Coffee and Coconut Cream with Agar


A cooling, light coconut dessert and a cup of strong coffee in one. This is probably the best description of the cream I have been enjoying during this summer’s hot weekends. I have almost forgotten to post this recipe, but first I saw MJ’s spicy Mayan Iced Coffee, then Zsuzsa’s extravagant chocolatey Iced Coffee, which both reminded me of this refreshing sweet treat.  I thought that sunny August days might be the last chance to share it with you this year.

It has been a long time since I last reported on my experiments with coconut cream set with agar (see below). This doesn’t mean however that I have stopped them. The simplicity and quickness of the basic recipe makes it ideal for infinite modifications. Such different versions as Coconut Cream with Peaches, Chocolate and Coconut Cream or Matcha and Coconut Cream all turned out amazingly good. Emboldened by coconut milk’s capacity to blend with diverse ingredients, I dared mixing it with coffee and never regretted this test. Coconut milk proved once more that, if correctly dosed, it creates an astonishing, but harmonious combination. This cream was as light as the ones I have mentioned above, but the generous amount of coffee I have included gave it an additional, energising property and made me think of a strong, cold iced coffee. Sprinkled with bitter cocoa and some dessicated coconut, it was a pure delight for the big fan of coffee I am. If I had coffee liqueur I would probably add a splash of it.

As a reminder, agar (agar agar or kanten) is a gelling agent made with seaweed. It’s available in Asian grocery shops, in organic food shops and in Switzerland also in standard supermarkets. It is not a gelatin replacement and creates a slightly different texture. Here are some other desserts where I have used agar and appreciated it:

Matcha and Coconut Cream with Agar

Wobbly Rhubarb Delight

 Light Chocolate and Coconut Cream

Light Coconut Cream with Canned Peaches

TIPS: Look closely at your agar package instructions. On mine 1/2 teaspoon is said to set 500 ml/2 cups liquid to a jelly. I use only 1/3 teaspoon and obtain a wobbly, “falling off the spoon” consistency. If you prefer a well-set jelly, use the amount advised on the package.

Even if prepared with sugar, this dessert is light, but if you want to make it lighter, you can use a sweetener suitable for cooking.

Instant coffee can be substituted with very strong small espresso. If you decide to use the latter, make it as small as possible and reduce accordingly the amount of cow milk.

Try adding a splash of coffee liqueur if you have some. I’m sure it makes the cream more elegant and festive.

Do not wait until the cream becomes cold before pouring it into glasses because agar sets at room temperature and once disturbed, it will not reset properly!

Preparation: 15 minutes + 2-3 hours in the fridge

Ingredients (serves 4 – 5):

250 ml/about 1 cup coconut milk

250 ml/about 1 cup cow milk 

4 flat tablespoons sugar (I used two flat tablespoons sweetener suitable for cooking)

1/3  flat teaspoon agar agar in powder

5 flat tablespoons instant coffee (I have used Nescafé Espresso)

(a splash of coffee liqueur)

(dessicated coconut and bitter cocoa to sprinkle before serving)

Combine alle the ingredients in a pan (apart from the dessicated coconut and cocoa).

Bring to boil on low heat and, constantly stirring, let it simmer for about a minute.

Put aside.

Prepare four individual bowls or low glasses.

Pour the hot mixture into the individual bowls (agar sets at room temperature, so the cream’s temperature should be higher before it is poured; make sure it is not too hot and doesn’t break the bowls or glasses). Let it cool down to room temperature and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Serve very cold sprinkled with coconut and bitter cocoa.



45 Replies to “Coffee and Coconut Cream with Agar”

  1. Oh yeah! Another great combination idea! Is’t it fantastic that a simple basic recipe can produce such a variety of delights?

    1. Thank you, Ping. This one was so different from other coconut creams I have made but soooo good! (I still have a portion in the fridge for today’s lunch dessert 🙂 ).

  2. Actually I prefer Agar Agar a lot more than a gelatin when it comes to making desserts like yours. Well, I shouldn’t be saying like yours because mine is not even nearly as pretty as yours but I’m. . . working on it. he he. I’m not sure about the weather where you are but where I live has been about 115 degrees everyday for the last 3 weeks, so I could use these type of desserts. Have a good week, Sissi! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Ray for such a compliment. I think all of your desserts and dishes look much better than mine! I also prefer to use agar agar because when used in scarce amounts it gives a light “falling-off-the-spoon” consistency I could never achieve with gelatin. It’s also easier to use. It’s been quite hot here too, so last weekend I appreciated a lot such a dessert and coffee in one 😉

  3. Hi Sissi! It’s always nice to wake up to a beautiful dessert photo first thing Monday morning! I like how you style it, the dessert glass on top of the plate, the chocolate piece and napkin really adds to the composition!

    I’ve not played with agar agar, though my Mom used to make Summer desserts with it when I was a kid, I like that it’s seaweed and not animal by-product, mentally it just taste better this way!

    1. Thank you so much, Jeno, for so many compliments. I’m glad you like the photo (I do what I can with my compact camera and I still have to learn a lot about styling… light…). Agar agar is easier to use than gelatin, but it doesn’t work as a substitute in many cases. I love it in my coconut desserts. It’s impossible to replace.

  4. mmm, mmm, mmm,… where do I sign up? :).

    I loved chilled coffee under the hot summer sun and this is just a whole other level of heavenliness… ;-). The soothing, cooling coconut milk wrapped into a delicate coffee dessert. FAN.tastic!

    Lovely presentation and very pretty napkin too Sissi! (love the gorgeous, delicate colours).

