A Korean Latte You’ll Love

Photo courtesy of Heidi Billotto

Photo courtesy of Heidi Billotto

This International Coffee Day, let your inner barista come out to play with a fun Asian street food-inspired take on traditional lattes.

The inspiration for this coffee sipper is Dalgona, a Korean sweet made with caramelized sugar and baking soda. 

In America, pastry chefs often add honey as the caramel cooks, calling the confection Honeycomb Toffee or Sponge Candy.

Prepare the basic recipe for the crunchy candied topping, then use it to top a glass of milk, pouring a shot of espresso over all. Or substitute ice cream for milk, making a variation of the Italian after-dinner coffee, affogato.

As the world was under COVID-19 quarantine, a recipe for a quick and easy faux dalgona, made by beating together 2 Tbsp. each of instant coffee, sugar, and boiling water into a mixer until it formed a thick foam, became a social media sensation. Dubbed “Whipped Coffee,” it’s reminiscent of the caramel color of dalgona. It is also served floating on top of a glass of cold or warm milk, providing protein, and other essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium and Vitamin D.

The combination is delicious, although it doesn’t offer the same signature crunch of the original Korean coffee.

Try them both. Which one awakens your inner barista?

Photo courtesy of Heidi Billotto

Korean Dalgona Milk Coffee

1 cup sugar

½ cup water

2 ¼ tsp. baking soda

Combine the sugar and water in a pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. DO NOT STIR. When it starts to caramelize, turning golden brown, quickly remove from heat. Carefully, add the baking soda, immediately stirring it in with a wooden spoon. The mix will begin to puff up. Quickly pour it onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cool completely.

Break the dalgona into small pieces. Fill a tall glass half full with milk. Add ice if you’d like. Top with 1/3 cup crumbled dalgona; add a shot of espresso just before serving.

Heidi Billotto, a Charlotte-based culinary expert, writes about food, restaurants, and food-centric travel for regional magazines, newspapers, blogs & websites. In addition, Heidi conducts private in-home or office cooking classes for corporate team building & social gatherings. Follow her culinary adventures at HeidiBillottoFood.com.