How to Make the Viral Dalgona Boba Coffee at Home

Updated on: February 8, 2023
Author: Nick
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Dalgona Boba Coffee

I know you’ve seen it. Its foamy top swirls around before the layer of milk, coffee, and ice.

Dalgona boba coffee has gone viral!

Dalgona “bubble tea” coffee looks like one of Ru Paul’s wigs, spirally high and perfectly in place. This whipped coffee drink may have recently gained popularity, but it’s been around for a while.

If you haven’t seen or heard of dalgona coffee (maybe you were at your vacation home on the moon), then never fear, we’ll tell you all about it, so you’re not left out at the water cooler.

Let’s get started...

What is Dalgona Coffee and Where Does it Come From?

Dalgona coffee (pronounced dal-go-nah) is a bit of an enigma. No one knows where exactly dalgona coffee originates from.

Its name comes from the Korean word “dalguna” which means “it’s sweet”.

The typical dalgona coffee recipe calls for instant coffee, sugar, and water whipped into a thick delicious foam and piled onto a cup of milk. The foam dissolves satisfyingly as it hits your tongue. Both sweet and bitter. 

Dalgona coffee went viral at the start of 2020 when actor Jung Il-woo tried the drink on a Korean TV show Stars’ Top Recipe at Fun-Staurant. It reminded him of the candy dalgona. With this new name, it started a trend.

You may recognize the candy dalgona or ppopgi. It’s a Korean honeycomb sugar candy that was featured in Squid Game.

Dalgona Candy - Squid Game

(if you don’t know this, you’ve been on that vacation home on the moon for some time).

In Squid Game, the contestants are given this yellow candy and have to cut a shape out of it. It is similar to the candy called honeycomb in the UK. 

Thankfully there are no shapes to be cut out of the honeycomb before you get shot in the face.

While we can’t be specific about where it comes from, we do know it originated from Busan in South Korea in the 1960s.

It also seems to come from Macau and a small shipyard café called HonKee Café. A former shipbuilder Leong Kam Hon opened the café in the 90s and he apparently learned the whipped coffee recipe from a foreign couple who attended the Macau grand prix.

There are other versions of whipped coffee through the years including in India where it is called phenti hui and in Greece, called frappe.

What is Dalgona Boba Coffee?

Well, let’s clear some confusion straight away. This boba drink does not contain any tea, but as you may know the nomenclature of bubble tea (or boba) can be confusing.

So don’t be surprised if you hear something like dalgona bubble tea coffee. Hah! Nowadays many bubble tea flavors don’t even contain tea!

This whipped coffee is made from whipping sweetened instant coffee into a thick foam. It contains coffee, milk, sugar, ice, and brown sugar tapioca boba pearls.

Dalgona coffee with boba has a sweet taste with a hint of bitterness from coffee. Its icy temperature makes it a refreshing drink, balancing the sweet and bitter tastes.

The color is a light brown thick foam that gets lighter with the dark almost black tapioca boba pearls at the bottom.

The texture is smooth, as the froth dissolves on your tongue. Then the rich coffee with its hint of bitterness rolls over your tongue. The chewiness of the tapioca pearls is a great contrasting texture with a burst of sweetness.

How Do You Drink This Dalgona Coffee with Boba?

Whether you want to mix the layers together or not, simply sip and enjoy this deliciously creamy drink in your reusable boba cup and straw.

You can even store it in a boba mini fridge, that is, if you have one!

Boba Mini Fridge

Are There Any Alternative Versions of this Whipped Coffee Boba Drink?

You can go wild and make any concoction you can think of.

Try a different type of milk such as coconut milk, almond milk, oat, or strawberry for a different flavor.

You can also use different brown or white sugar, or different sugar syrups for the sweetener.

Try a lavender syrup that turns the dalgona coffee a lovely lilac color.

You might even have seen a green one with blue foam, made from Kool-Aid and Cool Whip. It looked more like a creation from Rick and Morty.

If you don’t fancy the full-on frothiness of a dalgona coffee with boba then you can try a boba latte or another type of bubble coffee.

There are other recipes called dalgona boba tea or milk tea, which actually use tea bags, or even better, loose tea leaves.

We’ll get on it as soon as we can!

How to Make Dalgona Boba Coffee at Home?

This is a simple recipe on how to make dalgona boba coffee from the comfort of your home. It assumes you have purchased your own boba pearls.


PowerLix Hand Held Milk Frother

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Ingredient List

For 1-2 servings

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, could use simple syrup, honey etc.

  •  2 tablespoons instant coffee

  • 2 tablespoons of sugar (either brown or white)

  • Cup of tapioca pearls  

  • 3 tablespoons water 

  • Milk

  • Ice

WuFuYuan Black Tapioca Pearls

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Wholesome Organic Dark Brown Sugar

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Preparation Method

  1. Boil water in a saucepan on a medium heat.

  2. Add your boba pearls to the boiling water, simply follow the package instructions. Otherwise, if you are brave, make your own boba pearls from scratch.

  3. Once they start to float then they are ready. Take your cooked tapioca pearls out with a slotted spoon and put them into cold water.

  4. Drain the cold water, then add the cooked tapioca pearls to syrup, sugar, or honey to absorb the sweetness.

  5. Add the sweetened tapioca pearls to a glass cup, then add milk and ice to taste.

  6. In a separate bowl, blend your instant coffee with sugar and water and whisk until frothy. You can use an electric whisk or whip by hand (which isn't advisable as it takes about five minutes). Then top off the drink with your whipped coffee concoction.

  7. Now enjoy your boba dalgona coffee!

Or you can just buy a boba tea kit that comes with all these ingredients!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Use Instant Coffee?

Instant coffee contains a preservative called xanthan gum that stabilizes coffee when whipped. Needs to be powder not finely ground.

Can you use coffee pearls instead of brown sugar pearls?

Yes, you can either make your own coffee pearls or purchase them and add them to your dalgona coffee whip. You can also use other types of boba pearls including crystal, rainbow, or popping boba.

How many calories are in dalgona boba coffee?

There are 374 calories, 14 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, and 60grams of carbs. That isn’t including the tapioca starch pearls which are 358 calories per 100grams!

So, not the healthiest of drinks!

Is boba vegan?

You can make your boba vegan, including a dalgona boba coffee. Substitute the milk with oat milk or another non-dairy milk instead.

Some will not create as much foam as others, but it still tastes delicious.

How to Make the Viral Dalgona Boba Coffee at Home

Bottom Line

Dalgona boba coffee is an impressive-looking drink. Its creaminess mixed with the sweetness of the sugar and the bitterness of the coffee makes for a beautifully balanced iced drink.

And if you don’t like it (maybe you don’t have taste buds), then it always makes a great Instagram post.

Nick loves coffee... Actually, he NEEDS coffee! So, he has dedicated his time to learning all he can about this magical bean. He can make a mean latte, is obsessed with flat whites, and is always up for a cup of java!
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