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If you have the gear and a bit of time, it’s not that hard to make your own coffee at home. But, not everyone has the gear, the time, or wants to in the first place. Some of us wake up and are instantly thrown into the thick of things, whether it’s work, family, or both. If that’s you, we’d like to introduce you to your new best friend: canned coffee.
It’s important to have a sense of your options, though. There are plain black coffee cans, which are great for throwing over ice. There are “nitro” options, which have been infused with a bit of nitrogen gas for a silky texture. There are lots of sweetened and flavored options, too. There are even lattes, both the dairy and the non-dairy kind.
Whatever you’re looking for, canned-coffee-wise, you can find it. We sorted through the options and reviews and found the best of every sort. So, if you do end up having extra time one morning, you can indulge in a can of joe to sip while you’re making coffee cake, an elegant French omelet, or even doughnuts. The world is your oyster when you’re properly caffeinated.
Here are the best canned coffees.
Best Black: Boss Coffee Flash Brew Original Cold Black Coffee
No. 1 canned coffee brand in Japan
Flash brewed for improved flavor
Some say the cans are flimsy
From the famed Japanese whisky conglomerate Suntory (the name behind Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, Laphroaig, and more) comes this very good canned coffee. Each can is the equivalent of a double shot of espresso and is flash brewed for full flavor without bitterness. Best served cold, either straight or over ice, reviewers say it transports them to the smooth, elegant coffee they had in Japan, making this a great option for those who miss their Tokyo joe or anyone who enjoys their coffee black.
Best Dairy-Free: Rise Brewing Co. Oat Milk Nitro Cold Brew Latte
Fewer calories and sugar
Not overly caffeinated
Pricier than some others
Rise offers a line of nitro drinks, from a classic latte to oat milk mochas. We love the oat milk latte cans for their real latte vibes. For one thing, each can has about the same caffeine as one shot of espresso, making it perfect for those who need caffeine, but are a bit sensitive to it at the same time. The Rise Nitro Oat Milk Latte also has fewer calories and less sugar than other canned oat milk lattes. If you love oat milk lattes from your local coffee shop, this is the closest canned version we’ve found.
Best With Espresso: Black Stag Espresso With Cream Canned Coffee
Great price point
May be too creamy for some
If you like your coffee rich, creamy, and flavorful, the Black Stag Coffee Pre-Made Espresso with Cream will be your vibe. It’s bold, decadent, and perfect for treating yourself at the onset of a long day. If you don’t like strong espresso or half and half in your coffee, this may be too much for you, but those who love rich, strong flavors will be very into this option.
Best Cold Brew: High Brew Cold Brew Coffee
Low in acidity
High in caffeine
Some say it lacks flavor
This High Brew Cold Brew Coffee can offers the classic cold brew experience: extra caffeine (the equivalent of two normal cups of coffee), super low acidity, and a very drinkable brew. This is also a great option to drink straight from the refrigerated can, as some say that it dilutes too quickly with ice. If you like punchy cold brew with subtle flavors, grab a can of this one and get sipping.
Best Nitro: Sail Away Coffee Nitro Cold Brew Cans
Same caffeine as a triple espresso shot
More expensive than some others
Looking for a super smooth cuppa (canna?) joe? Meet Sail Away Coffee Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Cans. The proprietary South American blend gets even smoother, thanks to the cold brewing process and shot of nitrogen gas. It claims to be 60 percent less acidic than the standard cup of hot coffee, and it has the same caffeine as three espresso shots. For the black coffee purist or anyone following a keto, paleo, or vegan diet, this goes out to you.
Best Flavored: La Colombe Hazelnut Draft Latte
No actual nuts products used
There’s something so decadent-feeling about a good hazelnut latte, and the La Colombe Hazelnut Draft Latte is just that, but with no actual nut products added, making it safe for those with nut allergies. Each can is the caffeine equivalent of 1.5 cups of coffee and boasts 5 grams of protein, whcih is great if you’re not a breakfast person. The milk is lactose-free and the can is shelf-stable.
Best Sweetened: UCC Hawaii Kona Blend Coffee With Milk
Drink hot or cold
The only Hawaiian coffee
Some say the packaging is flawed
Hawaii is famous for its coffee, and this can may just convert you. The UCC Hawaii Kona Blend Coffee With Milk is special for a few reasons beyond it being delicious. It’s sweetened without being too sweet and has milk without being too milky. It’s appropriate to drink hot or cold, which is rare for canned coffee. Some reviewers say that theirs arrived dented or damaged, but if you’re willing to take the risk (or contact customer service), this is a great option to keep around.
Best Single-Origin: Elemental Beverage Co. Single Origin Sampler
Delicious and terroir-driven
Can try several options
More expensive than some others
With these cans, Elemental Beverage proves that there’s a canned coffee for everyone—even coffee snobs. This pack comes with three unique origins: Kolla Bolcha in Ethiopia, Vista Al Bosque in Guatemala, and El Mirador in Colombia. The Ethiopian has juicy, watermelon-like notes, the Guatemalan has floral, apple vibes, and the Colombian has notes of chocolate and sour cherry. These coffees show terroir, or taste of place, and would make a lovely start to any day. They’re the priciest option on the list, but if you’re willing to spend some extra cash, these are very special.
What to Look for in Canned Coffee
Most canned coffee on this list ranges from 20 to 30 cents per ounce, or around $3 per can. However, if you have special requirements for your canned coffee, such as a single-origin option, you’ll likely pay more.
Ingredients and Nutrition Facts
With canned coffee, you’re likely going to make a few compromises. Even those that aren’t labeled as sweetened or flavored will likely have sugar, flavoring, and/or preservatives added. The higher quality ones with simpler ingredients lists will generally be pricier. Convenience comes at a bit of a cost. That said, even the more expensive canned coffees usually won’t cost more than a coffee drink from your local coffee shop.
Ease of Storage
Many options are shelf-stable, but not all canned coffee is. Make sure to check the label.
How You Want to Consume It
Many canned coffees are meant to be served chilled, either poured over ice or straight from the fridge. If you’re looking for hot coffee, you’ll have to find something meant for it (like the UCC Hawaii Kona Blend Coffee) or be prepared to have some textural and flavor changes.
How do you store canned coffee?
Does canned coffee go bad after opening?
“Bad” is a strong word. It’s not going to become unsafe after you open it, but you may notice that the flavor degrades after a few hours. For optimal freshness, it’s ideal to drink it the day you open it, but if you have a small Mason jar with a lid that you can pour the rest into, it should be fine until you’re ready to drink it.
Can you heat canned coffee?
If you really want to, you can, but most are intended to be enjoyed cold, with the exception of the UCC Hawaii Kona Blend Coffee with Milk (view at Amazon), which can be enjoyed hot or cold. If you really want to heat it up, the texture and flavor may suffer a bit, but hey, it’s your cup of coffee.
What is the difference between cold brew and flash brew?
In order to make cold brew, ground beans are soaked in cool or room temperature water for an extended period of time (about 12 hours minimum). Fans of cold brew love it for its low acidity and bitterness. Flash brew, on the other hand, is brewed as hot coffee, then quickly chilled. Its proponents say it brings out more of the coffee’s flavor.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Christine Clark is a writer and cheese educator, who grew up Mormon, meaning she first had coffee in her early 20s. After tasting it for the first time, she instantly fell in love with it and dove into the coffee world. She loves berry-forward coffee beans and a morning cappuccino made with local milk and her stovetop Moka pot.