy, pour it into a glass of milk (ice optional) and serve.
According to Hypebae, we have actor Jung Il-woo to credit for naming it Dalgona, after a Korean street food confection that uses sugar and baking soda. While Dalgona is a viral success on TikTok, it's also gaining steam on YouTube. A fellow Refinery29 writer Kathryn Lindsay found Michelle Choi's video on Youtube and decided, at that moment that she would give the recipe a try. "When I saw I already had all the ingredients AKA didn't have to expose myself to disease to make it, it was a little burst of sunshine in my day," she says.
Her verdict? "I have to doctor my coffee so much normally so I was nervous this wouldn't be sweet enough for me, but it's perfectly sweet, and because it's whipped, it kind of has a milkshake consistency." Despite enjoying the drink, Lindsay says she probably won't be drinking it every morning. "I think I'm gonna save it for special occasions because it uses a lot of milk," she explains. Take note of that, if you're planning to make Dalgona yourself.
In these homebound times, coziness has become a national hobby. When you work, exercise, and happy hour from home, you take advantage of the fact that maximum coziness is just a few extra steps and some candles away. The biggest mistake you can make while working from home is to roll out of bed and straight into work. So maybe the key to taking advantage of what would've been commute time to slowly wake up is to try out a coffee recipe like this one.