It’s National Coffee Day, and while most coffee fans prefer to brew it and drink their cofeee, there are other ways to enjoy the stuff.

For example: have you ever tried coffee jelly?

This is an actual thing.

In fact, Jell-o used to sell packages of coffee-flavored dessert.

And it’s almost exactly what the name suggests: you mix coffee with gelatin or agar-agar and some sugar, and stir until you have some jiggly cubes.

Just like liquid coffee, you can add milk or cream, or you can add a layer of whipped cream on top to make it really decadent.

The first references to the recipe come from England around 1817, and it made its way to New England soon after.

Some fans claimed the dessert was easier to digest than drinking coffee, so people whose stomachs didn’t like the drink could enjoy the cubes instead.

(It was also supposed to be a way to rouse people who’d had too much alcohol!)

Other proponents of coffee jelly were frugal Yankees who liked the recipe because it was a way to make use of leftover coffee.

That’s how it ended up on the menu of Boston’s famed restaurant Durgin-Park for decades; the chef didn’t want to toss out yesterday’s coffee, so he used it for today’s dessert.

But that dessert never really became hugely popular, at least not in the United States.

Japan, on the other hand, has been wild for coffee jelly since the 1960s.

You can find it at restaurants, sweet shops and convenience stores all over Japan.

Maybe it’s time for a comeback in the States, or at least some weird variation on the stuff.

If we can have breakfast cereal that tastes like a Wendy’s Frosty, then we can definitely have a breakfast shake that tastes like coffee jelly.

There have been countless types of coffee over the years, and there are plenty of different ways to brew up that coffee.

You can see a whole heap of them in Binasco, Italy, when you visit MUMAC, which in Italian is an acronym for the Museum of Coffee Making Machines.

And of course they have a cafe there too.

Boston’s Forgotten Coffee Jelly Lives On in Japanese Desserts (VICE)

Coffee Machine Museum (Bookofjoe)

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Photo by kanonn via Flickr/Creative Commons