“Both of these blends are sold in Japan only, under Georgia [which] is a very big brand – [we have various series of] products to meet all consumer needs, [whether it be] by generation, gender, working style, etc.,” Coca-Cola Japan Public Affairs & Communications Brand PR Manager Taeko Ohuchi told FoodNavigator-Asia.
The Georgia Emerald Mountain Blend Premium is made from ‘rare Emerald Mountain beans’ certified by the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, and is claimed to present a balanced ‘depth x sweetness’ taste.
According to the Georgia Coffee Japan website, only a maximum of 3% of coffee beans harvested in Colombia are certified as ‘Emerald Mountain’ luxury beans.
“[This blend was made using] the Barista Hand Manufacturing Method, which [helps to preserve] the aroma just after grinding the beans as is,” said Coca-Cola Japan via a statement on their website.
The blend was launched earlier this year in tandem with the 25th anniversary of the original Georgia Emerald Mountain Blend launch, and distinguished itself by using a deeper blue colour for the packaging as well as highlighting several words in gold.
As for Georgia Grand Bito (which means ‘less sugar’), in conjunction with its one-year anniversary last month, the product announced that it had sold some 200 million units since its launch. Its coffee taste was said to be ‘further enhanced’ for an ‘improved drinking experience’.
According to Coca-Cola Japan, the coffee taste was enhanced by reducing the amount of milk in the recipe to give ‘suitable levels of sweetness and bitterness’.
“We did some renewal of taste, [which] is a stronger coffee taste, [though] the amount of using coffee beans for this product [has stayed the] same,” said Ohuchi.
“[This product is] recommended for those in their 30s to 50s who want to enjoy a deep and rich coffee and [feel refreshed] with a strong coffee taste.”
The Georgia Emerald Mountain Blend Premium is available in stores nationwide, retailing at JPY139 (US$1.29) for a 260ml bottle, whereas Georgia Grand Bito is available at JPY115 (US$1.07) for a 185g can, JPY102(US$0.94) for 170g, and JPY77 (US$0.71) for 160g.
Low sugar coffee in Japan
According to Ohuchi, ‘Bito’ is considered a major category within the country’s RTD coffee market.
“[There are 4 major flavour segments in the RTD coffee market in Japan: Standard (sweet coffee with milk), Black (no sugar), Cafe latte and Low sugar (Bito),” she told us.
“Bito literally means ‘low sugar/very small amount of sugar’ in Japanese and to use Bito in product name, you need to meet [requirements under the] food labelling act [in] Japanese law. It is a major flavor segment [in the country] and has been in the market for a long time.”
Georgia Grand Bito contains 2.5g of sugar per 100ml of coffee, but she declined to reveal any information about the sugar content in the Georgia Emerald Mountain Blend or most other Georgia products.
“We are not disclosing information regarding the amount of sugar of each product except Bito products,” she said.