    1. Hi, Kelly. Thank you so much for the compliments. I’m really glad you like both the presentation and the idea. I was worried the brown dessert wouldn’t look very appealing on the photo… It was incredibly good and smelled heavenly.

  5. Oh yes, this sounds really good Sissi. I will have to try it when the insanity comes to an end. I am planning to make donuts this week, it should be my deep fried swan song.

    1. Thank you very much, Zsuzsa. Good luck with donuts! I’m looking forward to see them. I do deep-fry from time to time (Japanese food) but in small amounts. The problem with donuts is that you just cannot make four.

  6. I’d have mine with a cup of coffee on the side as well, since I’m a bit of an addict, but this looks like a wonderful, cool dessert Sissi – perfect for a hot summer night, after a nice light dinner of salad or something.

    1. Thanks, Charles. After my lunch I would never skip my coffee, so I have this and a cup of coffee too, but it was also a nice afternoon awakening “snack”.

  7. This sounds heavenly Sissi. Isn’t it sad that August is slipping away? I’m dreading the dark evenings, as it will make it difficult to take pictures for the blog! I keep forgetting to pick up some agar, as I’ve been intrigued by your desserts for a while now. This one is my favourite so far. Lovely!

    1. Thank you so much, Barb. You are right. Days get shorter here too… Although they are still long compared to some countries. September can be very warm and sunny and pleasant in Switzerland, so I am not worried about cold weather yet. I hope you can start playing with agar soon. I find it so much easier to use than gelatin.

  8. Sissi, great photo!!! And this looks delicious! I have several recipes that require instant coffee and I don’t drink instant coffee so I’m hesitant to try. When I think of it, I probably have enough “instant coffee” recipes that I can use a whole jar/can. LOL. You reminded me about my kanten in pantry again. See what happens when I go shopping and store in pantry? I’m not catching up with my to-cook list. I love this light and delicious dessert! You are really good with kanten recipes!

    1. Nami, you know how much your compliments mean to me… You have made my day. Thank you so much! I don’t drink instant coffee either, but I use it in some recipes (although in tiramisù I prefer the real espresso). It keeps for ages, so it’s not a big risk buying a small jar. I hope you will experiment soon with kanten. I’m sure you will prepare delicious desserts.

  9. Nice dessert Sissi, like the combination of coconut milk and coffee, this is a perfect dessert to wrap up with after a nice dinner.
    Thanks for the recipe and hope you are enjoying your week 🙂

    1. Thank you, Juliana. It’s good especially after a heavy dinner I think (or when it’s hot, or both). It’s so light one hardly feels that this is another course.

  10. Dear Sissi,

    Coconut and coffee combination seems very exciting as a dessert although I’m not a coffee drinker. Mysaucepan is in Vevey at the moment for work and she will be checking out many restaurants there this week so hopefully we will be able to share some of that with our readers too 🙂

    1. Thank you, Chopinand. I cannot live without coffee but I think that coffee desserts are not always successful. I was lucky with this experiment. Do you mean Vevey in Switzerland? I have never been there so cannot recommend anything. I have an idea where she might work 😉 The company which has headquarters in Vevey has produced the instant coffee I used here. What a coincidence!

  11. Sissi – I’ve probably said this before, but your creams are totally awesome! Hum – chocolate and coffee – I think this might be my favorite, but only by a hair. 🙂 Your wobbly rhubarb was quite delicious by the way! I did make it and LOVED it! Thanks so much for the shoutout!

    1. Thank you, MJ, for such compliments! I’m happy you liked my wobbly rhubarb. It’s sad: I no longer see rhubarb on the market and with the heat we are having now I could do with some rhubarb drink or wobbly dessert…

  12. I’m super in love with coconut right now and this dessert is totally up my alley. Coconut and coffee sounds like such an awesome combo.

    1. Thank you, Mr. Three-Cookies. Actually it’s coconut and coffee (I have only sprinkled it with cocoa), but I have posted here chocolate and coconut recipe (almost identical, also with agar): Good luck! I hope you will try it one day.

  13. I do have agar powder, but I think it might have expired it’s over 1yr old …to be exact 1 1/2 yrs. no expiration date on it (received as a gift from Malaysia) Sissi, would you happen to know how long of a shelf life they have?
    I do know that any recipe that calls for powdered coffee granules can be substituted with strong espresso coffee…even a small amount will do!

    Love your refreshing coffee dessert, I don’t even have to buy the milk because my daughter is ‘lactose intolerant’ and she has almond milk, and coconut milk, so I can make the dessert at her house. Thanks for sharing! xo

    1. Thank you so much, Elisabeth. I don’t think agar can expire. It’s just powdered seaweed. I would use it if I had it expired. As for the coffee, yes, I have mentioned it in the “tips” part. I use instant coffee because I find it easier to use here. I have no idea how much coffee (and how strong) you would have to use instead of 4 tablespoons instant coffee. I think quite a lot or an extremely strong one. I hope you try it and, most of all, like it. Does lactose-free milk exist in the US? I have it in my standard Swiss supermarkets.

  14. I remember each and every one of these agar desserts you’ve done because I love them all! Super like the coconut cream especially, been doing that quite a few times ever since I discovered it (via your blog of course). This one with the aroma of coffee looks like another great combi to try!

    1. Thank you so much, Shuhan. It’s such a pleasure to learn that you have made the cream several times! This one is really like iced coffee in a creamy form. I am still amazed at how each of the creams is different in taste… the coconut taste is not overwhelming (of course apart from the first cream which isn’t mixed, only fruit is added).

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