How to Make Thicker Coffee: A Quick Guide

Coffee has been one of the morning’s staples for as far back as we can remember. For those who love coffee, there’s nothing quite like waking up in the morning to the smell of a fresh pot of hot joe brewing in the kitchen. One of the newest hot trends in coffee, however, is the creation of thick coffee.

Getting your coffee thicker and drinking it cold is a delicious new way to spice up your morning. This method of coffee, known as Dalgona coffee, is taking the world by storm.

To make thicker coffee, it’s best to use an espresso machine with a dark roast coffee bean. French press, Moka Pot, and Aeropress are other good alternatives. Two popular thick coffee recipes include Dalgona Coffee and Vietnamese Coffee.

There’s much to cover about making your coffee thicker. Keep reading to learn all the tips and tricks of making thicker coffee. We’ll also cover how to make two signature coffee beverages: Vietnamese coffee and Dalgona Coffee.

How do I Make my Coffee Thicker?

Your average cup of coffee made at home with a drip coffee maker will have a thinner consistency, while an espresso drink at the local coffee shop will be thicker. How can you replicate this at home?

Adding heavy cream and brown sugar are always an option to increase thickness, but these are full of extra calories you may want to avoid for health reasons. 

What Brewing Method Makes the Thickest Coffee?

Alternatively, you can choose a particular brewing method and other additives to get a fuller-bodied coffee. If you have an espresso maker, it is the best option since it has a smaller water ratio to coffee grounds. Remember, espresso calls for a fine grind size on your burr grinder.

Another great option for brewing thicker coffee is your immersion brewers. French Press, AeroApress, and even Moka Pots are great alternatives. 

What Roast Coffee Beans Make the Thickest Coffee?

Coffee roast also plays a role. Dark roast coffee beans are optimal for brewing thick due to their oily surfaces. 

You’ll taste more of the stronger flavors from roasting, such as chocolaty, caramel, and nutty.

Dark roast coffee beans are best to use when trying to make your coffee thick and full bodied.

What can you Add to Coffee to Make it Thicker?

As mentioned, you can add heavy whipping cream to your coffee to thicken it. Other ingredients include condensed milk, whipped cream, or xanthin gum. In fact, xanthan gum is the best way to thicken milk for your iced coffee without changing its taste. 

Dalgona Coffee

Dalgona coffee is the latest coffee craze that has not only swept the nation but the entire world. Though there are cultures that have been making this thick coffee for decades, Dalgona coffee really made its mark with the start of the Covid19 pandemic. Since many states and even countries were under strict stay at home orders, foodies and beverage fans alike took to the Instagram and Youtube platforms to share their creations. One of these creations was Dalgona coffee. 

Made by whisking and mixing traditional coffee ingredients in a different way, Dalgona coffee is named after a Korean candy called “dalgona.” It got its name by being sweet and pleasant in flavor, similar to the honeycomb dalgona candy. The name caught on when a series of Korean Youtubers turned to the platform to share how they make this beverage, calling it “dalgona,” meaning sweet, in their videos. 

The thick and creamy Dalgona coffee has since gained acclaim as the hip new morning beverage, gaining notoriety with its own hashtag online. Though technically a caffeine-filled cold morning beverage suited best for warm climates, some fans love drinking it all throughout the day and regardless of the season.

The History of Making Thick Dalgona Coffee

When talking about the origins of the newly popular Dalgona coffee, it is easy to declare that it came from Macau, a cafe in South Korea where a man named Leong Kam Hon made it in his small cafe called Hon Kee Cafe. 

Leong Kam Hon was a former shipbuilder and decided to open his cafe in the early 1990s after an injury forced him to retire early from his career. When making his chilled coffee beverages each day, Kam Hon began to stir instant coffee with a whisk as fast as he could as practice for his kung fu classes. The mixture turned into a lovely froth that resembled meringue.

