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Coffee Jelly

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Coffee Jelly is a refreshing dessert that we love to eat in Hawaii. You can buy coffee jelly from many places, or just make it at home. Here's how ^_^

Coffee jelly with whipped cream
Coffee jelly with whipped cream

Do you know about coffee jelly? It's always served cold and is really light, never too sweet, and very refreshing. You can eat coffee jelly plain (best with some whipped cream!) or cube it up and use it as a drink topping/ingredient.

We love coffee jelly in Hawaii for two main reasons:

  • We grow amazing coffee in Hawaii. Most of it is grown on the Big Island.
  • Chilled coffee jelly is very refreshing on warm days (which is most of the days here).

Coffee Jelly Ingredients

We can buy coffee jelly at many places, but it's just as easy (and so much fun) to make at home. All you need is three ingredients:

Coffee Jelly from La Palme D'or in Ala Moana Shopping Center. Left: how it's presented. Right: after you mix it up with the straw.
Coffee Jelly from La Palme D'or in Ala Moana Shopping Center. Left: how it's presented. Right: after you mix it up with the straw.

Coffee Jelly In Hawaii

Coffee jelly shows up in many places and forms in Hawaii. Many people refer to this dessert as "Japanese Coffee Jelly" because it was first popularized in Japan.

Local Restaurants
Coffee jelly is on the menu of local Japanese restaurants. It's usually served in a small dessert bowl topped with a bit of whipped cream. It's also sold like this (though in disposable cups) at to-go places and bento shops.

Bakeries and Farmers Market
Chilled coffee jelly drinks are a popular option at Japanese dessert shops. There's also a coffee vendor at KCC Farmers Market who makes great coffee jelly:

At all these places, the coffee jelly is already made and set directly in the serving cup. It's topped with a layer of whipped cream. When you order the drink, the jelly and whipped cream is topped with whole or soy milk. The drink comes with a big straw (like the kind of straw used to drink boba). You use the straw to break up the coffee jelly pieces so that it mixes with the milk and whipped cream. It is SUPER good ^_^

Different brands of agar agar powder
Different brands of agar agar powder

Agar Agar Desserts

Fyi, I’ve included affiliate links below. I may earn a small commission (at no cost to you), if you purchase through the links.

We use agar agar powder to "set" the coffee jelly (thought you can use gelatin, more about that below).

We love making agar agar desserts. These are a few of our favorite recipes with agar agar powder:

P.S. Learn more about agar agar (where to get it, how to cook with it) in this post.

Coffee ready for making coffee jelly

Texture Of Coffee Jelly

Our normal ratio of liquid to agar agar powder in most agar agar desserts is:

  • 2 cups of liquid to 4 grams of agar agar powder

But for coffee jelly, you want to make this dessert a little "softer" in texture. More agar agar powder makes for a firmer set. Less agar agar powder makes for a softer set. So we use this ratio (specifically for coffee jelly):

  • 2 cups of liquid to 2.5 grams of agar agar powder

Because most packages of agar agar powder come in 2 gram or 4 gram packages, to make this easier, you can use also use this ratio:

  • 400 ml liquid to 2 grams of agar agar powder
Coffee jelly and whipped cream
Coffee jelly (in cubes) with whipped cream

How To Serve Coffee Jelly

There are many ways to serve this dessert, but these are three popular options:

Individual Cups
Set the jelly in individual cups. Top with a bit of whipped cream or sweetened condensed milk, and serve! This method is especially great when you're having a big party (or going to a potluck party). It's easy and pretty. There's no need to cut or assemble anything because it's already set as individual potions.

Cubes
The "cube method" is how we serve most of our agar agar desserts. Just pour the liquid jelly into a large tray. Let the jelly set in the refrigerator, and then cut it into small cubes.

Drinks
To make the coffee jelly drink that I mentioned at the beginning of this post, set the liquid jelly into individual tall glasses (fill it about 2-3 inches high). Once the jelly is set, top it with a layer of whipped cream. Keep it refrigerated. When ready to eat/drink, pour in the milk of your choice (I actually love it with chocolate milk). Use a straw to "break" up the coffee jelly pieces as you drink.

Coffee jelly with sweetened condensed milk
Coffee jelly with sweetened condensed milk

Tips

No agar agar powder?

No problem! The agar agar vs gelatin ratio is 1:1. For this recipe, you would use 2.5 grams of gelatin powder (instead of 2.5 grams of agar agar powder).

Can I use instant coffee?

Yes! Just use however much instant coffee powder you need to make 2 cups of liquid coffee.

Can I use decaf coffee?

Yes! I actually do this a lot because we often eat this dessert at night and I don't want the caffeine to keep us up.

How strong should the coffee be?

As strong as you like it. I prepare the coffee like I'm making a "normal" cup of coffee to drink. And then I just use that to make the dessert.

Coffee Jelly Recipe

See below ^_^

Coffee jelly with whipped cream

Coffee Jelly

Yield: Dessert for 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

Coffee Jelly is a refreshing dessert and easy to make with only three ingredients. All you need is 5 minutes on the stove (and 2 hours to set in the fridge). We use agar agar powder, but you can substitute with an equal amount of gelatin powder if desired. Serve with whipped cream or spoonful of sweetened condensed milk.

Ingredients

Instructions

    1. Combine 2 cups of coffee and 2.5 grams of agar agar together in a small saucepan. Whisk together to dissolve the agar agar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
    2. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and add the 2 tablespoons sugar. Whisk to dissolve. Cook on low for 3 more minutes. Then turn off the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
    3. Pour the coffee jelly into dessert cups. Let the jelly set in the fridge for 2 hours, and then it is ready to eat.
    4. To serve: top with whipped cream or a spoonful of sweetened condensed milk. Eat chilled and enjoy ^_^

Notes

  • Replace agar agar powder with gelatin powder if desired. Gelatin powder and agar agar powder can be substituted in equal amounts. For this recipe: 2.5 grams agar agar powder = 2.5 grams gelatin powder.
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