I found a can at the back of the fridge with an expiry date of 26th of October, so I did what any reasonable person would do – I drank it.
I stumbled across this can of instant coffee while raiding a friend’s fridge. Although I’m no stranger to ready-made coffee, I was genuinely intrigued as to why someone felt the need to import a (canned) dairy product when we have so many cows right here in Australia more than willing to squirt out a few quarts of deliciousness.
Despite all recommendations to the contrary, I went ahead and decided to drink it.
The can itself is what initially piqued my interest. The packaging features a stereotypically fat Mafioso winking suggestively out from the label, holding what is presumably a well-made espresso. Nothing says “quality coffee” quite like sticking it in an aluminium can and shipping it 7000 kilometres across the ocean.
Our protagonist (Mr Brown) is the visual amalgamation of several of the biggest Italian stereotypes of the last 100 years. I imagine a very jaded graphic designer typing “terrible Italian clichés” into Google images and shoehorning in as many results as possible.
There’s always something very off-putting when you lift the tab and don’t hear that refreshing KSSHHH sound associated with (most) other canned drinks. Judging by how much the can expanded upon opening, there was a whole lot of trans-continental pressure inside. Were they keeping something out, or keeping something in.
A precautionary peek inside revealed the familiar brown hue of cheap coffee/watery diarrhoea. I gave it a tentative sniff and was relieved to find that it at least smelled (mostly) like coffee. I figured it was probably best in the long-term to pour this out into a glass. Should things turn bad, I’d at least be able to see why.
Ignoring the floating white flecks of (probably) milk-powder on top, I took a mouthful of the very-watery coffee drink and committed it to my digestive system.
Past the lips, over the tongue, through the gag reflex, and down the gullet.
The drink tastes like it wants to taste like coffee. I was even taken aback a little by the apparent quality. Once it washed past my tongue, though, all semblance of arabica had vanished, leaving nothing but the stale taste of week-old soggy cigarette butts and dirty pipes. I repeated the feat to ensure that I was not mistaken. I was not.
I choked down the rest of this coffee/cigarette drink out of spite.
Honestly, given the wide array of instant coffee out there, I’m surprised that bad instant coffee drinks exist at all. Moreover, why are they being imported? We Australians are perfectly capable of churning out abysmal products without overseas help.
I did enjoy the experience of drinking what is normally a two-step breakfast for me – coffee and cigarettes. Mr Brown is probably working on his pitch to Sanitarium’s Up and Go team right now. A true meal replacement for champions.