Also known as “400x coffee” because it is said to be mixed at least 400 times by hand, the coffee beverage has also been dubbed “Chow Yun-Fat” coffee as well as a few other names since its perceived origination. These additional names include:

  • Pheta Coffee, or “beaten” coffee
  • Pehnti Hui Coffee
  • Hand-Beaten Coffee
  • Indian Cappucino
  • And more

A Frappe By Any Other Name

While usually attributed to South Korea, Dalgona coffee has more than one origination story. It just so happens that what Americans like to call a “frappe” in the United States, a cold and chunky ice slushy, is actually not a frappe at all. 

In Greece, a “frappe” is a very famous and beloved drink that actually refers to Dalgona Coffee. It is Greece’s unofficial national drink and popular throughout the year.

In Libya, Dalgona Coffee has also made its mark. It is known as a Libyan Style Cappucino, or as the Israeli’s call it, “NescafĂ©.” In India, Dalgona Coffee is just referred to as an Indian Cappucino, with its ratio of milk to coffee froth being more even than it is in Korea. In Cuba, the drink involves whipping the sugar in with hot espresso rather than room temperature instant coffee. Despite these differences, Dalgona Coffee remains relatively the same across the world and has proven to be a loved beverage by many cultures and countries.

A Quick Guide to Making a Thicker Coffee

Making a gorgeous and tasty thicker Dalgona Coffee might seem like something only a professional chef or barista can do. This, however, isn’t the case. It does not take years of practice or food knowledge to be able to make this yummy caffeinated treat. By following our quick step by step guide, anyone can make a Dalgona Coffee as their daily morning cup of joe.

Step 1: Clear your Kitchen Space

When preparing to make Dalgona Coffee, it is important that you have a clean and safe space in which to do it. Making this coffee involves a lot of mixing, measuring, and whisking, so giving yourself a lot of room will ensure that nothing gets knocked over when you are working hard to complete those “400 whisks” for a smooth and frothy Dalgona topper.

Step 2: Choose your Ingredients

Choosing the best ingredients will make the difference between a delicious out-of-this-world Dalgona coffee and an average tasting thick coffee. While coffee is coffee in whatever form to a true caffeine lover, it is always best to make the highest quality Dalgona Coffee possible. In order to make the best thick Dalgona Coffee, choose the following ingredients:

  • A high-quality instant coffee such as NescafĂ© or an organic fair-trade finely ground bean from your local coffee roaster — choose a coffee that has caramel or cocoa undertones for a truly sweet Dalgona Coffee experience
  • Ice cubes made of spring or drinking water — a large amount of crushed ice also works well for Dalgona coffee, especially on a hot day
  • Organic alternative milk for non-dairy drinkers — choose from almond milk, oat milk, or soy milk for best consistency results and avoid hemp milk or rice milk due to their thinness
  • Organic milk from a local dairy — if you are a dairy drinker, choose whole milk or two percent milk for a delicious and creamy cup of coffee
  • Organic white, brown sugar, or coconut sugar — agave or honey can be used for those who do not consume regular sugar but are not recommended due to their liquid consistencies
  • Spring or drinking water — cold water works best for creating the fluffy whipped Dalgona Coffee top

The amounts of these ingredients that you will need if only making one or two servings are:

  • 2 tbsp of cold water or 2 tbsp of cold milk
  • 2 tbsp of granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp of instant coffee 
  • A handful of ice for serving
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, or coffee grounds optional to top (10 Ways to Flavor Your Coffee)
  • Roughly 8 ounces to 12 ounces of milk or alternative milk for serving

Step 3: Gather your Equipment

The next step in making a thicker coffee like Dalgona coffee is to gather the right equipment. While your ingredients are the most important part of your thick coffee beverage, having the right tools can make or break your coffee. The best equipment for making Dalgona coffee includes:

