Dalgona "Coffee" - A Coffee Free Version

You may have seen one of the latest internet beverage sensations, the Dalgona Coffee, somewhere on YouTube, or Instagram, or floating around the web.  This popular Korean coffee drink is an impressive looking, but super easy concoction made with... instant coffee.  That's right, good old coffee crystals.  Now I do love coffee flavored things, but caffeine and I don't really get along very well.  So I wondered if I could make a Dalgona coffee work with something else.

I have seen YouTube creators try it with cocoa powder and matcha powder, neither of which works, but they did at least yield a tasty syrup.  But the appealing part about a Dalgona coffee is that the thick, silky foam floats on top of the drink, making for that interesting presentation before being stirred into the drink to consume.
Anyway, I really wanted to try it out with a coffee substitute.  I keep Pero on hand for caffeine free coffee flavor and I was fairly certain that it would work as well as instant coffee crystals.  I don't know whether it is the spray drying process, the acidity of the coffee crystals in reaction with the sugar, or what makes this foam possible, but it's cool and yes, it definitely works with Pero!  And it's super easy!  I might have some other coffee substitutes hiding in the pantry, if they are instant, I will try them out too to see if they work as well.

Dalgona "Coffee" Foam with Pero
serves 2

2 tbsp Pero instant beverage powder
2 tbsp sugar (I used light brown muscovado for this experiment, but any granular sugar should work)
2 tbsp hot water

14 oz. milk (I am told hot or cold works)
 Ice (optional)

Combine the pero, sugar, and hot water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  (A hand mixer and bowl will work as well.)  Whisk lightly to combine, then mix and increase speed slowly to high and whip until the mixture becomes thick and glossy. This will take a few minutes.
Put ice, if desired, into two glasses, then fill each glass with 7oz milk, hot or cold. Top with dollops of the whipped coffee, and then swirl the tops with the back of a spoon for a pattern, or leave a little twist for visual appeal.  Mix the two layers together before drinking. 
These would be lovely with a sprinkle of cocoa or cinnamon as well.  The foam is fairly strong tasting, so it does need to be mixed in before drinking the beverage.  Another little fun thing about this drink is that it starts with the milk on the bottom and the dark coffee foam on top, but if you let it sit for a moment after stirring, you get the cappuccino effect of coffee on the bottom with light foam on the top.  My eldest teen loves coffee drinks and she was not willing to give back the first test glass that I brought to her for a sip.  I guess that means it was a winner!  And I don't have to worry about her having caffeine before bed time.  Just a nice, coffee flavored treat!


One or two stirs...

All stirred up...