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Japanese Canned Coffee
Japan is the world’s largest consumer of canned coffee. This ready-to-drink beverage is available in supermarkets, convenience stores, and especially vending machines. Nearly all major Japanese drinks companies either offer or have offered canned coffee. There are numerous varieties of canned coffee, including milk coffee with sugar, milk coffee without sugar, black coffee, and café au lait, served both hot or cold, depending on the season. Most canned coffees are sold in steel cans, as steels cans are cheaper and less likely to dent than aluminum cans.
The idea to produce canned coffee all began in the 1960’s when Ueshima Tadao, the owner of the UCC Ueshima Coffee Company, was drinking coffee-flavored milk at a train station. His train arrived earlier than anticipated and Ueshima Tadao had to return his milk bottle to the store before he could finish drinking his beverage. This incident gave him an idea to produce an on-the-go coffee drink. Ueshima Tadao soon found a way to produce coffee that could stay fresh in a can for a long period of time without losing its flavor.
Sales for canned coffee had a slow start. The concept of canned coffee was still a bit strange for the people of Japan. It was in 1970 when UCC offered free samples of canned coffee at the World Exposition in Osaka that sales began to skyrocket. The invention of the hot and cold drink vending machine in 1973 allowed the industry to spread even more, and today canned coffee has become an everyday presence in Japan.
Lot's of drink brands make canned coffees:
Asahi's Wonda brand is a popular one:
Soo is Boss by Suntory, famous for using Tommy Lee Jones in their commercials:
Jusco's Top Value brand has one:
There is even one called Kilimanjaro if you need that extra kick before mountain climbing:
What's your favorite Japanese canned coffee?