  • A beautiful glass cup for drinking your Dalgona coffee — make sure the rim is large enough to contain a big dollop of whipped coffee and sugar
  • A medium-sized glass, steel, or ceramic bowl for whisking your ingredients — choose a bowl that is light in color so you can really witness the full effect of your ingredients turning into froth before your eyes
  • A metal spoon — this will help you fold and scoop the mixture into your cup when it is ready
  • A metal whisk — use a hand whisk for complete control over your mixture, or take a chance and use an electronic whisk for a quick and easy foam
  • Measuring cups — different sets of measuring cups and spoons will be needed depending on how many servings of Dalgona Coffee you plan to make at once

Step 4: Combine Sugar, Water or Mik, and Coffee

Once you have assembled all of your top-notch ingredients and reliable beverage-making equipment, it is time to start combing your sugar, water or milk, and coffee to create the frothy top. To combine, just pour all of the ingredients into the bowl very slowly. For making one to two servings, you will need to use:

  • 2 tbsp of cold water or 2 tbsp of cold milk
  • 2 tbsp of granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp of instant coffee 

Step 5: Use a Whisk or Hand Mixer

Once your ingredients have been added to the medium bowl of your choice, you will need to mix them together until they make a foam that resembles French meringue or chocolate mousse. While it is best to use a hand mixer or whisk so that you have complete control over your mixture and won’t run the risk of over-whisking, it is also okay to use a hand mixer or electric whisk if you prefer.

Step 6: Fold Until your Mixture Thickens

After whisking the ingredients together, you will need to fold your frothy mixture until lit becomes even thicker. Some people skip this step altogether. But in order to make a thicker and creamier Dalgona coffee, you must complete this step until you can visually notice a thickening in your coffee topper mixture.

Make sure you fold in a clockwise motion, folding in figure eights occasionally to fluff the mixture as you go. To complete this step, use the metal spoon mentioned in the equipment section of this guide. 

Step 7: Rinse and Dry your Glass

When you pour your Dalgona Coffee mixture into the cup, it is important to make sure that it will not melt upon contact with your glass. To ensure your Dalgona Coffee will stay cool and refreshing for when you are ready for your first jolt of morning caffeine, rinse your glass out with the coldest water possible. Then, use a cool or room temperature towel to dry it off so that you are not accidentally watering your coffee down with any extra moisture.

Another option for cooling your glass is to place it in the fridge or freezer for a little while before serving. Make sure that the glass does not remain for too long, however, because it can run the risk of breaking in the cold. When you take your glass out, give it a good rub down with a paper towel to remove any condensation.

Step 8: Fill your Glass with Ice

Upon taking your glass from the freezer or rising it with cold water, fill it with a handful of either cubed or crushed ice. Make sure you don’t fill it to the top of the glass so that there is still room for the creamy coffee top.

Step 9: Fill your Glass with Milk

When your glass is partly full of your favorite style of ice, fill your glass only partway with the milk of your choice. Depending on how much whipped Dalgona Coffee topper you have made, you can add more or less milk to your preference.

Step 10: Dollop your Whipped Mixture on Top

The best step in the Dalgona Coffee creation process is when you get to take your metal spoon and gently dollop the whipped coffee and sugar mixture on top of the milk in your glass. Scoop it carefully so that it does not become overwhipped or liquified during the serving process.

Step 11: Create a Swirl with your Spoon

After the mixture has been dolloped onto the top of your beverage, take your metal spoon and place its end on the highest point of the fluffy mixture. Move it in a clockwise circular motion to create a swirl on top so that it looks like a typically served Dalgona Coffee.

Step 12: Sprinkle with Optional Toppings

When your delicious Dalgona Coffee is complete, you have the option to mix things up a little bit by adding some of your favorite toppings. The most common toppings are meant to enhance, rather than detract, from the flavor of the coffee itself, and they include:

  • Cinnamon (powdered)
  • Coffee grounds (finely ground)
  • Nutmeg (regular)

For a less conventional topping, you can feel free to mix it up by adding anything from fresh fruit to chocolate or even whipped cream and sprinkles!

