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Replacing the Coffee Pot

A new technology for self-heating cans has been combined with the coffee drinks created by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, resulting in a $2.25 10-ounce latte that, when activated, heats itself to about 145 degrees in about six minutes, reports the East Valley (Arizona) Tribune.

According to Bob Groux, CEO of WP Beverage Partners, the product has a growing fan base among soccer moms, commuters and campers. "The first month we were probably getting nine or 10 e-mails a day from consumers," Groux said. "Now we are up to close to a hundred a day. Half are inquiries, the other half are 'Thank you, thank you, thank you.' They are just saying it's one of the best inventions they have seen in a long time."

And this, says Groux, is with a hot beverage introduced at the onset of hot weather. A hot chocolate version is slated to hit shelves in July.

"Here we are going into the summer months of a product that we thought would be kind of seasonal. . . . But the fact of the matter is people are picking this thing up just like they would on a given winter day."

Another company, OnTech, produces the one-of-a-kind cans that will soon be used for self-heating soups and alcoholic beverages as well.

Consumers activate the cans by turning them over, removing a seal and pushing a button that combines a liquid with the mineral calcium oxide, also known as quicklime. The quicklime, in a cone-shaped compartment inside the can, then heats the coffee in a surrounding compartment. Groux says complaints have been few and primarily based on consumers not pushing the button far enough to activate the quicklime.

Groux says his company already was producing a cold version of Wolfgang Puck's coffees when OnTech approached the firm with its self-heating can. Thus, an idea was conceived, he says.

The latte drinks, now available at Fry's supermarkets, should soon be available in convenience stores, according to the company.
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