Matcha Vanilla Dalgona Latte

We are all living and breathing the pandemic news, day after day and hour after hour, since the national emergency was declared on March 13. We have survived a month!!! The first couple weeks were really hard for me, trying to get used to new habits, feeling really limited by being at home, and only being able to go out for a walk, but by now I have a new rhythm. We have all adapted our routines, and for many people around the world, one of the routines that got most affected was the morning coffee or tea routine.

You probably have seen a coffee trend on Instagram or TickTock: the Dalgona coffee challenge. Now I’ve never been one to follow trends. I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum, but when I saw the picture of the Dalgona coffee on one of my friends’ Instagram stories, I was super intrigued. A two-toned coffee drink with a layer of fluffy, pale, caramel-colored coffee on top of creamy iced milk looked absolutely amazing. It can also be made in under 5 minutes. The drink originated in South Korea, and is named after Dalgona, a spongy South Korean toffee-colored coffee candy. An actor on a popular South Korean television show tried the coffee for the first time, and when the show aired, the drink spread like wildfire throughout South Korea. In March, when many people were forced to stay at home and couldn’t go to their local coffee shop, a video of how to make the coffee drink went viral and it became a trend, spreading to other parts of the world. It’s certainly easy to make a Dalgona coffee. You combine 2 tablespoons of instant coffee, 2 tablespoons of cane sugar, and 2 tablespoons of hot water, blending them with a hand mixer until creamy and serving it over iced milk. I succumbed to the trend myself about a week ago and loved it, although you definitely still get the taste of instant coffee. But what about trying this Dalgona trend with tea?

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The Dalgona trend spread to include a matcha latte variety as well as many other types of frothy, creamy drinks. The Dalgona trend has made our pandemic morning routine so much more exciting, and if you liked the coffee original, you will love the matcha latte. The difference between the two is that matcha powder will never whip up into a creamy mousse-like consistency like instant coffee and sugar do, so essentially you create a matcha-flavored merengue. It relies on beating egg whites and sugar together until stiff peaks form, much like when you make merengue for a pie. Then you add the matcha tea powder and, in this case, I wanted a smoother, subtler finish, so I added some vanilla extract too. I liked the Dalgona matcha latte even more than the coffee original. It’s sweet, it’s filling, and it’s got a nice subtle flavor. It also doesn’t hurt that it is a beautiful drink with which to start the day! For all of us non-morning people, that does help to open our eyes a little bit. Lastly, a note on the egg whites. If you like eating merengue, it’s perfectly safe to make and eat this latte. If you don’t want to use egg whites, you could use aquafaba, an ingredient used in vegan cuisine made out of the thickening ingredient in soaked legumes. It can be a good egg white substitute.  You could also try developing a whipped-cream version yourself. If you use heavy cream, you will probably need about ¼ cup per serving. Whichever way you go, have fun with it! This is a time to reinvent so many routines, including breakfast and how we start the day, and to discover new ways of eating and replenishing ourselves while being home. Enjoy!

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Matcha Vanilla Dalgona Latte

Prep time: 7 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups milk
  • 6 large ice cubes
  • 2 egg whites
  • 4 tbsp cane sugar
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp matcha powder

Instructions:

  1. In a blender, blend the ice cubes and milk until the ice cubes are crushed. Set this milk aside in the refrigerator until the matcha layer is ready.
  2. In a small bowl, whip the egg whites using an electric hand mixer until the egg whites are frothy and increase to twice their volume. The tips of the egg whites should form stiff peaks and hold their shape.
  3. Gradually add the sugar, sprinkling it gently over the egg whites. Keep beating while you add the sugar.
  4. Add the vanilla extract.
  5. Sift in the matcha powder. Don’t add the matcha powder until the egg whites are fully whipped. Otherwise the tea in the matcha powder will weigh the mixture down and it won’t froth properly.
  6. Make sure to spread the matcha powder evenly until the entire mixture has a uniform pale green color.
  7. Retrieve the iced milk and pour it into a wineglass or glass cup, leaving about ½ inch to the rim. Gently spoon the whipped matcha topping onto the milk all the way up to the rim of the glass. Using a spoon, you can create a decorative swirl or peaks if you want a dramatic visual effect. Drink while still cool.
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