Along with baking bread and making lots of recipes with beans, one of the biggest culinary trends of the COVID-19 pandemic has been Dalgona coffee. Although the exact origin of Dalgona coffee is disputed (it gained popularity first in South Korea, but bears quite a strong resemblance to an Indian coffee drink called phenti hui), the current Dalgona fad kicked off in South Korea through viral YouTube and TikTok videos before spreading around the world. You may have tried it yourself or know someone who did. With over two months of quarantine under our belts, though, walking into the kitchen to find a member of your quaran-team incessantly mixing the coffee’s frothy topping may be getting a little old. But that doesn’t mean you have to resort to standard pour-over or Chemex coffee in the morning if you want something a little different or are looking to shake up your coffee routine; there are tons of coffee recipes from around the world that you can easily re-create in your home. Here are some of the best.
No, we’re not talking about the stuff from Starbucks. Frappé is a traditional ice coffee drink from Greece and was actually invented by a local representative for Nescafe in the 1950s. As such, the recipe uses instant coffee (traditionally Nescafe), milk, sugar, and water, and can be made using a blender, a cocktail shaker, or electric milk frother, so there are multiple ways to prepare it at home. First, put equal parts instant coffee and sugar (about two teaspoons of each) and then about a third of a cup of cold water into your mixer/shaker of choice. Blend or shake vigorously for about 30 seconds until the mixture is really frothy, pour into a glass with ice cups, and top with milk. People usually drink with a straw, as the frothy top part of the drink can be a bit bitter to some, but the blended part at the bottom makes for a refreshing beverage perfect for mornings or lazy afternoons. And you can always adjust the measurements to your taste.
Summer is right around the corner, which means it’s time for cool, refreshing, sweet things. There’s nothing more summery than ice cream, so if you enjoy a little nip of coffee late in the day, this Italian coffee dessert is just the ticket. Put a scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato in a cup, and then pour a shot of hot, just-made espresso over it. If you don’t have an espresso maker at home, an alternate (and cheaper) option is to invest in a classic stovetop Moka Pot, which makes lovely at-home espresso. Simple and delectable, this is sure to be a hit on long summer afternoons on our stoops, porches, or fire escapes.
Also known as “espresso con panna” and café Vienne in the United States, this fun little recipe (that is popular in cafes all over Europe and therefore goes by many different names) is the perfect little pick-me-up in the morning or afternoon. Essentially, it’s just a single or double shot of espresso with a hearty dollop of whipped cream on top. To make it at home, use exceptionally good coffee and prepare the espresso according to the instructions of whatever kind of coffee machine you have (once again, a tiny espresso Moka Pot is a great investment for espresso lovers who are pining for a real cuppa right now) and then top it with a giant spoonful of whipped cream (store-bought is fine but you can always make your own at home). The caffeine and sugar will kick you into gear in no time.
If you like espresso but are also a fan of more latte-like drinks, the cortado is a happy middle point that’s simple and easy to make. The name comes from the Spanish word “to cut,” because the espresso is cut in half by the addition of steamed milk in equal parts to the espresso (half espresso, half milk). Prepare your espresso while also steaming some milk; after pouring the espresso into your cup, add the milk. Although the milk does have to be steamed and warmed, it doesn’t have to be frothed, making for easy preparation.
Vietnamese Iced Coffee
Another refreshing iced coffee drink for the upcoming summer, this delectably sweet iced coffee is a traditional drink from Vietnam, where it’s used to beat the constant heat. And as the second-largest coffee producer in the world, you know that the Vietnamese take their coffee seriously. To start with, select a strong, dark coffee from Vietnam; robusta is traditional as it adds a nuttier flavor to the coffee, and it’s one of the country’s most popular and widely-grown types of coffee beans.
The traditional way to prepare the coffee is using a “phin” filter, which consists of a small round plate with perforations for the coffee to drip out, a small brewing chamber, and a top. In a cup, depending on how sweet you want it, place from one to two tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk. Put the phin filter on top of the cup with about two tablespoons of ground coffee in the brewing chamber, add a splash of boiling water to the grounds to allow them to “bloom” for about a minute, and then pour in enough to fill it to the top. Put the cap on top, and the coffee will start filtering into the condensed milk below. After it’s done filtering, add some ice and stir all together. Phin filters are easily available to order online and are quite affordable, but if you don’t want to invest in one, alternately you can boil the water and coffee grounds together, filter the coffee through, and then stir in the condensed milk and ice.
You may already be familiar with this one, but these are tough times, so who couldn’t do with adding a little something stronger to that late-afternoon coffee to help bridge the divide between finishing work and starting the evening? The preparation is simple and the end result goes down very smoothly. Brew a cup of hot coffee and pour it into an empty cup. Stir in about a tablespoon of brown sugar (you can add more if you like your coffee sweeter), and then add one and a half ounces of Irish whiskey. Cover the top with whipped cream and you’re good to go. For an even creamier creation, sub out the whiskey for Bailey’s. (We also have a full history of Irish coffee, for those who want even more, as well as the best whiskies for Irish coffee.)
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