Oxford's oldest student newspaper

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Do It For the Gram: Dalgona Heartbreak

Dalgona coffee expectations vs reality

I’ve grammed my food exactly once in my nineteen years. In my defence, it was Thanksgiving, the food is really only in the lower half of the pic, and something about a platter of carrots adds a quirky twist to an otherwise shameless selfie. And yet, I have spent God knows how long looking at food on Instagram. I don’t even think about how it tastes, I just reckon it looks so pretty. Is there any reason to blend your fruit and yogurt into a rainbow swirl smoothie bowl instead of just eating it? No, but gosh it looks nice. I know it’s all too easy to make fun of those of us who’ve dabbled in quarantine baking, but I salute you guys. If you find you can keep the lockdown blues at bay by channeling your productivity into banana bread, I’m impressed, and my Netflix marathons have nothing on you.

Inspired, I decided to tackle an Instagram food trend myself. I had to pick something within my capabilities – I’ve got scars that could tell stories, and those stories are pretty much all that I should not be trusted in the kitchen unsupervised. Whipped coffee looks not only aesthetically pleasing, but achievable, and unlikely to result in injury should it go wrong. 

I’ve searched Google, TikTok and Instagram. All this extensive research has led to this master recipe: two tablespoons of granulated sugar, two tablespoons of boiling water, and two tablespoons of instant coffee. Whisk it until it’s all fluffy, and spoon over iced milk.

But I’m a woman of ambition, and so I wanted to take this a step further. Or perhaps a five-year-old of ambition, because I felt the necessary extension of this challenge was to instead make whipped chocolate milk, whipped strawberry milk, and whipped banana milk. It’s rare that you find yourself buying banana Nesquik for the sake of student journalism, but here you have it.

After five minutes of using an electric whisk on some Nesquik Extra-Choc to absolutely zero results, I learned that although instant coffee (which I forgot to buy) and Nesquik are both flavoured instant-drink powders, they are not interchangeable. I’ll be honest, I didn’t see that coming. I took a break, added some milk to my bowl of Nesquik Extra-Choc syrup, added some Crunchy Nut cereal to that, and went back to the drawing board.

The only thing I made today. Delightful, yet headache-inducing: do not try this at home.

I tried again, this time using ground coffee. Worse than before. With the previous attempt, I at least made some Nesquik Extra-Choc. This time I made something that not only tasted bad, but was seriously starting to affect my self-esteem. Further googling has taught me that instant coffee is a ‘foaming agent’. “Don’t worry if you don’t have instant coffee!” chirped one online blogger. “Just use meringue powder.” Okay, Karen.

I’ll be real with you guys – I tried whipping milk (not possible), I tried making this with an espresso (no), and I even tried it with crème fraîche. What kind of house has crème fraîche but not instant coffee, you ask? My house, and I can’t wait for lockdown to be over.

All I can offer you is a review of the Nesquiks.

Nesquik Extra-Choc: 11/10. No, 11/7. What did you expect?

Nesquik Strawberry: A grave disappointment. The recipe has been altered to reduce the sugar. If I wanted the taste of a strawberry without the sugar, I would eat a strawberry. Let me chase Type II diabetes in peace.

Nesquik Banana: A bizarre flavour experience. Impossible to describe – I won’t even try.

So, I’ve spent the better part of my day substituting sugary drinks for a meal and I still haven’t mastered the Savage dance from TikTok. Was this really the best use of my time? I say yes. Marie Kondo reckons we should hang on to whatever sparks joy, and for me, it’s hard to find something that sparks more joy than Nesquik. Bless up, guys, and stay happy.

Support student journalism

Student journalism does not come cheap. Now, more than ever, we need your support.

Check out our other content

Most Popular Articles