How To Make Coffee Jelly

Coffee jelly is a jelly dessert flavored made from black coffee and gelatin. Once common in British and American cookbooks, it now most common in Japan, where it can be found in most restaurants and convenience stores. Coffee Jelly was first made at a branch of a Japanese chain coffee shop in the 1960s and became popular all over Japan. Coffee jelly is light and not too sweet, though you can adjust the sweetness to your liking. It’s perfect as an after-dinner dessert.

I sometimes wonder how something that is is easy and simple can turn out soooo good.

Take this coffee jelly dessert for an example. It really is just some jelly, made from gelatin, sugar, and coffee, and cream and condensed milk are added to it and then chilled. So easy and simple yet people seem to love it.

The truth is, I have never tried coffee jelly until I made it for my nephew’s Christening.

I mean I’ve seen it being served in restaurants and other places but I’ve never touched the thing. Armin and my sisters, on the other hand, had had their shares of testing and tasting. Some would get a thumbs-up but some, at rare times, got spurned.

The negative comments would be ‘it’s too sweet or not sweet enough or coffee is too weak or too strong and bitter’.

Which I usually just ignore as I was not able to relate at all since I am not a coffee person. Actually, I (used to) detest anything with coffee. I do not like the aftertaste that coffee leaves in your mouth, that is why I prefer tea instead. 

But since  I decided to make coffee jelly as part of my dessert table for the reception (because it is easy to make and they look so cute in shot glasses),  I had to give it a try.

With some advice and after several tasting from my sisters and Armin, I finally got it. And for someone who hates coffee, I had some(several cups) of it during and after making this recipe..and I love it!

I was told that the coffee should be a little stronger so it will not lose its flavor and be overpowered by the sweetened cream when mixed.

I tried making coffee jelly using both freshly brewed coffee and instant coffee powder.

When I was doing the batch for the christening, I realized that we did not have any coffee powder at home since Armin usually prefers freshly brewed coffee (that or the exact opposite, a 3-in-1 where you just add hot water to it). So I just used brewed coffee by making a batch (2 cups) that is twice as strong.

But for this one here, I used the instant coffee powder that says strong in its label.

Both have its pros and cons. Using the coffee powder, however, will save you a lot of time and if it is of good quality then you can almost not tell the difference.


  • 2 cups coffee
  • 2 tablespoon sugar (adjust the amount of sugar based on your preference)
  • 1 tablespoon gelatin powder (mixed with 4 tablespoons of water)
  • Optional: whipped cream

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Put coffee and sugar in a saucepan.
  3. Heat to almost a boil.
  4. Stop the heat.
  5. Put the gelatin mixture and stir well until it dissolves.
  6. When it’s cooled down, pour into serving cups or containers.
  7. Cool in the refrigerator until set.
  8. Top with some whipped cream before serving if you would like.


What is the difference?

Jelly Powder, also known to us as Gulaman or Agar Agar, is plant-based, usually derived from seaweeds.  It needs to be boiled for it to set but it can set even at room temperature and much faster than gelatin.

Gelatin Powder is made from animal collagen from skin and bones. Needs only to be dissolved in a warm or hot liquid to set. Usually needs to be refrigerated for it to set that can take some hours depending on other ingredients.

I used a local brand of jelly powder and 1 pouch (25g) is good for 6 cups of water but I only use 5 cups because I like it a little firmer.


  • You can use strong coffee, but espresso is best, especially because of the wonderful aroma it imparts.
  • It is sweet as is, but it is even better with some heavy cream or condensed milk. The cream goes well with the texture of the jelly and complements the flavor of coffee very well.
  • When you are making the jelly, be aware that it needs to harden in a container. A shallow pan works well to create a thin layer of jelly (about 1-inch thick) which you then cut into cubes. You can also use other containers, such as small bowls or cups, and serve the jelly without cutting.

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