Step 13: Enjoy!

Congratulations! You have completed all of the steps to making your very first thick and creamy Dalgona Coffee. Now you get to sit back, relax, and enjoy the delicious beverage you have created by hand.

Taste Differences Between Thick and Thin Coffees

While some might say there isn’t really a taste difference between thin and thick coffees, it’s the texture that makes all the difference. Thin coffees are often made of brewed black coffee with a little bit of milk and sugar mixed in if sugar is even used at all. The milk and the coffee tend to separate, while the sugar, even when dissolved, sits mostly at the bottom of the cup. This gives regular thin coffee a layered taste that comes in waves. 

Unlike thin coffee, thick Dalgona Coffee offers a strong caffeine flavor that is fully integrated with all the sugar used in the beverage. The milk sits at the bottom of the coffee, allowing you to slowly mix the coffee into the milk rather than pouring it into the coffee. The thickness of Dalgona Coffee allows the creamy top to float above the milk and makes the most difference when creating an even flavor throughout your coffee-sipping experience.

While the taste of your coffee will always differ depending on what type of milk, sweetener, and coffee substances you decide to use, it is almost guaranteed that thick Dalgona Coffee will have a smoother and bolder taste over thin coffee every single time.

Personalizing Your Favorite Lovely Cup of Dalgona

While the classic original thick Dalgona Coffee recipe is popular for a reason, there are also many options when it comes to personalizing your beverage to make your very own version of a special Dalgona drink. 

There are many things you can do when it comes to personalizing Dalgona Coffee. The options are endless and include:

  • Adding extracts such as peppermint, vanilla, or almond to add an extra punch of flavor depending on your mood
  • Adding more or less coffee to taste
  • Adding toppings such as whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate chips, fresh fruit, or even edible sparkles
  • Creating a Dalgona Sandwich with a whipped mixture on both the top and the bottom of your glass while the milk remains in the middle Making Dalgona into a hot beverage by forgoing the ice altogether and steaming your milk
  • Putting your Dalgona whipped topping on the bottom and your milk on top for an upside-down twist on the traditional Dalgona Coffee
  • Skipping the ice
  • Skipping the milk and the ice and enjoying the whipped Dalgona topping with a spoon as though it is a strong coffee mousse
  • Switching out coffee altogether for a strawberry, chocolate, matcha, or vanilla take on the Dalgona
  • Switching up the type of milk or even sugar than you typically choose to use
  • And more

Turning A Dalgona Coffee into a Hot Beverage

For those steadfast coffee addicts who can’t quite get behind the idea of switching to cold coffee in the mornings, or if you would just rather drink a warm beverage come wintertime, turning your cold Dalgona Coffee into a hot beverage is a breeze. Just follow the exact same steps when it comes to mixing your thick coffee top. Then, when you are ready, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Pour 8 to 12 ounces of your choice of milk or alternative milk into a milk steamer or microwavable mug. If you do not have a milk steamer or microwave, you can heat it on the stove by turning your stovetop dial to medium heat.

Step 2: Heat your milk until it is almost boiling. Don’t let it boil, however, because it will love flavor and thickness.

Step 3: Personalize your milk by adding any flavors or extra sweeteners you desire.

Step 4: Stir your milk with a metal spoon to incorporate any of the milk foam that has occurred while heating the milk. This will make for an even thicker beverage. Make sure to avoid wooden spoons because they can soak up the milk like a sponge rather than offset its heat as metal spoons do.

Step 5: Pour the warm milk into a heat-safe mug or glass.

Step 6: Spoon your thick whipped Dalgona topping on top of the warm milk and create the swirl just like when making a traditional cold Dalgona Coffee.

Step 7: Top with cinnamon, nutmeg, instant coffee grounds, or anything else you desire.

Step 8: Enjoy! You have successfully created a warm and soothing thick Dalgona Coffee to enjoy in even the coldest weather.

