How to Make Japanese Coffee Jelly | Craig Travel

How to Make Japanese Coffee Jelly

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October 1st is International Coffee Day!  It's a time to celebrate a journey of diversity, equality, and passion! On this celebratory day, how could I not share a special coffee recipe with you?  What better way is there to support the millions of farmers whose livelihoods depend on the aromatic crop.

But first, did you know that the Japanese believe that bathing in coffee grounds fermented with pineapple pulp will reduce wrinkles and beautify the skin? compiled a list of 20 Interesting Coffee Facts if you want to learn more...    

Jelly desserts are quite popular in Japan.  Among them the coffee jelly stands out as a great cold treat, and you can find it practically in every coffee shop in Japan. If you'd like to know how to make it at home, please continue reading for a simple recipe I learned where I grew up in Japan, where the Japanese have jellified their cups of Joe!  

One of the most popular chilled desserts among elder generations in Japan, coffee jelly is a cold jellied dessert made throughout Japan from black coffee and gelatin.  It was first made at a branch of a Japanese chain coffee shop in the 1960s, and became popular all over Japan. Because of the tasty coffee flavor and simplicity of making it, coffee jelly once was one of the most frequently made desserts at home.  Making coffee jelly couldn’t be simpler with just a few easy-to-find ingredients.

Dark coffee jelly ingredients (4-5 servings):

- 2 packages of gelatin/ 30ml or 2 tbsp ("Kanten" in Japanese)
- 4 cups of boiling water
- 5 spoons of instant coffee (add more for stronger flavour)
- French vanilla ice cream. 


1. Bring the water to a boil.
2. Pour the gelatin in a bowl and mix with ½ cup of boiling water until dissolved.
3. Put instant coffee in a separate bowl and mix with ½ cup of boiling water until dissolved.
4. Combine the instant coffee and gelatin mixture in the remaining boiling water, stir until well mixed.
5. Pour into individual serving cups or a cake mold; chill until set.
6. Serve with ice cream.

My favourite coffee jelly in three ways are pictured above - plain, with cream or milk, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and raspberries.  

Other ways to enjoy coffee jelly:

You can modify it to your liking by adding sugar to make it sweet; whipping cream instead of ice cream.  Or try mixing up big chunks to a cup of milk.  Add sweetener if needed and enjoy it with a spoon or a straw like Boba tea.

One of the World's Top Importers of Coffee

You might be surprised to know that Japan is one of the world's top importers of coffee. Coffee was introduced to the Japanese by the Dutch around the year 1700, and for the past 50 years, coffee roasters and cafes have made a massive surge in popularity. Today, there are so many excellent choices for coffee in Japan and it's home to one of the world's most exciting coffee cultures.  Kohii Zeri, or Japanese coffee jelly, is one of their unique and popular coffee creations. Be sure to try this delicious and refreshing coffee dessert while visiting Japan, you will sure get your dose of caffeine while having a sweet and fun dessert!  Our 2022 Japan journey is coming soon!  In the meantime, be inspired by all things Japan by visiting our destination page here.