Tapioca can be used to make some wonderful old-fashioned desserts. We’re all familiar with tapioca pudding, but there are also some other fun recipes that call for tapioca in hundred-year-old cookbooks and magazines. I recently was intrigued by an old recipe for Coffee and Tapioca Trifle (Coffee Tapioca Pudding), and decided to give it a try.
Anyone who likes both coffee and tapioca will enjoy this dessert. Since the Coffee and Tapioca Trifle is made using coffee rather than milk, it was lighter than many tapioca desserts. It was delightfully refreshing, and had just the right amount of sweetness.
I used small pearl tapioca when I made the recipe.
Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:
Coffee and Tapioca Trifle (Coffee Tapioca Pudding)
1/2 cup small pearl tapioca
2 cups coffee
1/2 cup sugar
Soak tapioca in room temperature water overnight. Drain.
Heat coffee (preferably in double boiler) until warm, add drained tapioca. Cover, turn heat to very low and cook until mixture thickens, and the tapioca pearls have plumped and are tender (5 – 45 minutes) depending upon the brand of tapioca used. Stir occasionally. (It will boil over very easily—and also has a tendency to burn on the pan bottom if care is not used). Stir in the sugar, and cook just a bit longer to allow the sugar to dissolve. Remove from heat, and put in serving dishes. Chill at least 3 hours before serving. Serve with whipped cream.
49 thoughts on “Coffee and Tapioca Trifle (Coffee Tapioca Pudding)”
I wonder if this is really how bubble tea got its start? “They” say it was invented in Taiwan in the 1980s, but the concept clearly has been around much, much longer.
At least the concept of combining tapioca with caffeinated beverages has been around for much longer.
Sounds interesting! I have handwritten cookbooks from my grandmother (who was born in the 1890s) and my great-grandmother. I can remember my grandmother making tapioca, but never with coffee.
You are so fortunate to have your grandmother and great grandmother’s handwritten cookbooks. It is such a wonderful connection with your ancestors.
Being a clumsy cook I am sure I would mess this one up. It sounds delicious though. Note: I use tapioca to thicken stew.
I never would have thought of using tapioca to thicken stew. I’ll have to try it sometime.
What a clever idea this is, and I would guess coffee-lovers would really enjoy this. I liked seeing your modern version, Sheryl, and, as always, really enjoyed the century-old version and photo.
I have a lot of fun pulling together the posts for this blog. It’s wonderful to hear that you enjoy them.
I enjoy seeing old recipes like this that combine ingredients a bit differently than is typically found in modern recipes.
I don’t think you’ll get this past any British reader of a certain age. Nothing says School Dinners, 1950s vintage more than tapioca pudding. We won’t even give it a chance!
🙂 It’s fascinating how bad memories of school foods can affect which foods we like many years later.
Great find! I love tapioca pudding, but never paired it with coffee. Will give it a try soon. 🙂
If you like both tapioca and coffee, I think that you’ll enjoy this recipe.
Oh, I love both! What a delightful combination. It looks perfect in a fancy coffee cup.
It would make a lovely presentation to put this dessert in a fancy coffee cup.
Sounds terrific. I have used tapioca to thicken my cherry pies.
I hadn’t thought about it in years, but your comment reminded me that my mother also used to use tapioca to thicken fruit pies. I may have to give it a try the next time that I make pies.
Just make sure it settles into not onto the filling! I made that mistake one year.
Who of thought of using tapioca and coffee! Some in my family will love it!
It’s a nice combination.
Yum, liking both tapioca and coffee, I’ll have to give this a try!
I think that you’ll like this dessert.
Sounds really interesting!
It was tasty.
Glad to hear that! Happy New Year!
This looks just like a dessert called payasam which we make with milk and pearl tapioca. Adding coffee instead of milk is an interesting idea. Thank you for the recipe.
Tapioca is popular in so many different places and countries. There are some wonderful tapioca-based desserts.
Hmmm, years ago I once tried tapioca (non-instant) and it was a bust. I may revisit it with this recipe, only I think I’d like it to be a cafe au lait and cut the coffee with some (non dairy) milk. Have a happy new year, Sheryl! I just drove sort of near your Grandma’s old PA stomping grounds, and always think of you, and her 🙂
It’s nice to hear that you recently thought of my grandmother and me when driving through PA. I have really enjoyed getting to know you via our blogs. Your suggested ingredient substitutions sound like it would result in a very tasty dessert.
I’ve only used tapioca to thicken recipes. This sounds interesting. If only I liked coffee. Have a happy new year! ~Elle
If you don’t like coffee this probably isn’t the recipe for you. 🙂
I found some tapioca pearls just the other day and thought that I needed to use them up… My husband is a coffee fanatic and he loves tapioca – this will be his birthday dessert!! Thanks so much for the recipe!
I think that your husband will like this recipe.
Ooooh. I’m going to try this.
I just made it. It’s cooling. Can’t wait to try it.
Now that I’ve tried it, I’ll report in to say that I enjoyed it, but if I make it again I will use cafe au lait so that it’s creamier from the get-go. Maybe a touch more sugar? It was delicious though.
Great suggestions. I like the idea of using cafe au lait in this recipe – creaminess is always a plus.
That’s certainly different!xxx
It’s fun to see how some of the old recipes differ from typical modern ones.
I love tapioca pudding, this looks like a fun variation. I love your old pictures.
In the hundred-year-old cookbooks and magazines that I’ve used to find recipes, only a few of the recipes have pictures. It’s always a nice bonus when a recipe that looks interesting has a photo.
What a great idea! I have a dairy allergy, and although I have made tapioca pudding using a dairy-free milk, it is nice to have an alternative. I like one reader’s suggestion of making it café au lait as well, and maybe using half coffee/half milk.
It turned out well using the coffee – and is a lighter dessert than if milk were used. That said, I agree with you that a cafe au lait version sounds tasty.
How unusual and scrumptious!! A very nice version of tapioca pudding!
It’s a tasty recipe.
I was pleased with how this recipe turned out.