Can Classic Dalgona Coffee Be Made Stronger?

While traditionally thick and classic Dalgona coffee is usually made with specific ingredients, including milk, sugar, and instant coffee, it can technically be made stronger to suit the taste of the person who will be drinking it. In order to make your Dalgona coffee extra strong for a real morning jolt of caffeinated energy, simply do one or more of the following:

  • Add an extra scoop or two of instant coffee
  • Drop an espresso shot or two onto your regular Dalgona Coffee
  • Make more of the whipped coffee topping and pour in less milk for a unique cappuccino effect in your Dalgona
  • Use very finely ground coffee beans with a higher caffeine content

How to Make Dalgona Coffee Without the Caffeine

Though the internet has exploded with coffee lovers across the world professing their newfound love and devotion to thick and delicious Dalgona Coffee, this beverage can also be enjoyed by those who do not like caffeine or even the taste of coffee at all. 

Making A Thick Dalgona Coffee Using Decaf

Are you someone who wants all the taste and texture of a deliciously sweet and thick Dalgona Coffee without the effects of actually drinking a caffeine beverage, or would you like to drink a Dalgona in the evening without missing out on sleep? In that case, you can easily make Dalgona Coffee using decaf. 

To do so, simply switch out your regular instant coffee or finely ground coffee for decaf coffee to get the same flavor without the buzz! Remember, decaf coffee does contain trace amounts of caffeine, so although your beverage won’t be as highly caffeinated, it could still keep you up past your usual bedtime.

A Dalgona Beverage for Those Who Don’t Like Coffee

If you are one of those people who do not like the taste or smell of coffee, never fear! The famously thick and creamy Dalgona Coffee beverage can be made without any coffee at all. To make a coffee-free Dalgona drink for you or your kids, simply choose a different flavor that can come in powder form to replace the recipe’s coffee. A few tasty ideas for a coffee-free and caffeine-free Dalgona include:

  • Caramel flavoring packets
  • Dried and ground strawberry powder
  • Hot chocolate powder
  • Matcha powder
  • Vanilla bean powder
  • Cocoa powder
  • And more 

How to Thicken Other Favorite Beverages

If you are now a huge fan of the thick Dalgona Coffee beverage but want to spice things up with our other favorite beverages, consider thickening them up too! You can create other thick beverages such as thick hot chocolate, thick egg nog, thick steamed milk, and more by mixing sugar, water or milk, and a powdered version of that beverage. 

Then, whisk until the ingredients become fluffy, just like you would for Dalgona Coffee. When you have a beautiful and thick substance, pour your milk or beverage liquid into your glass over ice and add the thick mixture on top. Voila! Nearly any beverage, including milk or a milk alternative, can be thickened. 

A Delicious Alternative to your Morning Caffeine Routine

Whether you decide to try your Dalgona Coffee hot or cold, know that you are not alone in your newly found love for this famously popular beverage. Beloved across the world and in all different forms, the Dalgona Coffee craze has taken the world by storm as an incredible alternative to your boring morning caffeine routine. Whether you only like to have it once in a while to spice things up or you have switched to drinking Dalgona Coffee every single morning, we are convinced that the thick Dalgona Coffee trend is here to stay.

What is Vietnamese Coffee?

Vietnamese coffee contains sweetened condensed milk for its flavor. Combined with the strong bitter-tasting coffee, it produces a perfectly balanced cup full of sweet, rich flavors. This ingredient is used in making ice cream and other delicious desserts, so you can imagine how it adds yummy goodness to the coffee.

What’s also great about condensed milk is that it can stay good for years, whereas liquid creamer used in regular coffee can’t last as long. To read how long creamer lasts, click here!

Similar to the coffee we are used to, Vietnamese coffee can be served both hot or cold. Since the coffee is so strong, it is perfect for making iced coffee. As the ice melts, the coffee is still bold and full of flavor.

To learn all about Vietnamese coffee and how to make it, click here.

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