Asian Recipes/ Dessert/ Japanese/ Recipes/ Super Simple

Easy Japanese Coffee Jelly – 2 Min Prep

30/03/2022

What’s better than a coffee you can drink? Coffee you can eat! Japanese Coffee Jelly is a light dessert made in advance and ready to impress. Only 5 ingredients!

Japanese coffee jelly with small jar of cream and a spoon.

Why We Love This

Coffee jelly is so easy to whip up and the perfect light, refreshing dessert (or anytime snack for coffee lovers!). 

You can easily adjust the sweetness and strength of coffee flavour to get it just how you like it.

It’s so much cheaper to make coffee flavoured jelly at home than buying pre-made coffee jelly packs at the supermarket. 

Related: Agar Agar Jelly with Coconut / Blancmange Pudding

Coffee beans and chocolate shavings on top of cream.

What is Japanese Coffee Jelly? 

Coffee jelly (known as コーヒーゼリー or kohii zerii in Japan) is a popular Japanese dessert that originated in the 60s. Although, the recipe itself actually originated in Boston, America long before it started to spread throughout Japan.

It’s now often sold at cafes and restaurants as a dessert or sweet treat on its own, with cream, or as part of a parfait with matcha ice cream and red bean. You can also buy pre-made packs at supermarkets or convenience stores like 7-Eleven.

There were so many times we’d buy this for dessert while living in Osaka, so it’s great to be able so easily recreate back home in Australia!

What You’ll Need

  • Coffee – Freeze dried instant coffee works best, although you can use fresh espresso if you prefer. Use decaf for guilt-free coffee jelly in the evenings.
  • Gelatin – Look for plain, natural or unflavoured gelatin. Sub with agar agar powder (also known as kanten powder) for a vegan friendly version. If you have gelatin sheets instead of powdered gelatin, just compare the weight and use as much as you need. 
  • Sugar – We use brown sugar to add a sweet caramelised flavour. You can use any sugar you like, if using regular sugar, this will be sweeter so start with 1/2 to 3/4 of the amount brown sugar.
Ingredients laid out to make Japanese coffee jelly.

How to make Coffee Jelly with Gelatin:

  1. Add your instant coffee, gelatin powder, brown sugar and boiling water into a large jug. Whisk everything until the sugar has dissolved, and make sure there’s no gelatin stuck to the bottom!
  2. Pour in the cold water and whisk again.
  3. Pour in the coffee jelly into either dessert cups or glass dish.
  1. Optional: Using your whisk, try to break any large bubbles around the edges to give the jelly a nice smooth finish once set.
  2. Place into the fridge for at least 3 hours to set. (It will still be warm, but the cold water brings the temperature down enough to pop it straight in the fridge.)
  3. If using a dish, cut jelly into cubes and scoop out into serving dishes.
  4. When serving, add any garnishes (such as cream, mint, chocolate shavings, coffee beans, maraschino cherries or condensed milk) straight on top of the jelly and eat!
Two ways of Japanese coffee jelly presentation.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Coffee – If you want to use real coffee, you can either prepare 2-4 shots of coffee or 3 pods if using a Nespresso (or similar) depending on how strong you want the coffee flavour. Just make sure the total liquid for the jelly is equal to the 2 cups of boiling water. For example, a double espresso is around 70 ml / 2.4 oz, so you’ll need to add another 430 ml / 14 fl oz of boiling water to your mix.
  • Jelly Cubes – Don’t worry if you don’t get perfect cube shapes when slicing the jelly, any rough edges will still look gorgeous when mixed through with cream, condensed milk or melted ice cream. 
  • Storage – Coffee jelly will last for 1-2 days in the fridge. Keep it in an airtight container to maintain freshness. This will keep the jelly texture soft and avoid it going hard or chewy.
  • Careful If Adding Fruit – Don’t add fruits like pineapple or kiwi, as they will stop the jelly from hardening. It’s fine to add these on top to serve AFTER the jelly is set.

FAQs

My jelly won’t set, what happened?

There are a few things that may have caused this:
Time: You may not have allowed enough time for the gelatin to properly dissolve. Make sure to mix it well in the boiling water and let it fully dissolve with the sugar before adding the cold water.
Gelatin Type: Some gelatin types react differently to boiling water. If in doubt, check the packet’s instructions. Some may need to be dissolved in cold water first, or added in at a certain temperature.
Not Enough Gelatin: If you find you it semi-sets but is still quite soft, trying using an extra teaspoon of gelatin on your next round and that should help to give you a really firm set.
Still in doubt? Swap it out: If gelatin still isn’t working for you, swap it for agar agar (kanten powder).

What should I serve with coffee jelly?

We usually have it with unsweetened cream (thickened cream or pouring cream are totally fine). Try it with a scoop of ice cream (vanilla or matcha ice cream are both so delicious!), red bean, chocolate shavings, coffee beans or sweetened condensed milk for extra sweetness.

What else can I do with coffee jelly cubes?

