September 18, 2004

unfamiliar combination of familiar items?

Tuesday, September 14

Today I was too busy to make anything fancy, too hot to use the oven, but too tired not to have something nice and refreshing - so I made coffee jelly, or coffee gelatin dessert.

It has definitely a lot to do with my childhood memory of summertime. My sister and I would make a large bowlful of coffee jell-o - no sugar or milk, please -, scrape it out as much as we wanted and ate it with condensed milk, or more likely milk and sugar. It was nice soothing company to survive a dreadful Tokyo summer.

While coffee gelatin dessert is such a common item in Japan, things look totally different on this side of the world. Although I have never personally asked anyone about it (except for him, who doesn't know anything about coffee since he hates it), I have heard about a lot of Japanese folks who have surprised Americans by mentioning about (or even serving) this "unfamiliar" dessert, and in turn been surprised by their reaction; eew! coffee jell-o? no way....

Apparently, this isn't exactly popular dessert in here, which was a bit of surprise to me, given such a variety of jell-o flavors available everywhere as well as the huge popularity of coffee as a drink. (I still remember Starbucks once had Coffee Jelly Frappuccino in Japan several years back. It was basically coffee frappuccino with coffee jell-o dice in it, and I loved it so much - but it was there for only one summer and never came back. I doubt Starbucks has ever had it on their menu in the US...)

I made just a large mug of coffee and put unflavored gelatin in it to dissolve, and then chilled it in the fridge. It disappointed him a lot when he came home and went into the fridge and said, "dessert! dessert!" and learned it was coffee jell-o. He was so disappointed he even sniffed at the jell-o to make sure it was coffee and I wasn't fooling him.

Today I tried a Hawaiian coffee liquor with the jell-o (which was fine), and of course with milk and sugar (I usually don't have sugar in my coffee or tea, but this is another thing). For fun, I put some sugar duckys on the jell-o, too... (they sank fast, though).


Anonymous said...

no sugar monkeys to decorate the jelly? hmmm...?
did you see this? we're on the same page with dear nicey! could the nice cup of tea and tasty snack tour be far off? i think not.

Cat said...

sugar duckies! i have never seen anything like that before. fascinating! :) the coffee jello sounds very refreshing. im betting americans would think ew gross because when they think of coffee its not automatically sweetened... so they probably think of cold bitter coffee. im sure if you add a metric ton of sugar they'd be thrilled!

Reid said...

Hi Chika,

I've never had coffee jello either..and you're right, Starbucks never had anything like it on the menu (just like how we don't have matcha frappuccinos either). I'm going to try to make this. Do you just pour the milk over the jello when eating? I'm thinking that I'd use a little condensed milk for this...just a little! =)

Santos said...

omg, chika, you kill me!

i left something for you on my blog :-)

Anonymous said...

I linked you on my virgin attempt at food blogging. Hope you don't mind! It's @


chika said...

Hi there,

Monkey - hmm, why not sugar monkeys? I wish I had ones at hand! :)
And thanks for the link, I didn't know about it and very thrilled to find it. I'd be on that tour, for sure!

Cat - Wow, metric tons of sugar in Coffee jell-o... how many of sugar duckys will be needed? :)

Reid - Yep, I just make jelly with plain coffee and pour the milk over it with a dose of sugar. Condensed milk's good, too, just as long as you don't "pour" it as if you were using regular milk...

Santos - Thanks a bunch! Can I have seconds?

Linda - of course not, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Coffee Jelly is good, very yummy and refreshing. I don't like coffee but I will gladly eat coffee jelly. With sweetened milk.

chika said...

Hi umami,
Funny thing you don't like coffee but still like coffee jelly... well, they're different, I agree. With sweetened milk, of course!

Anonymous said...

Dear Chika, I am a coffee jelly fan after being served an exquisite tiny square in a coffee shop in Kuala Lumpur. I came searching for recipe, I think the one I am looking for was probably made with agar agar, it melted in the mouth and was perfect for a hot day. Then again, I come from Melbourne and anything with coffee in it has to be great, we are a city fixated, and Starbucks comes nowhere near close. 

Posted by Anonymous

Anonymous said...

I had coffee jello in japan and was excited to come across the coffee jello frappuchino in japan as well!! Especially with the popularity of bubble teas, I too am shocked coffee jello has not made a comeback...yes, a comeback, here in the US. According to my father, my grandmother used to eat coffee jello all the time when he was young!! The worst part of the coffee jello frappuchino? I discovered it Nagoya airport on my way home =( Well, I will be sure to make coffee jello here at home and drinking plenty of coffee jello frappuchinos upon my return to Japan next year!!! 

Posted by AllForADeuce

joanh said...

mm.. coffee jello.. i was introduced to it as a dessert at Sawtelle Kitchen which is this restaurant in LA. they also serve it with coffee ice cream on top, which is a surprisingly good combination. 

Posted by joanh

Melissa said...

What is the gelatin to coffee ratio and do you have a recipe using agar agar? Where did you get the sugar duckies?!

himemeeya said...

Coffee jelly! Fantastic! Starbucks brought it in for a while to Singapore then yeah it disappeared. Really loved it though!

Sam W said...

Ooh - I know this is old, but I've been searching for a coffee jello recipe using agar-agar. I lived in LA and we ate it in Japanese restaurants frequently and my mom would make it at home - unsweetened jello with a scoop of vanilla and some simple syrup. I don't drink coffee as an adult, but this is delicious - I miss it.