14 successful and terrible attempts to make dalgona coffee at home

The drink all over Instagram, YouTube and TikTok is easy to make at home, but some results are prettier than others.

Rich Brown
Rich was the editorial lead for CNET's Home and Wellness sections, based in Louisville, Kentucky. Before moving to Louisville in 2013, Rich ran CNET's desktop computer review section for 10 years in New York City. He has worked as a tech journalist since 1994, covering everything from 3D printing to Z-Wave smart locks.
Rich Brown
1 of 14 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Got dalgona?

The Korean coffee confection and Instagram staple dalgona coffee has captured our attention for CNET makes...! this week. After writing up our own set of directions for making the creamy coffee glop at home, we put it to the CNET staff to try it for themselves.   

Managing Editor Jessica Dolcourt kicks things off. "It was cool watching it all come together. I personally think a larger batch is ultimately easier and more worthwhile than a single serving." Agree, especially if you're mixing it by hand. 

2 of 14 Karisa Langlo/CNET

Dalgona mocha

Search Editor Karisa Langlo knows what the people really want. "I've attempted to make chocolate dalgona coffee twice now and concluded that it definitely works better if you add the chocolate to the milk instead of to the coffee."  

3 of 14 Carrie Mihalcik/CNET

No shame in the mixing game

Editor Carrie Mihalcik finds the dalgona trend "one of the few silver linings of lockdown -- I'm seriously missing trips to the coffee shop. We've started experimenting (based on suggestions from the internet) with mixing in things like mint and lemon zest. Also, I'm lazy so I just use a KitchenAid stand mixer to whip it all together."

4 of 14 Connie Guglielmo/CNET

Irish it up

"We borrowed two tablespoons of decaf Taster's Choice from our neighbors (traded away some banana bread!) and used a hand mixer to whip these up," says CNET Editor in Chief Connie Guglielmo. "We put them in the glasses we bought for when we make Buena Vista Cafe Irish coffees (it's a thing in San Francisco). I thought they tasted pretty good but my husband says his tasted really great by adding a tablespoon of Irish whiskey (Bushmill's, though the Buena Vista recommends Tullamore Dew)."

5 of 14 Andy Altman/CNET

Hawaiian shirt and relentlessly upbeat demeanor not included

Senior producer Andy Altman says, "Mine is a Trader Joe's ad. It was fantastic though I have to admit I wasn't prepared for how long the blending took."  

6 of 14 Brian Bennett/CNET

Brian caffei-needs it

While dalgona coffee calls for equal parts water, sugar and instant coffee to make the creamy topping, that's still not enough stimulant to meet the needs of our chief coffee machine tester and Senior Editor Brian Bennett. "I kicked mine up a notch with a shot of Jot, and used espresso instant coffee powder," he yells. "Yeah! Feeling caffeinated!"  

7 of 14 Chris Paukert/CNET


Roadshow Executive Editor Chris Paukert writes, "Clearly I should've worked on my peaks more... Still tasty, though. And you can't really tell from this photo, but it was actually very thick! I love the taste of coffee, and even cut with a little cocoa and cinnamon, the cream (does this qualify as crema?) by itself was very strong."

8 of 14 Bonnie Gannon/CNET

Alas, there is no T-shirt

Says laconic Executive Producer Bonnie Gannon: "I was curious. I made it. I drank it. I'm over it."  

9 of 14 Rich Brown/CNET

This isn't coffee, it's dessert

As a drinker of black coffee, this is not what I'm looking for in the morning, but I get the appeal.  

It's like taking coffee-flavored cupcake frosting and plopping it down on top of a cup of iced milk. I whisked mine together by hand, which took about five minutes. 

10 of 14 Sarah Tew/CNET

The keto version

"I made a keto version loosely based on this recipe but more improvised," writes Senior Photographer Sarah Tew. 

- 1 cup of iced coffee I had made in a regular coffee maker (no instant available)

- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (fat = good in keto diet!)

- 10-12 hazelnut stevia drops instead of sugar

- about 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt and a splash of plain kefir to add a healthy probiotic dose.

"Came out pretty nicely as a dessert-like coffee drink. I tried freezing the leftovers to make 'coffee ice cream' but unfortunately it does not scoop well, it just flakes (too airy I guess), so I did not photograph that."

11 of 14 Anna Munoz/CNET

No air, don't care

Executive Assistant Anna Munoz says, "I don't have a hand mixer so I used an aerolatte milk frother and was only able to whip it up into a syrupy consistency. Loved how part of it would drip down to the bottom. For the milk portion I used 2/3 almond milk and 1/3 milk. It was like taking shots of espresso with milk chasers. Delicious!"  

12 of 14 Patricia Puentes/CNET

Worth a shot

"Mine was a failed attempt at 'dalgona tea' (I don't drink coffee) with some brewed breakfast black tea and sugar," says Senior Editor Patricia Puentes. "I used both a hand blender and then the KitchenAid stand mixer. Not even that way could I get much more than some froth, but no real consistency. I added the frothy tea to some almond milk. I don't think I'll repeat the experiment because I'm not much for sweet or cold tea. But it was fun to try :)"   

13 of 14 Erin Carson/CNET

What if we tell people it's something else?

Reporter Erin Carson says, "Jessica said I should send you the pic of my failed cocoa powder dalgona noncoffee anyway. Haha I will leave it up to you if it's worth including."

It's worth it, Erin, only for this opportunity to test my journalistic integrity. I thought about telling our readers you just said "eff it" and made a White Russian. 

As it happens, I cannot, even for this.

14 of 14 Iyaz Akhtar/CNET

Spelled it wrong, too

From Iyaz Akhtar, dad. "And here's my Balogna coffee... I think I did it wrong."

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