Japanese Coffee Jelly

Japanese Coffee Jelly

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Cool and Set: 5 hrs 15 mins
Total: 5 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
31 Calories
0g Fat
6g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 31
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 6mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 4mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 58mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Coffee jelly is a dessert made from black coffee and gelatin. Once common in British and American cookbooks, it gained popularity in Japan in the 1960s after a Japanese chain coffee shop branch first made the concoction. Called kohii zerii in Japanese, it is now found in most restaurants and convenience stores throughout the country.

Coffee jelly is very easy to make: Sweeten strong coffee while heating it, then add a mixture of powdered gelatin and water and let it set up in the fridge. This recipe creates coffee jelly that is light and not too sweet, though you can adjust the sweetness to your liking. It's perfect for dessert, especially following a Japanese dinner in place of or alongside a cup of coffee. It's known as a refreshing Japanese summertime treat, but feel free to enjoy it all year long.

"Easy to make and rather tasty, this coffee jelly recipe is fun. You really do want strongly brewed coffee because the flavor is much lighter than you’d expect, and I’d probably sweeten it a bit more. Served in stemware, it will make a fabulous finish for a dinner party." —Colleen Graham

Japanese Coffee Jelly Tester Images
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin powder

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 2 cups brewed strong black coffee

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • Whipped cream, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Japanese Coffee Jelly ingredients

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  2. In a small bowl, combine the gelatin powder and water.

    combine the gelatin powder and water in a bowl

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  3. Place the brewed coffee and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a near boil over medium-high heat.

    Place the brewed coffee and sugar in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  4. Turn off the heat, and whisk in the gelatin mixture until it dissolves. Set aside to cool, about 10 to 15 minutes.

    coffee gelatin mixture in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  5. Pour the coffee gelatin mixture into a shallow baking dish (8- or 9-inch square or 11 x 7 inches) and refrigerate until set, about 5 hours.

    coffee gelatin mixture in a shallow baking dish

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  6. Once the coffee jelly has set, cut the gelatin into 1/2-inch cubes.

    Japanese Coffee Jelly in a container cut into pieces

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  7. Spoon the cubes into individual serving dishes and top with whipped cream, if desired.

    Japanese Coffee Jelly in glasses

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Tips

  • This recipe requires strong coffee; if you can, use espresso as it will impart both rich flavor and wonderful aroma. Alternatively, brew coffee with a drip cone, moka pot, or French press as these nonelectric brewers produce a richer coffee than the standard drip machine.
  • Leftover coffee jelly will keep in the fridge for up to two days when stored in an airtight container.

Recipe Variations

  • If you'd like sweeter coffee jelly, try an extra tablespoon of sugar and taste the coffee mixture (adding more if needed) before mixing it with the gelatin.
  • To make this recipe vegetarian, use agar-agar instead of gelatin.
  • Instead of cutting into cubes, make individual servings by pouring the liquid mixture into small bowls or cups.
  • Create a coffee experience by placing the cubes in a mug and adding some sweetened heavy cream or condensed milk.

Is Coffee Jelly healthy?

When enjoyed in moderation, coffee jelly can be a nutritious dessert or snack—or at least one of the healthier options. This recipe contains a small amount of sugar, and both coffee and gelatin have health benefits. For instance, coffee contains essential nutrients, while the collagen in gelatin may help the skin, hair, and joints. Both ingredients are noted for improving cognitive function, so collectively, they could be good for your brain, too.

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