Vending machine-exclusive delivers more caffeine than standard Coke.
One of the many awesome things about vending machines in Japan is the huge variety of beverages they sell. For example, aside from water, soda, and juice, just about any vending machine you’ll come across will also have a selection of canned coffees.
One of the most popular canned coffee brands is Georgia, which is part of the Coca-Cola family and gets its name from the company’s home state. Coca-Cola Japan recently decided to meld its coffee know-how with its soda expertise and created the brand-new Coca-Cola Coffee Plus, which just went on sale this month.
The name is similar to the health-focused zero-calorie Coca-Cola Plus that went on sale last spring in Japan. But while Coca-Cola Coffee Plus does have half the calories of ordinary Coca-Cola, the main selling point here is that the beverage comes pre-mixed with coffee extract powder, making it a hybrid of two of modern society’s favorite carbonated beverages.
We spotted Coca-Cola Coffee Plus in a vending machine near SoraNews24 headquarters in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood, where it was priced at 130 yen (US$1.20) a can. That’s a bit on the expensive side for cola, especially in cans of this size, but not out of line with canned coffee prices, so we fed some coins into the machine and brought three servings back to the office.
While you can, of course, drink it straight out of the can, we decided to pour it into a glass to check its color. Actually, because of the visual similarities between ordinary cola and black coffee, we can’t say it looks definitively like one more so than the other, but the heavy carbonation creates a head of frothy foam.
Moving on to the smell test, Coca-Cola Coffee Plus smells exactly like a cup of coffee. If you covered your eyes (and also your ears, so that you couldn’t hear the fizzing of the bubbles) and took a sniff, you’d think this was pure coffee.
Oddly enough, the taste test goes the opposite way. Despite the pronounced coffee aroma, the flavor isn’t all that different than normal Coca-Cola, though it does have a slightly richer flavor than the standard soda.
The new beverage also has 50 percent more caffeine that regular Coke, so if you’re looking for a pick-me-up, but on the fence between cola and coffee, keep your eyes peeled for Cola-Cola Coffee Plus, which is only available in vending machines.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he still remembers ordering a coffee float by mistake on his first trip to Japan because he thought it looked like a chocolate milk shake.
[ Read in Japanese ]