The expressions displayed on my Indonesian friend’s and Vietnamese friend’s faces when I handed them a canned coffee years ago were priceless; they glimpsed at each another and smirked. Since then I have encouraged both of them to visit Japan — canned coffee and vending machine capital of the world. The pronunciation of canned coffee in Japanese is kan kōhī, a term that often appears in J-pop lyrics.
Coffee shops’ ubiquitousness strips me of both opportunities and desire to savor canned coffee in recent years; I may consider paying for a can if it is a limited edition novelty import from Asia. Green tea in a can, on the other hand, continues to vex me for some ineffable reason. Don’t aluminum cans and green tea concoct a combo that is least harmonious and most haphazard? I see no issue with aluminum cans and oolong or Thai teas though.
A few Internet articles specify 1985 as the year that Ito En became the first company to deliver green tea in PET bottles. However, according to Ito En’s own website, the company was proud to introduce canned green tea, not bottled green tea, to the world in 1985, and in 1996, it perfected the patented technology known as the “Natural Clear Method” for its production of bottled green tea.
Vending machines in Japan are of course capable of dispensing hot beverages. After consumers voiced discomfort while holding heated aluminum cans, Ito En proceeded to develop heatable PET bottles adorned with orange caps in 2000. Every day I avoid drinking bottled water left inside the vehicle and worry about wax-coated cups, and I’m not sure if I would ever be ready for hot canned or bottled drinks.