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How to Cook Coffee Jelly, Japanese Style

How to Cook Coffee Jelly, Japanese Style
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Are you looking for the ultimate grown-up dessert? Preferably, one that isn't cloyingly sweet and is easy to make? The search is over because all you need is the delicious bold flavors of coffee jelly. And we're not talking about the Filipino version either. Instead, learn how to cook coffee jelly the Japanese way.

Simple and versatile, a coffee jelly dessert is refined in taste and appearance. Top this stovetop sweet treat with whipped cream, condensed milk, coffee creamer, or ice cream. The key to perfecting this refreshing jelly is to strike the right balance in flavors. The coffee's bitter notes and the cream's sweetness must marry and not overpower each other. Here are a few basics to get you started.

What is Coffee Jelly?

Although most people consider jello an unsophisticated treat, the bittersweet sweet flavor profile of this panghimagas will change minds. Japanese coffee jelly is a dessert made with coffee as its primary ingredient. Other coffee jelly ingredients needed to make this after-meal treat are sugar, water, and gelatin (or agar-agar).

How to Make Coffee Jelly

You don’t have to visit your fave Japanese restaurant to taste this caffeinated dessert. Here’s a coffee jelly recipe you can easily make and serve in place of birthday cake or fruit salad.

Ingredients of coffee jelly:

  • 1 tbsp unflavoredgelatin powder
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 cups brewed strong black coffee
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Selecta Super Thick Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Whipped cream, optional
  • Mint leaves, optional

How to cook coffee jelly:

Start by combining the powdered gelatin and water in a bowl. Set this aside while you combine brewed coffee and sugar in a pot. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer over medium heat. Take the pot off the heat and slowly whisk in gelatin. Leave it to cool for 10-15 minutes.

Transfer the mixture into a shallow square baking dish. Refrigerate the jelly until set (roughly 5 hours). Cut into cubes and spoon into cups before garnishing with whipped cream and a sprig of mint. Better yet, top with a scoop of Selecta Super Thick Vanilla Ice Cream. You can pour and set the jelly directly into individual serving glasses, mason jars, or any decorative container for easier clean-up.

The Difference Between Japanese and Filipino-Style Coffee Jelly

In Japan, coffee jelly is a ready-made dessert you can find in cafes, corner shops, and grocery stores. It is eaten as a dessert or added to milkshakes and coffee drinks.

Pinoys, on the other hand, enjoy the gelatin salad style. Cubed and combined with condensed milk and all-purpose cream, it is becoming a go-to celebratory dessert.

Another notable difference between the Japanese recipe and the local version is the use of gulaman (agar-agar). Compared to gelatin which is an animal product, agar-agar comes from seaweeds. Because of its accessibility, many local gulaman manufacturers prefer this plant-based jelly alternative. Gulaman is more practical due to its quick setting time and ability to retain its solid form longer at room temperature.

Coffee Types to Use in the Dessert

Traditionally, coffee jelly makes use of brewed coffee. Aside from brewing a fresh pot, you can also use the following in your recipe:

  • Instant coffee – The most accessible and convenient choice, instant coffee takes a minute to make. Skip the 3-in-1 and go for the unsweetened variety.
  • Espresso shots – If you enjoy daily espresso shots, you can add two double shots of espressos for every 380 ml of water in a jelly recipe.
  • Drip coffee – Fans of drip coffee will need to boil their pressed coffee directly with the agar-agar. However, drip or French pressed coffee isn’t as strong and will give the jelly a milder flavor.

Teaching yourself how to cook coffee jelly the way Japanese restaurants make it is easy! It's waiting for it to set and cool that requires a little bit of patience. If you haven't already, try this easy no-bake dessert at home. Inexpensive and easy, you can even turn it into a side hustle!

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