US company apologizes for appropriating Korean coffee trend
The Cooking Foodie / YouTube

It was one of the first viral TikTok trends of 2020, millions of users were posting videos of themselves making whipped iced coffee.

Now a US company called Whipped Drinks sells a $49 kit to help people make it, but the business that was set up by Katie Angel has been widely criticised as their company website falsely claims that Angel created the drink.

In reality, the drink more widely known as dalgona coffee and became popularized by South Korean actor, Jung Il-woo.

Dalgona coffee originally went viral on the South Korean TV show Stars’ Top Recipe at Fun-Staurant and when Jung ordered a coffee in Macau that was made by café owner Leong Kam Hon by whipping instant coffee, sugar, and hot water 400 times. As a result, many South Koreans recreated the recipe themselves.

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The simple recipe that was easy to replicate at home became mainstream on TikTok when café and coffee shops were closed due to the pandemic.

On the company website, it originally described how Angel “improvised with premium instant coffee in her home kitchen to made a whipped coffee creation to rival any Los Angeles barista.”

Social media users voiced their anger at Whipped Drinks for not giving the appropriate credit to the drink’s South Korean origins:

Given the widespread backlash, the company posted an apology on their Instagram account.

“We are sorry and we acknowledge that this was inspired by Korean culture and we completely stand by the Asian community. We did not intend to make it seem that we invented dalgona. In the spirit of that, a percentage of proceeds from every sale will go to the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, building power with AAPI women and girls.⁠”

They have also changed the website information which now credits the dalgona coffee’s South Korean origins: “She [Angel] fell in love with the viral whipped coffee trend, also known as dalgona coffee, that originated in South Korea and gets its name from a popular street toffee. She [Angel] spent months perfecting her version of the perfect way to make the drink easily at home.

“A percentage of proceeds from every sale will go to the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, building power with AAPI women and girls.”

However, Sung Yeon Choimorrow, executive director of National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum has said that Whipped Drinks has not reached out to NAPAWF to ask for consent to be listed as a beneficiary.

Choimorrow also said that the NAPAWF do not want to be a beneficiary of their profits.

In a Twitter thread, Choimorrow said:

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