Froth or Fail: Southeast Asia whipping lockdown with Dalgona coffee challenge

A proper Dalgona coffee, at left, and a failed attempt, at right. Photos: Thyme & Joy, @Veetucini/Twitter
A proper Dalgona coffee, at left, and a failed attempt, at right. Photos: Thyme & Joy, @Veetucini/Twitter

Most of us are staying home and there’s not much to do, so now what? Whip up something good to brag on all your socials and reassure everyone that you’re doing fine all by yourself taking – or attempting – the Dalgona coffee challenge.

Yes that frothy coffee confection that’s been all over Southeast Asia’s timelines in recent weeks with photos of sweet successes and epic fails requires only ground coffee, water, and sugar to try at home.


It involves whipping ground coffee mixed with water and sugar in a 1:1:1 ratio. Use an electric mixer or get furious with a spoon (warning: this may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome) until it reaches a foam-like consistency before pouring it atop a glass of milk.

The coffee is named after a Korean candy of the same name that’s been beloved there since the 1970s. 

Gauging from all the photos we’ve seen, some have succeeded beautifully while other … outcomes … have been downright sad. 

Instagram user @Sugarbearry’s photo of a Dalgona coffee topped with the candy:


According to Google Trends, the term Dalgona coffee started trending in late January. A month later, a South Korean YouTuber known as Ddulgi demonstrated how to make the coffee in a video that’s now been watched nearly four million times. 

The coffee trend became even more popular thanks to a viral TikTok posted in early March that’s been watched 11.8 million times. Since then, Singaporeans have caught on and posting their own results.

A number have definitely nailed the challenge, including Instagram users @Thelocalmoment, @Tepoygabe, and @Mongabong, who have posted their cafe-worthy creations in the past few days. 


View this post on Instagram


My version of #dalgonacoffee ❤️ #homemade

A post shared by Stephen Gabe (@tepoygabe) on


View this post on Instagram


Bored at home activity : attempt to make the #tiktokcoffee #dalgonacoffee ! (Follow me on Tiktok if you haven’t already, it’s where I’ve been spending my time on lately ) The recipe is pretty simple, just gotta have lots of patience at the whisking part! (Ps after whisking for 30 mins we still weren’t able to have stiff peaks as seen online, but it was pretty thick and frothy so I have quite happy with it already. Tasted !!) – Recipe: Mix 1:1:1 ratio of coffee powder (not 3-in-1) sugar, and hot water. whisk the poop outa it, having an electric mixer is ideal for this step get some milk and ice (be generous w the ice) scoop frothy coffee over the top Tip: I found the ratio of milk:coffee 3:1 the best for my tastebuds! #tiktoksg

A post shared by Mongchin Yeoh (@mongabong) on

Meanwhile, there are those who tried … and failed.

Philippine Twitter user @Hazielhaziel_ posted her “epic fail” attempt last week. Her coffee looked more like a glass of frothy milk tea left out on a table too long. 


Another failed challenger, Twitter user @Urchineseboy from Indonesia, ended up with a glass of thick dark liquid.

“Was trying to make that Dalgona Coffee, but it fails. I’m okay,” he tweeted.

On the same tangent, Twitter user @Iamjarence found out that the third time’s not always a charm.

“4th try of dalgona coffee, still a fail!” she wrote.  

The challenge also comes with hazards like serious wrist pain.

“I got carpal tunnel trying to make that Dalgona coffee,” @JannyGotAGun tweeted yesterday.

One crafty woman saved herself the trouble by using a fan as an electric whisk. 

“First dalgona coffee attempt was a big fat fail next time I will use a different whisk and bowl I really need an electric whisk,” Twitter user @Amiiwig said. The next day, she did. Clever girl. 

For non-coffee drinkers, the challenge has been modified to include Milo chocolate malt drink.

“Experimented with Milo tak jadi [it failed] so poured the mixture into milk. 3-layer-Dalgona,” Singaporean @Pickyin tweeted Saturday.

Looks like the man had topped poorly mixed Milo mixture with one that had the correct consistency, making it a three-layered drink with the milk at the bottom. 

For a Thai twist, this TikTokker whipped up some Thai Tea powder mix. Not too convinced by the outcome, but style points for generous use of sparkle FX.

So it seems this Dalgona coffee trend may stick around for now. After watching everyone try their luck, our best tip is to save yourself the physiotherapy bills by getting an electric mixer. Otherwise, you could stick to a regular cup of tea. 



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3 new(er) bubble tea spots in Singapore to get your cravings sorted

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