A new company is hoping to address one of the earliest and most vibrant trends of the pandemic by selling a kit people can use to make their own frothy-sweet Dalalgona coffee. Do you remember the pillow-like cloud of a drink? The one that was on every social media platform in the early days of the pandemic?
But Katie Angel, founder of Whipped Drinks, ended up in very hot, frothy water after claiming she invented a drink that is almost identical to Dalalgon coffee. Of course, Twitter users were quick to join CluesAngel didn’t invent a whipped coffee. The viral drink, made by whipping instant coffee, water, and sugar into a frantic foam, was popularized by South Korean actor Jung Il-Woo when he Pearl on a TV showand was presented with the drink by Leong Kam Hon, a coffee shop owner in Macau. That was more than a year before Whipped Drinks claimed to invent this „whipped coffee creation”.
This is supposed to be a joke. Is she really claiming that she came up with the Dalalgon coffee recipe popularized by KOREANS? It was NOT invented by a white woman. She even tore off packs of instant coffee. Damn tired of this shit pic.twitter.com/1UlhVi5SWZ
– Bora (@modooborahae) April 11, 2021
An „About” section on the Whipped Drinks website, which has since been changed, claimed that Angel „improvised on premium instant coffee in her home kitchen to create a whipped cream creation … It came after months of delicious trial and error finally on the recipe for whipped drinks. ” The recipe in question is – you guessed it – pretty much the same as any other Dalgona coffee recipe, with the addition of cocoa and sea salt. Some cocoa and a little more salt does sounds like a tasty addition, but turning the product from whipped drinks into anything other than dalalgona coffee with a hint of flavor is definitely not enough.
The coffee set that sells Whipped Drinks is a scratch for many reasons, not least because of the price. The kit costs $ 49 and includes a „high-speed frother,” a jug, „whipsticks” (read: instant coffee), and a recipe book. Good coffee from responsible sources is expensive, and small business owners should be able to charge enough to feed themselves and their employees. That said, it feels like a ton of money to spend on something we all did a year ago, with the best and most readily available pantries we had on hand. In many ways, this accessibility was the most comforting part of whipping Dalalgon coffee during the scariest months of the pandemic: we didn’t For this you need expensive whisk or coffee specialties or a „gold-plated foam mug”. It was a bit of a treat that pretty much anyone could take part in, a global experience that required little more than sugar, instant coffee, and a few extra minutes to post your creation on Instagram or TikTok.
But it’s not the price that upset the internet, but the fact that a white business owner claimed possession of a drink that clearly set her apart from a South Korean actor who, in turn – with due recognition – popularized a man’s recipe in Macau. It’s a form of theft and cultural annihilation that has consistently allowed white companies to benefit from the work and creativity of people of color without benefiting in the least from the same people. „White people have claimed in the past that they” discovered „recipes, hot water, and a continent that someone else was already living on,” he wrote one Twitter users. Another user pointed out that frothy coffee is really nothing new when you say that they „made” „Dalgona” coffee with [their] Grandma for 20 years. “Others on Twitter commented that not only was the product non-original, but that whipped coffee beverages had a long history in many parts of the world before Dalalgona coffee went viral. „[W]Hip coffee has been a must in the Desi countries for at least 40 years! “Reads part of a tweet. In an article edited by Vice Last year, the writer Bettina Makalintal explored the origins of the frothy coffee drink and wrote: „The history and importance of instant coffee goes way back than just a pandemic-inspired social media trend.” Coffee, with which most Americans are familiar, created by cafe owner Leong Kam Hon in Macau, there are similarly whipped and frothy coffee beverages around the world.
Since the initial pushback, Whipped Drinks’ website has been updated to recognize that Angel did not create the drink but „fell in love with the South Korean viral whipped cream coffee, also known as Dalgona coffee,” trend. In particular, the updated genesis lacks the details of Angel’s long and arduous recipe development process, which is best when you consider that the drink only contains three main ingredients and has already existed. In their last Instagram post with comments disabled, Whipped Drinks apologized, saying that the criticism and backlash made us aware that we didn’t highlight the origins of the Dalgona / Whipped Coffee trend and that we ourselves apologize for that. The company now says a percentage of the proceeds from each sale will go to the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.