What Is Coffee Jelly?

K.C. Bruning

Coffee jelly, also known as coffee jello, is a sweet gelatin dessert. It is most popular in Japanese cuisine, though it has grown in influence around the world. Similar to fruit gelatin, it is typically cut into squares and either served with a garnish or as part of another dessert or beverage. Recipes for the jelly can be varied with different flavors of coffee or by adding flavoring such as almond or vanilla.

Adzuki beans, which are used to make red bean paste, which is sometimes served with coffee jelly.
Adzuki beans, which are used to make red bean paste, which is sometimes served with coffee jelly.

This dessert is a part of daily life in Japan and is seen in several different kinds of places, from school lunches to restaurants. In Asian culture, coffee jelly is most commonly served as a part of another dish, such as an ice cream float or milkshake. It is also often cut into tiny squares and served in iced tea or coffee with gum syrup and cream. When used as a garnish, it may be placed at either at the top or in the bottom of the dish.

Roasted coffee beans.
Roasted coffee beans.

Coffee jelly is served with a wide array of toppings and accompaniments. It can be topped with condensed milk, ice cream, and whipped or liquid cream. Some versions of the dish are layered with other kinds of gelatins. It may also be served with sweet red bean paste

Typical coffee jelly recipes tend to be simple. They usually consist of at least coffee, gelatin powder, and sugar. For preparation, first the sugar and coffee are heated together until they are nearly boiling. Then the gelatin is stirred in until it dissolves. This mixture is cooled and poured into serving dishes, which are placed in a refrigerator until the gelatin sets.

Coffee jelly may be purchased in different stages of preparation. It is available in a powdered mix which requires only water for preparation. The sweet can also be bought fully-prepared in both cans and jars. There are even coffee jelly hard candies.

Some Asian sweets that are similar to coffee jelly include green tea jelly and bubble tea. Green tea jelly, also known as matcha jelly, is often served like the coffee version with cream or condensed milk on top. The sweet also comes in hard candy form, in addition to being cut into small squares and served in drinks. Bubble tea is a fruit and milk drink that has chewy tapioca balls in the bottom of the cup, similar to the way coffee jelly is served in coffee and tea.

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Discussion Comments


I was introduced to coffee jelly when I visited Malaysia. In Malaysia, coffee shops have something called "coffee jelly frappuccino." It's basically a frappuccino with cubes of coffee jellies on the bottom of the cup. Malaysians love their coffee jelly!

I do think it's a great idea though and it tastes good. Oh, and it looks very cool! I think they should make this in the US.


@ddljohn-- Coffee jelly is delicious, I highly recommend that you try it! I make this every week, it's very easy and quick to make because you can use jelly mix and instant coffee. Coffee jelly satisfies both my caffeine and sugar craving. It's also a perfect dessert for summer because it's cooling.

You might think that coffee jelly is very strong or even bitter, but it's not especially because it is served with cream or sweetened condensed milk. It's kind of like a special latte!


I like coffee and I like jelly desserts but I don't think they would be very good together. It just seems like a weird idea!

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