Look around in any Japanese office and you will see canned coffee. Better yet, just look at some people walking on the streets of Tokyo and in hand you will see canned coffee.
It’s a craze that has swept Japan since the 1960’s and seems here to stay. However, it’s hard to wonder why canned coffee stuck so well in Japan or how it even got started. To approach this subject let’s take a look at where it all started.
The history behind Japan’s coffee culture
Coffee in Japan dates back as far as the 1800’s when the Dutch brought it over. From this Kissatens (coffee lounges) were established and this caused coffee’s popularity to sweep across the nation.
Fast forwarding to the 1960’s, Japan become a huge importer for coffee beans. During this time RDT (ready-to-drink) products were growing quite popular so it was only natural that the first canned coffee called Mira Coffee would be introduced. Although the success for Mira Coffee was short lived, years later a coffee company UCC brought about the first successful canned coffee.
It shouldn’t go unsaid that what really contributed to this growth was the introduction of hot and cold beverage vending machines. At only 100 yen a can, it became a quick pick-me-up during those long hours at work.
Who are the big makers of canned coffee today?
The common brands you would see in Japan are Boss, UCC, Georgia and Fire. It’s hard to judge their popularity as the all seem quite competitive. However, marketing wise Boss has taken an interesting approach by having Tommy Lee Jones (Men in Black) as a spokesperson.
So does can coffee actually taste good?
Well although this differs from person to person, I would have to give an over hell no. Actually, I will go as far to say the only one I CAN drink is Georgia.
Those who drink the canned coffee with sugar claim it isn’t so bad warm, but as a final disclaimer, don’t drink the black ones. Or actually, try it and let me know what you think in the comments!