How to Make Dalgona Coffee with Instant Espresso

A glass of milk with whipped coffee foam floating on top. Photo by Reghan Skerry.

Just like everyone else, I’m stuck at home and missing coffee shops desperately. Sure, I can (and do! Even when things are normal!) make good coffee at home, but sometimes I want a bit of variety.

It was only a matter of time before I gave in to temptation and tried to make dalgona-style iced coffee. 

(What’s dalgona coffee? i am a food blog has the best explanation I’ve come across.)

The thing is, I don’t keep regular instant coffee on hand, and I’m not going to buy it just to make a novelty coffee drink, no matter how cute. But I do usually have instant espresso powder around for baking. 

It’s not a direct substitution. Obviously. Even keeping that in mind, my first attempt was intense. Like… “I can see the whole of time and space” intense.

After a bit of trial and error, I found a ratio that tastes ok and isn’t too over-caffeinated. And because I’m sure some of you are as curious as I was, here’s the recipe.

Dalgona Coffee

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Dalgona (whipped) coffee using instant espresso powder.


  • 2 tsp. instant espresso powder
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. hot water
  • ¾ c. milk of your choice
  • ice cubes (optional)


  1. In a medium bowl, beat together espresso powder, sugar, and hot water. Continue mixing until the mixture thickens to your desired texture. (In my tests, it behaves more like beaten egg whites than whipped cream. “Soft peaks” is the ideal here.)
  2. Pour milk into a glass (over ice, if using… I didn’t). Using a spoon or silicone spatula, carefully scoop whipped coffee onto milk.
  3. Look at how pretty it is! (If you want to take a picture, this is when you do it.)
  4. To drink: gently stir the whipped coffee into the milk, preserving the slightly thicker, blended texture.

FYI: If you’re using an electric mixer, the coffee is going to spatter. Everywhere. Don’t ask me how I know. You can probably do it by hand, but it’ll take longer.