Ice coffee

A few months ago I flew to Japan to visit my family. It was a rather warm weather, in the middle of the rainy season.

I am not a fan of fizzy sugary drinks as they make me more thirsty over time, so I generally drink water to keep hydrated. However, Japan has an extensive offer to choose from when it comes to ice teas and coffees.

My favourite cold tea, without a doubt, is soba tea. It is not so common (i belive it is made out of barley and in London, funny enough, it is drunk in Korean restaurants!) but is delicious. Admittedly, its nutty, roasted, fresh flavour is not everyone’s cup of tea ( literally) but makes me happy.

Coffee though is not Japan’s strongest point. Not as we know it in Europe at least. I am told, by my trusted source, that Japanese have long been looking at ways to make good coffee, but seem to be failing somewhere…. Recently, the USA coffee house with the green logo and the ridiculous names has begun to operate in Japan. I am hoping that inspires them to continue to improve.

I must say though that what the coffee lacks in coffee-ness it makes up for with the imaginative ways to serve it that Japanese have found. This, is an example i particularly love.

Cooking time: 30 minutes
Quantity: This mix makes 8 ice coffees


1. I always buy Lavazza Rossa because after having tried a lot of coffees, that one seems to be the nicest. However, I have been told by an Italian friend that Kimbo is better…

2. I don’t generally put sugar on my coffee, but the jelly does need some sweet in. Taste, taste, taste!

3. The idea with using the jelly is to use a shallow wide dish that will allow you to cut the mix in cubes and place them in the ice coffee once it sets, therefore, ideally, don’t use a bowl but a tray.


For the jelly, please bear in mind that this might vary from brand to brand:
300ml of expresso coffee
200 ml of water
3 table spoons of brown sugar or cristalized sugar
3 gelatin sheets

For the ice coffee:
500 ml of expresso coffee
4 ice cubes (at least ) per person (32 in total)
900 ml of cold milk

Cooking Instructions:

Make the expresso coffee for the jelly.

At the same time, place the gelatin sheets in a bowl full of cold water.

Mix the coffee and the water in a pan add the sugar and dissolve in low heat.

At this point squeeze the water off the gelatin sheets and add them to the warm coffee mix.

Stir them in and continue to do so until they dissolve. Do not let it boil. It will depend on the gelatin sheets but generally, after 3 to 4 minutes you will be able to set the mix aside and let to cool down before placing it in a 20 cm sq size tray and letting it cool overnight.

When you have your guest around, make the rest of the expresso coffee, divide in 8 tall glasses, add sugar (to their taste) milk, ice cubes and jelly and serve.

Photograph by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
Recipe by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate

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