What else are we supposed to wash down our 16-year-old ramen with?
A lot of noteworthy things happened in 1989. Massive protests were held in Tiananmen Square, Nintendo released the very first Game Boy, and audiences turned out in droves to watch Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in theaters.
Oh, and 1989 was also when this can of Japanese canned coffee expired
Canned coffee is available in just about every vending machine, supermarket, and convenience store in Japan, generally for around 110 yen (US$1). With that sort of prevalence and affordability, it’s rare for a can to go unpurchased for very long, but on our visit to second-hand shop Mono House in Yamaguchi Prefecture, we came across a can of Coca-Cola’s Georgia brand canned coffee, priced at 900 yen, with a “best by” date of September 10, 1989.
▼ You may remember Mono House as the same place where we bought our antique, ultimately non-edible 16-year-old instant ramen.
▼ Helping drive home the fact that this can of coffee comes from a bygone era is the pull tab on top.
While you’ll find a number of coffee fans hanging around RocketNews24 headquarters on any given day, we figured this was a taste test best left to the ones who also happen to be crazy: P.K. Sanjun and Mr. Sato.
Since Mr. Sato took one for the team by trying to eat the 16-year-old ramen, this time it was P.K.’s turn to go first. He pulled off the tab and took a sniff, bracing himself for an odious odor.
To his pleasant surprise, though, it smelled just like ordinary coffee, with no sour or rotten stench. Still, even P.K. isn’t gutsy enough to gulp down 27-year-old coffee without a visual inspection first, so next he poured the contents of the can into a clear drinking glass.
As with its aroma, there wasn’t any noticeable degradation in the beverage’s color. There were some troubling bits of particulate matter to be found, but P.K. deftly fished the larger ones out.
Finally, it was time to taste the coffee, for which P.K. opted to use a spoon. As he tried to steady his hand and nerves, he brought the utensil up to his lips and took a sip.
Unlike the gag-inducing 16-year-old ramen, the 27-year-old cofee actually didn’t taste that bad. Granted, no one would mistake this as coming from a freshly brewed pot, but P.K. said it didn’t taste significantly worse than coffee that was a few days old. In any case, without knowing the can’s backstory, he said he never would have guessed just how old it actually was.
▼ The moment of truth begins at 2:15.
Still, there’s no getting around the fact that this coffee is old enough to have a job and a family, so rather than continue the experiment and see what it would do to his stomach, P.K. spat his sample out after tasting it. After all, discretion is the better part of valor, especially when it’s food poisoning you’re risking.
[ Read in Japanese ]