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Food For Thought Canned Coffee
(Entered Apr. 06, 2007)
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Coffee is huge here in Tokyo. You'll find a cafe practically on every street corner. But for those who don't feel like lounging around in a cafe, or paying the exorbitant prices, canned coffee fills that niche. It can be bought either hot or cold but I'll be dealing with just the cold ones here. Why? Canned coffee has a slightly funny smell that only gets worse when it's hot. As well, the hot ones have more of a metallic taste, like they've been sitting in their cans to long, absorbing the metal or something gross like that. Just how canned coffee got to be so popular is one of life's little mysteries.
Canned coffee comes in one flavour: bad. To offset this problem, the canned coffee companies have taken to making up wild, inane names for their brands. The list is very, very long, but I chose five of the most likely to grab your attention.

canned coffee japan

The coffee companies themselves are almost too numerous to count, but Georgia, owned by Coca Cola, seems to be number one, and has the monopoly on weird names. Seemingly going against all common sense, we have 'draft' coffee, but it comes in a can. I've never had a draft beer in a can but it seems to be possible for coffee. Reading the label one finds that it neither comes from a keg, nor is beer flavoured. Upon cracking it and taking a sip, I'm greeted by a dark, nutty flavour with hints of oak and chocolate. Just kidding. Actually it's more like a hint of cheap coffee in sugary water. Very sugary in fact. A few sips is enough to make you gag.

canned coffee japan

Perhaps Counter Shot is supposed to counter the disapointment of drinking Draft? If that's the case then I need a counter Counter Shot. Maybe it's another bar reference except that I've never heard of anyone ordering a shot of coffee unless it had Bailey's or Kahlua in it. Sadly, there was no alcohol in here which would have definitely improved the flavour, and my mood.
So how does it taste then? Well I think I might give Georgia a call and complain. They seemed to have put Draft coffee in here by accident.

canned coffee japan

Funny but last time I checked I thought Japan and Mexico had good relations. Despite what you may think, this actually isn't a message telling you to roast a Mexican person. Apparently the beans are from Mexico instead of wherever Roots usually gets them. Apart from having a pretty snazzy and colourful can, does it make any difference in taste? Surprisingly it tastes just like the first two even though it's made by a different company. Is it a coffee conspiracy?

canned coffee japan

You've seen 69 before if you've ever checked out my Japangrish page. Who could resist such an interesting marketing strategy? 69 is supposed to refer to the amount of sugar that has been cut, but it seems to me that those nasty little boys and girls at Wonda had other ideas when they coined this name. I find it very interesting that despite having 69% of the sugar reduced, it still tastes the same as the others! I see a pattern developing here. My theory is that all can coffee companies use the same big vat. A hose from this one huge vat would connect to a smaller vat at each separate company. Has anyone seen this big vat?

canned coffee japan

Images of Japanese people jumping in front of trains while holding canned coffees fill my mind when look at this one. Never has a canned coffee been more aptly named, at least if you're referring to the flavour. Whatever the case, a good marketing strategy always benefits from a quick dictionary check. Any hope I might have had of a nice expresso blend had long disappeared after tasting the first four. I already knew what i was in for. Different name, different design, same not-so-great taste...

canned coffee japan

So what, no ranking system this time around? Well I was going to but I thought it would be silly to rank the same coffee five times in a row. So is there any benefit at all to drinking canned coffee? Well, if you're like me, you have a love/hate relationship with canned coffee. Despite the taste, I find it helps perk me up, as well as relax and release stress, which I find very useful when heading into the classroom to teach. Better be careful not to drink too much though, it would be a bit embarrasing to become addicted to fake coffee!




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