December is just around the corner, which means that all of the signs of the winter season are starting to pop up here in Tokyo.
From the falling leaves and hanging Christmas lights to the woolen scarves and hot carafes of sake, you can’t escape the fact that Jack Frost is slowly starting to nip at Japan’s ear.
Of course, the winter chill means one very important thing to caffeine hounds such as myself, namely that the vending machines in the city are starting to carry hot cans of coffee.
Indeed, Japan is home to a convenience culture, which is why it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you can get a can of hot coffee from any vending machine here in Tokyo.
Of course, with so many different varieties and flavors of coffee on offer, you might have trouble deciding exactly which can of coffee will provide the necessary jolt that you need to start your day.
But fear not as today, Big in Japan will be bringing you the first ever canned coffee taste!
So, without further adieu, let the taste test begin:
Georgia Café Au Lait (カフェオレ)
Although I’m not exactly clear how the name Georgia is supposed to bring to mind excellent coffee, I do know that this syrupy sweet mix of coffee and milk packs a powerful sugar boost.
Sadly, coffee aficionados will mourn the lack of a frothy head that makes drinking real café au lait so heavenly, though what do you expect from coffee in a can!
Georgia Emerald Mountain Blend (エメラルドマウンテンブレンド)
I consider myself to be a fairly well traveled person, though I can’t for the life of me figure out where the Emerald Mountains are located on a map of the world.
But, I do know for certain that the lofty heights of this range must produce some great coffee beans, because drinking this little can puts some serious spring in my step.
Boss Rainbow Mountain Blend (レインボームンテンブレンド
Once again, I have no idea where the Rainbow Mountains are located, so either my geography skills must really be inadequate, or perhaps they’re part of the same range as the Emerald Mountains.
What I do know is that your average resident of Rainbow Mountain must have a sweet tooth, because I’m fairly certain that there is more sugar than coffee in this multi-colored can.
Suntory Habanero Soup (ハバネロのスープ)
What foul treachery is this – habanero soup in a coffee can!
Can you imagine the horror I felt after taking a hefty sip of habanero soup at 6:30 in the morning?
Just as the burn began to spread from my lips to my throat, I hung my head in shame and slowly accepted the fact that this was going to be a bad day.
Wonda Morning Shot (モーニングショト)
Before cracking the pop-top and having my morning shot, I’m comforted by the English on the can, which assures me that Wonda is “The coffee with perfect taste to greet every morning.”
Sadly, the perfect taste for greeting every morning is somewhat reminiscent of repeatedly licking a giant metallic spoon.
But what do you expect for 120 yen (US$1)!
On second thought, maybe I’ll stop at Starbucks this morning…