Have you ever tried Japanese Coffee Jelly? This is just one of the many intriguing and unique desserts one can find in Japan. Usually served cubed with dairy, I prepared mine in cups for a more elegant presentation. Skip the whipped cream for a vegan option.

When my host offers a cup of coffee at the end of the meal I am usually responsible enough to decline as I am afraid it will impede my sleep. But if my host were to place a portion of this Japanese Coffee Jelly in front of me, well who cares if I do not sleep a wink that night. I would not want to appear rude and since it is an exotic treat I would have to eat it in the name of research 😉

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Japanese coffee jelly

In Japan, coffee jelly can be found on most menus. It is particularly popular on a hot summer day. You can even get it prepackaged at the grocery store like a pudding cup or buy an instant mix, but I am not sure why as it is so easy to make. And it may not be as Japanese as one thinks either as it was apparently popular a long time ago in British and American cuisine. But nowadays it will definitely be spotted in every trendy Tokyo eatery.

My version is the simplest way to serve the coffee jelly. But did you know in Japan the jelly is cut into cubes and served in a glass with a nice shot of cold milk, or sometimes topped with a scoop of ice cream or added to a cold milkshake? That is one unusual way to add milk to your coffee!

Japanese Coffee Jelly Recipe

I got this recipe from the wonderful Nami from Just One Cookbook. Now the usual way to make this coffee is with water to which one adds instant coffee. I hate instant coffee. I could have brewed a pot of coffee but I felt the extra oomph of an espresso would be in order.  Instead, I pulled a few lungo shots out of my Nespresso machine with my Gourmesso coffee capsules. The coffee flavor was spot on with what I was hoping to achieve.

We just don’t have enough fun with simple gelatin or agar-agar recipes. They can make stunning desserts, like these colorful panna cotta verrines I made some time back, and they are usually a lot healthier and lower in calories.

Japanese Coffee JellyDid you know gelatin is not vegan? I was shocked the first time I heard that too but gelatin is made from animal bones. It makes sense. Remember the last time you made chicken stop from scratch? Once cooled you get that wonderful jelly. That comes from the collagen found in bones. But vegans fear not. Agar-agar is totally vegan and does the same job, use it quantity for quantity.

Just barely sweetened and with a bold but not too intense coffee flavor, I truly enjoyed every spoonful of my Japanese coffee jelly. Thank you to Gourmesso for giving me the opportunity to test out their coffee on one of my recipes.

Japanese Coffee Jelly

I had fun using all kinds of cups and glasses for presentation. Which one is your favorite?

On a hot summer day, if you could pick between an iced coffee or a Japanese coffee jelly, which would you pick?

Japanese Coffee Jelly

Have you ever tried Japanese Coffee Jelly? This is just one of the many intriguing and unique desserts one can find in Japan. Skip the whipped cream for a vegan option.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Japan
Servings 4 servings


  • 600 ml strong coffee
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon agar agar vegan or gelatin
  • 5 tablespoons sugar


  • Add the coffee and agar agar to a small saucepan and whisk together well.
  • Bring the mixture boil and lower heat to simmer. Stir in the sugar and cook stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.
  • Remove from the stove and leave it rest for 5 minutes.
  • Pour into 4 serving cups or glasses and refrigerate for 4 hours.
  • Garnish with whip cream and t with a whole coffee bean.

Looking for more fun and unusual coffees?