Dalgona Coffee vs Greek Frappe
These two drinks have so many similarities but hail from two different countries. Who influenced who? I won’t go into that because there are so many varying opinions on that and when it comes down to it it really doesn’t matter - this post compares their differences and similarities. They both have very frothy and caffeinated results that I love as an avid lover of coffee - all coffees. It does surprise me (shock me even) though how many foodies are crushing on this coffee. I would have never thought all the pour-over loving foodies would ever be caught owning a canister of Nescafé or any brand of instant coffee. I guess they are not so different then the rest of us after all. I grew up with two coffees in the house - instant and Greek or Turkish style coffee and then eventually the drip was introduced. And this frothing of instant coffee has always been in my life and the life of every Greek person out there. Let’s begin.
What is Dalgona coffee?
Dalgona coffee originated in South Korea (there’s actually debate about that but it’s most commonly known as originating from there) - though it’s arguably very similar to the traditional Greek Nescafé Frappe- more on that later. It has overtaken all social media over the last few weeks as the #1 drink to make. It requires equal parts instant coffee, sugar and water. All of those ingredients get whisked together until super frothy either by hand or by electric mixer. I strongly recommend the electric mixer with whisk attachment. You get super amazing peaks in 1 minute or less. By hand it takes 3-5 minutes to get to that point. If we are going to use instant coffee let’s get instant results or as close to as possible. Then you fill a glass with ice and milk of choice and dollop that beautiful whipped coffee on top. It’s like a magical coffee cloud. You stir it before you drink and you get sort of ‘coffee milk’ instead of a chocolate milk - you get it? Or an iced coffee that is very milk heavy. It’s marvelous!
What is Greek frappe?
It’s among the most popular forms of coffee in Greece. It is available at virtually all Greek cafés and can be ordered with three major degrees of sweetness: glykós (sweet, 1-2 teaspoons of coffee and 4 teaspoons of sugar); métrios (medium, 1-2 teaspoons of coffee and 2 teaspoons of sugar); and skétos (plain, 1-2 teaspoons of coffee and no sugar). I take mine Metrios - or just milk deepening on my mood. This instant coffee drink is traditionally shaken although a lot use frothers to get that beautiful foam. I use a cocktail shaker but I also use a mason jar too to shake up the instant coffee with the sugar and the water. You shake shake shake until that caramel froth develops - 30 seconds to 1 minute of shaking is all you need. Then you fill a tall glass with with ice, pour in the froth and bit of liquid coffee, top up with some cold water and add a splash of milk according to taste. Stir and voila you have yourself a fabulous iced coffee. Yes I called it an iced coffee unlike the Dalgona because there is more coffee then milk in this one. The other popular cold drinks similar to it in Greece are espresso freddo (iced espresso) and cappuccino freddo (cappuccino with plenty of ice, topped with frothy cold milk) the ice coffee is in the glass first then a super creamy and frothy milk is followed over it.
The similarities between both the Dalgona coffee and the Greek frappe are that they use the exact same ingredients. They have different amounts for both but that doesn’t really make a difference it’s the method and length of time that the ingredients are whipped or shaken. The key ingredient is really and truly the instant coffee. You cannot get that froth by using ground coffee, espresso powder or from coffee beans. Instant coffee creates the dense and foamy topping and the reason for this has much to do with the drying process of the coffee granules. There is an actual science behind it and the fact that it’s spray dried and the absence of natural oils that any brewed coffee has makes the difference. More on that here.
Is Dalgona better than Greek frappe?
Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I’m not one of those Greeks that thinks everything Greeks made or introduced to the world is the best - I say that so you understand I’m coming at this without a bias. I am coming at it with my personal taste. I never drink milk - especially that much of it unless there are cookies involved and even then it’s just to dunk not to drink. No for real I don’t do dairy and even if I were to use an alternative like oat milk or almond milk I would never just pour myself a glass of it over ice and enjoy it so that is the only thing I object to when it comes Dalgona coffee. So in that regard I prefer Greek frappe. But and this is a big but - the smooth, creamy and very frothy Dalgona whip is like no other! I will take that and convert it into a Frappe, meaning I would just pour in water instead, and just add a splash of milk. Actually from now on I’m definitely using a frother or a mixer to get my frappe foam this creamy and smooth. So easy and sooo perfectly creamy and frothy - like coffee meringue. The best of both for me! Don’t take it from me though - give both a whirl and make your own informed choice.
Dalgona coffee recipe
(Can easily be shared between 2 glasses)
- 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp. instant coffee
- 2 tbsp. cold water
- Ice, for serving
- Milk, for serving
- In a medium bowl, combine sugar, coffee, and water. Vigorously whisk by hand until mixture turns silky smooth and shiny, then continue whisking until it thickens and holds its shape approximately 3-5 minutes by hand and 1 minute using mixer with whisk attachment.
- Fill a glass with ice and milk, then dollop and swirl the whipped coffee mixture on top, stir and enjoy.
Greek cafe frappe (metrios - with sugar & milk)
- 1 heaping tsp instant coffee (Nescafé)
- 1-1½ oz of cold water
- 1 tsp sugar
- Cold Water to top up
- Milk to taste
- Place the coffee sugar and 1-1½ oz of water in a cocktail mixer or a mason jar or some sort of container that can be sealed and shaken.
- Shake vigorously for 30 seconds to a minute.
- Pour contents into an ice filled glass, add milk if using according to taste, stir with a straw and enjoy.