5 Quarantine Trends, Tested and Reviewed

Going beyond the hype of dalgona coffee and more

As quarantine rages on, it seems some trends have appeared out of thin air. In what will be remembered as the oddest spring and summer – and oh god, please not fall – of our lives, things like dalgona coffee and banana bread have surged in popularity. In an attempt to understand the hype, I’ve tried out a few of these quarantrends, trademark pending.

Here are my candid reviews of five fads that have surfaced all over the Internet throughout quarantine thus far.

Dalgona Coffee

Perhaps the most pervasive trend throughout quarantine, dalgona coffee has come a long way since South Korean actor Jung Il-Woo ordered a whipped coffee in a Macau restaurant. He noted that the flavor reminded him of dalgona, a Korean sponge toffee candy, and, as they say, the rest is history. Videos of people making their own whipped coffee became instantly viral on TikTok, and dalgona coffee became the perfect pick-me-up as coffee shops around the nation remained closed.

As unapologetically Gen Z as I am, I refuse to join TikTok and, as a result, was pretty late on this bandwagon. However, it was only a matter of time until dalgona coffee reached my timeline on one app or another. My sister and I decided to try the drink out, and soon found ourselves dolloping the thick foam, made of instant coffee, water and sugar, into glasses of oat milk. Its high sugar and caffeine content have made the drink perfectly palatable and effective for a coffee-hater like me who needs to stay up all night to write an essay.

My tip would be to use a hand mixer if you can to blend the foam, or prepare to get a nice arm workout for the day. Worth the hype? A solid six and a half out of 10.

Baking bread

In times of personal turmoil, humans have been known to flock to the one thing that’s never failed them: carbs. Recipes for homemade bread have been surging as bored people everywhere have been baking bread at freakish, almost competitive rates. From pretty focaccia decorated with spiral-cut onions and sun-dried tomatoes to artisanal sourdough bowls, the bread trend has led to shortages of yeast and flour at supermarkets.

Though I wasn’t able to get a hold of any active dry yeast, I decided to try my hand at bread-baking with a no-yeast, no-knead cheese, herb and garlic bread. The recipe called for buttermilk, which I substituted for a mixture of milk and vinegar. After letting the vinegar sit in the milk for around ten minutes, it began to curdle and form a faux buttermilk, which was oddly satisfying to watch.

After about an hour in the oven, my doughy mixture became a beautifully golden, albeit slightly undercooked loaf. What did I learn from baking an herb bread? Well, I learned that I don’t really like herbs. However, my bread project was a success – a seven out of 10, at the least.

Baking Banana Bread

Baking bread is one thing, but banana bread is in its own arena of therapeutic bakes. That would explain why banana bread has been trending all over Instagram as of late, and has even been labelled the “unofficial baked good of a pandemic.” According to lifestyle website Well+Good, Google was flooded with searches for “banana bread” in mid-March, right around the beginning of quarantine.

As a rookie baker, banana bread is very much the ideal bake. It uses basic ingredients, can be customized with add-ins of your choice – I chose chocolate chips – and requires no special skills or tools. Thanks to quarantine, I have nearly mastered banana bread, and have found a recipe I swear by. From here on out, I am declaring banana bread my “signature thing,” and will be subjecting all my friends and family to it at future potlucks.

The verdict: nine out of 10.

Chloe Ting’s Two Weeks Shred

We’ve all heard of the “Freshman 15,” but staying at home all day with completely unfettered access to the pantry has made way for something else: the “Quarantine 15.” I’ve never had a regular workout routine, and may have even failed a standardized fitness test in junior high, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to incorporate a healthy exercise routine in my day.

Australia-based fitness guru Chloe Ting, and unofficial personal trainer to about six million YouTube subscribers, has a workout program called the “Two Weeks Shred Challenge” that basically guarantees abs to those who faithfully execute it. It is a meticulously scheduled program made up of intensive workouts for the core, arms and more. Plenty of YouTubers have posted their own videos showing their results, leaving them both “shook” and “shocked.”

My own personal rating of this trend, you ask? Check back in about two weeks.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

For everyone stuck at home and dreaming of the day they will once again be able to freely roam into establishments, social outings and beaches, “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” provides the perfect escapist world to do just that. For any newcomers to the “Animal Crossing” series, the game begins as you move to a new town and become acquainted with your animal neighbors. In this version, you move to a remote uninhabited island – your own little microcosm that you build from the ground up, harvesting natural resources and finishing tasks to beautify your island in the hopes that famed Jack Russell and musician K.K. Slider will one day book a gig there.

This game is available on the Nintendo Switch, which has been out of stock from most stores for the bulk of quarantine. Desperate to embark on my own island adventure and, quite frankly, experiencing FOMO from the cute screenshots and memes I’d seen all over Twitter, I settled on a Nintendo Switch Lite. Though considerably cheaper than a Switch – $199.99 compared to $299.99 – the Switch Lite does not have the multiplayer capabilities of a Switch and can only be played in handheld mode. Despite that, I don’t regret making the leap. For all the childlike wonder I’ve gotten from playing AC:NH, the hefty $260 price tag was worth it. 10 out of 10!

And as an added bonus, you can meet up with your friends at each others’ islands in a social gathering totally compliant with social distancing.

One of our staff writers, Lux, has written a review of AC:NH, which you can check out here.