Japanese coffee jelly with sweetened cream makes a divine and incredibly easy dessert.
Prep Time 1 minuteminute
Cook Time 5 minutesminutes
Total Time 2 hourshours
2cupsCoffee,(or 2 TBLS instant coffee + 2 cups boiling water or 2 packs of individual pour-over drip coffee with 2 cups boiling water or 2 cups of previously prepared coffee, see note below) *
¾tspAgar agar powder, ** (make sure ingredient list only "agar agar" and no added sugar or other ingredients)
3TBLSgranulated white sugar,adjust to taste
½cupHeavy whipping cream
1 ½TBLSpowdered sugar (for cream),adjust to taste
Pour coffee into a small sauce pan and add the powdered agar agar.
Turn the heat on and bring to a boil. Keep an eye on it, since it can boil over and overflow pretty quickly. Once boiling, set a timer for 2 minutes. Keep stirring to get any settled agar on the bottom of the pot. Tip: If your stirring spoon or the sides of the pot above the liquid looks grainy, then you may need to boil for another minute or so for all of the agar agar powder to dissolve.
Add in 3 TBLS of sugar and reduce the heat to a simmer. Let it simmer for 2 more minutes. Taste and adjust accordingly
Pour into individual glasses or into a quarter sheet baking pan or square baking pan. Let it rest at room temperature until it is no longer hot. At this point, the jelly will most likely have gelatinized.
In a small bowl, combine heavy whipping cream with powdered sugar and lightly whisk just to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
If serving from individual glasses, place in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, top with some sweetened heavy cream. Tastes best when served chilled.If using as a topping for milk tea and had poured into a quarter sheet or square baking pan, use a butter knife or a plastic knife to cut directly in the pan into tiny cubes (size will depend on how big your straws are) and transfer cubes to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Scoop some into the cup first before pouring in milk tea.
* Coffee: For ease, reliability, and fantastic flavor, I prefer to use prepared store-bought coffee or cold brew made at home. You can buy a 48 oz jug of Starbucks Unsweetened Medium Roast Iced Coffee at basically any typical grocery store (this is my go-to coffee for this jelly with no bitter tannin taste at all). To make cold brew at home, you need to make it in advanced since it brews overnight in the refrigerator. I've used Dunkin Donuts Cold Brew Coffee packs. Whether fresh, hot brewed coffee, or store-bought prepared coffee, whatever coffee you decide to use, just make sure that it tastes good. Bad coffee will make bad coffee jelly.
** Agar-Agar: Japanese usually use Kanten (aka Agar agar). Agar Agar is a seaweed (specifically red algae) gelling agent. It's a vegetarian substitute for gelatin. Whole Foods should carry this near the seaweed section. Vitamin shops might have them. I buy mine from Uwajimaya (Telephone brand). Make sure to use powder, not flakes. Powder dissolves easier than other forms. Follow directions closely, if it comes out grainy, the agar agar powder was not fully dissolved. I have not tried this with gelatin, so I am not sure of the conversion measurements. Agar Agar does not need to be refrigerated to fully set, unlike gelatine.
Firmness: ¾ tsp for 2 cups of liquid is perfect for eating with a spoon from an individual dish or for sipping through a straw with milk tea. For a more solid jelly to eat with fingers, use 1 tsp. I would not suggest using 1 ½ tsp of agar agar with 2 cups liquid, unless you want super firm jelly that can bounce off the table.