How to Brew

Coffee Jelly Recipe: Easy Japanese Dessert in 5 Steps!

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Do you like to think outside of the box? Sure, you don’t mind starting your day with a basic cup of coffee, but if the opportunity presents itself, you’re going to give your drip coffee maker a rest and try a more unique approach to caffeinating. 

Well, coffee lovers, the opportunity has presented itself. Allow us to introduce you to coffee jelly. 

Coffee Jelly Recipe

What is coffee jelly? And where did it come from?

Coffee jelly is a mixture of freshly brewed or instant coffee, sugar, and agar or gelatin. Though this dessert, intended to satisfy a sweet tooth while providing a downright delicious taste of coffee, originated in England in the 1800s, it’s most known today as a Japanese dessert.

Though the recipe came to Japan during the Taisho period (1912-1926), it didn’t become super popular there until 1963 when Tokyo-based coffee shop Mikado Coffee introduced it as part of its product roster. After that, it became a summertime staple in the country, and it still is today. If you ever find yourself there, make sure you try some authentic Japanese coffee jelly, or kohii zerii, as it’s called there. You might even find packs of pre-made coffee jelly in supermarkets and convenience stores.

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Is coffee jelly healthier than regular cups of coffee?

Whether or not your serving of coffee jelly is healthier than regular joe depends on how you make it. For example, if you start your day with a piping hot mug of black coffee — that means sans add-ins — but only eat coffee jelly when it’s covered in heavy cream, then no, the jelly is not healthier than your brew. The inverse is also true; if you eat coffee jelly cubes by themselves but heap an extra tablespoon of sugar and creamer into your cup, then the jelly is the healthier pick.

These coffee-flavored jelly cubes aren’t inherently unhealthy, but if you eat too many of them, well…it may be a different story — especially if you insist on eating them with condensed milk, sweet cream, or ice cream. 

If you’re a health-conscious Roasty reader, make your batch of coffee jelly a bit better for you by using decaf coffee beans to reduce its caffeine content, serving it sans cream or with a low-fat alternative, or using less sugar. 

@roastycoffee so much easier than you’d expect! #coffeejelly #agaragar #coffeetok #lattetok ♬ Jiggle Jiggle – Duke & Jones & Louis Theroux

Enjoy the Taste of Coffee Jelly at Home

Coffee Jelly

Enough reading! It’s time to try the coffee jelly dessert for yourself. Round up everything on the ingredient list below, give yourself a few minutes of prep time, and after letting it firm up in the fridge for a few hours, you’ll be enjoying jiggly cubes of coffee-flavored goodness. 

You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of agar agar powder (a.k.a., agar or kanten powder)
  • 2 cups of freshly brewed strong coffee
  • 1/4 cup of hot water
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • saucepan
  • baking dish

Coffee Jelly Recipe: The Process

Step 1:

pouring a quarter cup of water into a saucepan

Start by pouring a quarter cup of water into a saucepan, and let it sit on medium-high heat on your stovetop until it comes to a rolling boil.

Step 2:

stiring the coffee, sugar, and agar agar into the pan

Once your water has begun to boil, stir the coffee, sugar, and agar agar into the pan. If you don’t have any agar on hand, feel free to substitute kanten with unflavored gelatin or pectin instead. 

Step 3:

pouring the gelatin-coffee combination into a shallow baking dish

Remove the gelatin-coffee combination from heat and pour it into a shallow baking dish — you know, the kind you use for whipping up a batch of ooey, gooey brownies — and cover it with plastic wrap.

Step 4:

slicing the jelly into small cubes

Let the coffee mixture chill in the refrigerator for three to four hours. Once it’s firm, slice the jelly into small cubes.

Step 5:

putting the jelly cubes in the cup of iced coffee

Now, you’re ready to serve it! Traditionally, people put the jelly cubes in their cups of iced coffee (almost like boba balls), plop them atop a few scoops of ice cream, or crown them with a dollop of coconut whipped cream. Enjoy the coffee jelly in one or all of these forms — either way, we’re fairly certain you’ll love it. 

Savor an Afternoon Snack!

We admit it took us a minute or two to get used to gelatinous coffee, but once we gave it a chance, it was hard to limit ourselves to a single serving. Don’t believe us? Then, try this Japanese summertime treat for yourself, and let us know what you think!

Coffee Jelly Recipe

Coffee Jelly Recipe

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes

Coffee jelly is a refreshing Japanese treat that you can easily prepare and enjoy all year round. Serve this unusual summer dessert with ice cream for a more intense coffee taste.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of agar agar powder (a.k.a., agar or kanten powder)
  • 2 cups of freshly brewed strong coffee
  • 1/4 cup of hot water
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • saucepan
  • baking dish

Instructions

  1. Pour a quarter cup of water into a saucepan, and let it sit on medium-high heat on your stovetop until it comes to a rolling boil.
  2. Once your water has begun to boil, stir the coffee, sugar, and agar agar into the pan.
  3. Remove the gelatin-coffee combination from heat and pour it into a shallow baking dish and cover it with plastic wrap.
  4. Let the coffee mixture chill in the refrigerator for three to four hours.
  5. Once it's firm, slice the jelly into small cubes.
  6. Put the jelly cubes in the cup of iced coffee, plop them atop a few scoops of ice cream, or crown them with a dollop of coconut whipped cream.
Happy Caffeinating!

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