march "canned" coffee "news" roundup

garlic coffee, anyone?

the other day a friend returned from spring break and announced that they'd brought something back for me, before presenting me with this unusual garlicy bottle. i like to imagine these sorts of oddities come from dusty basement antiques stores like in the start of gremlins, but more likely it was at the head of a shelf in h-mart with a starburst “new product” sign attached. i wondered why this is what had been chosen as a gift for me, since i’ve never really professed any particular devotion to garlic (or any other bulbs for that matter). upon closer inspection, it was obvious why: turns out, this was actually COFFEE. coffee with some black garlic powder added, so naturally make the whole bottle shaped like a garlic bulb and hope people don’t mistake it for garlic juice or something (is that even a thing?). the bottle design also makes you feel like you're drinking a potion

i was really curious because garlic had yet to make the list of adulterants i’ve tried in coffee. they seemed to have a lot of confidence in it, considering the bottle design. when i tried it, though, it wasn’t all that great. the garlic was fine but they dropped the ball on the actual coffee part, specifically the milk. i’m not too surprised because the ingredients list shows “sweetened condensed milk” and “instant coffee”, they must just be gunning for people buying it for the novelty. the garlic taste is quite subtle and adds an interesting zing to the end of each sip, and i’m a little bit curious how it would taste in a better coffee, or in black coffee. maybe i’ll try to add some black garlic powder to ucc black or something. or maybe i won’t, because the garlicy taste lingered unpleasantly in my mouth for a couple hours afterward, even after cleansing my palate with breakfast and other drinks.

anyways, this is not actually canned coffee because it’s in a plastic bottle, so even though the bottle design is pretty unique i will be hucking it into the incinerator now that i’m done with it.

hard canned coffee woes

apparently guinness is making a “nitro cold brew coffee” now, at least that’s what it says in big letters on the can. turns out, though, it’s just a type of beer you brew with coffee called a “coffee stout” instead of a genuine “hard coffee”. i’ve had a few coffee stouts before out of curiosity and they are definitely more beer than coffee. most recently, i had a craft draft one at this bbq joint and while the foam at the top tasted exactly like coffee, the rest of it, not so much.

but while thinking about all this, i suddenly remembered that i actually have had a “genuine” hard canned coffee before. there was a short-lived trend during covid where a bunch of companies put out hard canned coffees, most prominently pabst. i saw the 4-pack pop up in the beer aisle of the local supermarket next to 24-packs of the normal pabst blue ribbon and made a mental note to try it sometime, although i was a bit hesitant because the pabst branding and proximity to the normal beer made me think it was just coffee mixed with beer. in fact, it was an actual hard coffee drink, but i guess sales weren’t doing so hot because it disappeared from the shelves before i ever took the leap and bought some.

a second chance came when the same friend who recently gifted me the garlic coffee brought over a bunch of packs of random alcohol last summer, including pabst hard coffee. her dad runs a convenience store and would often give her the free trial packs he gets or stuff that didn’t sell. i think in this case it was the latter. another factor that had made me hesitant before was the time of day (i try to avoid coffee after the afternoon, otherwise i can’t get to sleep), but this time it was before lunch so i was all clear. i poured up and prepared to finally savor some pabst hard coffee for brunch.

i wish i could comment on the flavor but i can’t really remember. this is possibly because i slammed something like six of them over the course of the day in addition to a lot of other drinks. to this day i still try and avoid drinking before the sun goes down. i sat at the kitchen counter in front of my electric typewriter trying to write but instead i spent almost the entire day sitting there sipping on drinks talking to people as they filtered through. i only managed to write short tidbits like “yup, right here, on this corner, feels like it should be the PERFECT writing conditions. but no, not at all. the perfect writing conditions are the worst ones.” or (upon finishing a pack of strawberries) “why is there a BERRY rewards program. who is going around unironically scanning the QR code on the bottom of the packages to get BERRY REWARDS. come on guys...”. i grew extremely anxious because i thought i had diabetes since i was going to the bathroom every 15 minutes, but it was probably just from the mixture of excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol. maybe they stopped making hard coffee for public safety reasons, like how they forced fourloko to stop putting caffeine in their nasty sugary “malt beverages” because people were getting so messed up on them.