Drinks: Pop them into milkshakes, iced coffees, South East Asian teas – such as iced teh tarik or teh c peng three layer tea or add them to the bottom of your boba tea!
Desserts: Add them to Vietnamese three layer desserts with (or instead of) pandan jelly. We’d also love to have a go at a coffee trifle or jelly slice.

Variations

  • Sweetness – If you don’t have sugar in your coffee, you can leave this out. The sweetness level is around “coffee with 1 sugar”, so you can increase the sugar if you have a sweet tooth! You can also switch things around and sweeten the cream instead of the sugar.
  • Individual Servings – Set the jelly in small individual moulds, crystal glasses or stemmed cognac glasses for a beautiful visual effect.
  • No Gelatin or Agar Agar? – It’s possible to make this into a pudding style dessert with cornstarch instead, similar to our blancmange vanilla pudding. Just add in 2 tbsp of the instant coffee to that recipe, and it’ll be like a latte in a pudding!
Placing a mint leaf on top of cream.

Make these jelly and pudding desserts next:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Coffee jelly topped with cream, chocolate and coffee beans.

Easy Japanese Coffee Jelly – 2 Min Prep

What’s better than a coffee you can drink? Coffee you can eat! Japanese Coffee Jelly is a light dessert made in advance and ready to impress. Only 5 ingredients!
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Setting Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 2 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Japanese
Servings: 2 Serves
Calories: 354kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $3

Ingredients

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water
  • cup brown sugar 50 g for extra caramel notes. Sub reg white sugar, demarara or raw sugar.
  • 3 tsp gelatin powder 9 g / 0.31 oz
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee 8 g / 0.28 oz, see Coffee under Notes for subs

Garnish ideas

  • thickened cream sub whipped cream
  • chocolate shavings
  • coffee beans
  • fresh mint
  • cocoa powder
  • maraschino cherries

Instructions

  • Add your instant coffee, gelatin powder, brown sugar and boiling water into a large jug. Whisk everything until the sugar has dissolved, and make sure there's no gelatin stuck to the bottom!
    ⅓ cup brown sugar, 3 tsp gelatin powder, 2 tbsp instant coffee, 1 cup boiling water
  • Pour in the cold water and whisk again.
    1 cup cold water
  • Pour in the coffee jelly into either dessert cups or glass dish.
  • Optional: Using your whisk, try to break any large bubbles around the edges to give the jelly a nice smooth finish once set.
  • Place into the fridge for at least 3 hours to set. (It will still be warm, but the cold water brings the temperature down enough to pop it straight in the fridge.)
  • If using a dish, cut jelly into cubes and scoop out into serving dishes.
  • When serving, add any optional garnishes (such as cream, mint, chocolate shavings, coffee beans, maraschino cherries or condensed milk) straight on top of the jelly and eat!
    thickened cream, chocolate shavings, coffee beans, fresh mint, cocoa powder, maraschino cherries

Video

Recipe Notes

  • Coffee – If you want to use real coffee, you can either prepare 2-4 shots of coffee or 3 pods if using a Nespresso (or similar) depending on how strong you want the coffee flavour. Just make sure the total liquid for the jelly is equal to the 2 cups of boiling water. For example, a double espresso is around 70 ml / 2.4 oz, so you’ll need to add another 430 ml / 14 fl oz of boiling water to your mix.
  • Jelly Cubes – Don’t worry if you don’t get perfect cube shapes when slicing the jelly, any rough edges will still look gorgeous when mixed through with cream, condensed milk or melted ice cream. 
  • Storage – Coffee jelly will last for 1-2 days in the fridge. Keep it in an airtight container to maintain freshness. This will keep the jelly texture soft and avoid it going hard or chewy.
  • Careful If Adding Fruit – Don’t add fruits like pineapple or kiwi, as they will stop the jelly from hardening. It’s fine to add these on top to serve AFTER the jelly is set.
  • Sweetness – If you don’t have sugar in your coffee, you can leave this out. The sweetness level is around “coffee with 1 sugar”, so you can increase the sugar if you have a sweet tooth! You can also switch things around and sweeten the cream instead of the sugar.
  • Individual Servings – Set the jelly in small individual moulds, crystal glasses or stemmed cognac glasses for a beautiful visual effect.
  • No Gelatin or Agar Agar? – It’s possible to make this into a pudding style dessert with cornstarch instead, similar to our blancmange vanilla pudding. Just add in 2 tbsp of the instant coffee to that recipe, and it’ll be like a latte in a pudding!

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Easy Japanese Coffee Jelly – 2 Min Prep
Amount per Serving
Calories
354
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
1
g
2
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Sodium
 
71
mg
3
%
Potassium
 
453
mg
13
%
Carbohydrates
 
79
g
26
%
Sugar
 
71
g
79
%
Protein
 
12
g
24
%
Calcium
 
96
mg
10
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Easy Japanese Coffee Jelly - 2 Min Prep

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