How to make your very own dalgona matcha at home

Read it in Spanish!

First time I heard about dalgona (달고나) matcha, I was scrolling through Instagram looking for nice matcha treats I did no know about. Suddenly, a sort of what looked like a matcha latte topped up with tons of creamy & puffed matcha foam appeared in front of my eyes.
 
I am not new to having milk in my green tea as you may already know. However, I have never heard of dalgona before and it looked so good! My curiosity lead me to do some research on the topic and to create my very own version.

So far, I tested two different ways of preparing dalgona matcha that I will share with you.

BUT FIRST THINGS FIRST. WHAT DOES DALGONA REALLY MEAN?

Its real name is ppopgi (뽑기) which can be translated as old fashioned Korean sugar candy but it is also known as honeycomb toffee. There are several versions of honeycomb toffee around the world, each country makes it in different ways. In Korea, the dalgona is made using brown sugar & baking soda. Even around Korea this typical sweet seems to have a different name depending on the region. I actually went on with the trend & created a matcha version of the candy.

A RETRO SWEET THAT BECAME POPULAR AGAIN JUST RECENTLY

Even though dalgona is still consumed today, it is seen more like a retro candy than an innovation. In fact, it used to be a very popular treat sold in the streets between 1970 and 1980. The texture of the real dalgona is hard but fluffy at the same time. How is this possible? Mixing the baking soda with melted sugar generates a chemical reaction that puffs up the liquidized sugar. Once it solidifies, becomes a light and crunchy candy.

INTERESTING, BUT THE FOAM IN THE DALGONA IS NOT HARD?

Yes, this is true. In fact the dalgona matcha recipe does not contain any bicarbonate soda. So why it is called dalgona matcha then? The matcha version was developed after the coffee version of the dalgona became popular. Cafés in Seoul started serving drinks topped up with a dense fluffy brown foam that resembles the colour and aspect of the dalgona. They also serve some other treats like dalgona muffins.

BUT WAIT! MATCHA IS GREEN & DALGONA IS BROWN?

Indeed, in the case of the matcha version it is more about the appearance & texture along with some of the ingredients than the similarity to the real dalgona candy. By the amount of sugar it contains, it cannot be defined as a healthy beverage. It is not, and even though some vegan recipes have been created replacing egg whites by aquafaba, all of them have some sort of sweetener be it sugar or a replacement. In some recipes they use whipped cream instead egg whites.

SO YOU ARE TELLING ME I SHOULD MAKE A MATCHA LATTE TOPPED UP WITH RAW EGG WHITES OR CHICKPEAS WATER?

Well, some people do just that. If you eat tiramisu, you should be fine with eating whisked egg whites to the point they become almost hard. In fact, the very popular macarons (my kitchen nemesis, only ask me about it if you really want to know more) are made using egg whites, the only difference is they are baked instead being raw.

The coffee version of the dalgona is made using instant coffee, sugar & milk. And it became widely popular during the pandemic since people got stuck at home & started posting videos of themselves making the drink in social media. Its popularity exploded, it became the trendiest drink on earth made it to resemble an old fashioned candy. Some things in life are just plain odd if you ask me, but they are also kind of funny too.

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH MATCHA?

You know how it goes, people start seeing the dalgona coffee in social media (it does look good) someone thinks that it looks neat but cannot drink coffee and decides to make a matcha version instead. The rest is history. For any version made using egg whites or whipped cream, you can check here. I did not want to use neither of them so I made my own experiments. One works better than the other and perhaps the texture is not as compact or a fluffy, but I can assure you that it is utterly delicious.

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR VERY OWN DALGONA MATCHA AT HOME

Method 1 – Four ingredients
 
Ingredients Dalgona Cream
1x spoon matcha 1/4 spoon coffee creamer A whisking jug
A hand mixer Matcha Latte Ingredients
 
2x matcha scoops
40 ml water (if you use the recommended matcha at 65 degrees Celsius) 120 ml milk Bamboo whisk
Preparation Dalgona Cream
  1. Add the spoon of sugar & the spoon of matcha to the whisking jug
  2. Mix well using a spoon
  3. Add a bit of the coffee creamer (better if it is cold) keep adding accordingly
  4. Mix during 5 minutes at medium speed (or until you get a dense foamy cream)
  5. Cover and let it sit for 24 hours in the fridge (it will become quite thick & foamy)
After 24 hours, you can prepare a matcha latte & top it up with the dalgona matcha cream. Matcha Latte Preparation
  1. Prepare a koicha or thick matcha
  2. Add the milk to the koicha and mix well (the milk can be hot or cold, I prefer it cold)
  3. Top it up with the dalgona cream
  4. Enjoy! Method 2 – Three ingredients (or two)
Ingredients Dalgona Cream 2x spoons confectioners sugar (for this version the sugar is optional)
2x spoons matcha 30 ml milk or coffee creamer (any of them work) A whisking jug
A hand mixer Matcha Latte Ingredients
2x matcha scoops
40 ml water (if you use the recommended matcha at 65 degrees Celsius) 120 ml milk Bamboo whisk
Bamboo Scoop Preparation Dalgona Creamy Foam
  1. Add the sugar, matcha & the milk or coffee creamer to the whisking jug
  2. Mix during 5 minutes at medium speed (until you get a dense thick foam with bubbles)
  3. Reserve (you can place it in the fridge)
Matcha Latte Preparation
  1. Prepare a koicha or thick matcha
  2. Add the milk to the koicha and mix well (the milk can be hot or cold, I prefer it cold)
  3. Top it up with the dalgona creamy foam
  4. Enjoy!

You can even add ice cubes to the matcha latte if you want to make an iced one. You can call it dalgona matcha frappé or iced dalgona matcha. As you wish. I prepared the one you can see in the photo, for a tea Photography competition. I did not win but it tasted really good. I might have a third method in mind, however, I will need to test it before I can share it away since it might not work. I will keep you posted. Some tea purists outhere might argue that this is not tea (oh yes I have read this before, I will leave this for another juicy & surely controversial post), that this only destroys the matcha & that this is an aberration. For the record, the only culinary aberrations are: 1. Cucumbers on everything 2. Pineapple in a pizza 3. Chorizo in a paella. Let me tell you something. There was a time when I also thought things like this shouldn’t exist, like 20 years ago. However, something happened to me; I read, I traveled, I tasted things, I enjoyed life, then I changed my mind. Why? Because I know how to brew matcha the right way, I know how to deal with Japanese teas the right way if I want to. But sometimes, I want something different, I want to treat myself. Then I prepare this sort of ”aberrations” that believe it or not, they are super tasty. In fact, I tried some of them in Japan, where the teas I consume & I trade with come from. I am pretty sure is completely acceptable to use tea in pretty much any way or form you want to as long as you enjoy it. So go ahead, run to the kitchen & make yourself a nice dalgona matcha, treat yourself. You really deserve it! Then let me know how it went.
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