Canned Coffee - Everything to Know

Canned Coffee - Everything to Know

Posted by Meera Nair on

With the boom in the RTD (ready-to-drink) market in recent years, the future of canned coffee certainly looks promising! 

Especially considering that it is in major demand amongst millions of people, who are looking for convenience and don’t have the time to brew coffee themselves every day. Considering that, you can see why having stacks of canned coffee (that too of different flavours) seems like an appealing option.

Let’s learn all the basics of canned coffee.

History & Development

Canned coffee was first produced in Japan in the 1960s. Although several businesses tried their hand at it, it was the Ueshima Coffee Co. (UCC) that ultimately succeeded in the production and sale of canned coffee.

The story behind this is an interesting one. When Mr. Ueshima, the founder, realised that people didn’t have the liberty to drink beverages on the go at their own pace, he figured out a way to make canned coffee. 

Known as kan kōhī’ in Japan, people quickly adopted it into their lifestyle. What’s more, vending machines are a common sight in Japan. Canned coffee could now be sold in these vending machines, making them easily accessible to people. 

Soon neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia got wind of this invention and began producing canned coffee of their own. It was in the 90s that canned coffee came to the West, and the rest as they say is history.

Common Questions About Canned Coffee

  • Is canned coffee bad for you?
    If you pick a canned coffee that has no preservatives or too much sugar, it isn’t necessarily harmful to you unless there are certain ingredients in it which don’t suit you. You might want to glance at the ingredients list before you pick one but any coffee from a reputed coffee brand should be perfectly fine for you to consume.

  • Can canned coffee expire?
    Just like regular coffee, canned coffee is something that does eventually expire. Your best bet would be to consume it as soon as possible. The first signs of a coffee gone bad are discolouration, odd smells or the texture feels off. Keep an eye out for mould as well.

  • Does canned coffee taste good?
    Canned coffee can taste as good as freshly brewed coffee if it is produced correctly. It will take a bit of trial and error till you find the right one but with all the options available in the market today, it shouldn’t be a problem. You can choose between a regular black coffee, cold brew or a flash brew created with single origins or blends

How is Coffee Canned?

You are probably wondering how canned coffee is made. There is not all that much to it. 

The business that sells canned coffee, roasts, grinds and brews coffee as per usual. It is then immediately vacuum-sealed into cans to prevent the brew from going bad. Most canned coffees are just black coffees but some iced lattes may have milk or milk-related products in them. 

Coffee cans are pressurised with nitrogen gas to expel the air in the can. And so there is no oxygen in the can that can spoil the coffee. Nitrogen is often the preferred agent over carbon dioxide (which is also sometimes used) because nitrogen doesn’t affect the taste of the coffee.

In case it is a cold brew coffee, the coffee producer also pasteurises it to stop any microorganisms from growing in the brew.

With specialty coffee brands investing more into the canned coffee segment, and a young audience that is vying for it, there is a lot of scope for growth here. 

It remains to be seen how canned coffee will evolve in the face of greater environmental concerns.

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