Last February, the world welcomed its first self-chilling beverage. Of course, a self-chilling beverage was only of so much interest during a time when much of the world's population could just step outside its door and chill its own beverages in the open air – June might have been a better time for that one. What folks could use during the cold season is a beverage container that automatically warms its contents. That container is called the Hot Can.

The double-chambered aluminum Hot Can contains the beverage or soup in its outer chamber, and a mix of water and calcium oxide in its inner chamber. When activated, the water and calcium oxide mix, causing an exothermic reaction that heats the beverage by a total of 50 to 55 degrees Celsius in about three minutes. This means that a drink which starts out at room temperature (20ºC/68ºF) heats up to 70ºC (158ºF) – from a cold cup of mud to a piping hot cup of coffee. A polypropylene outer shell insulates the beverage for about 45 minutes and protects the hands from burns.

Using the Hot Can sounds pretty easy. You turn it upside down, remove the protective tab and press the button to begin the heat reaction. Then you shake it for 20 to 30 seconds and stand it upright until it heats up. The heat indicator label lets you know it's hot and ready with a green emblem. If it should get too hot, a red warning sign activates instead.

Because the Hot Can adds a set amount of heat to any beverage, it's designed to be stored at room temperature. Storing it in the refrigerator will mean it won't heat up to a warm drinking temperature, while storing it in a hot environment like a car in the hot sun will cause burn risks. Storing it below 5ºC (41ºF) can damage the heating element.

The Hot Can could be super-useful for everyday use as well as for specific purposes. You could grab a coffee on the way out the door to work without ever having to brew a pot or stop off at a shop. Hikers, backpackers and other outdoor users could enjoy a hot drink without worrying about lighting a stove or fire.

Hot Can launched in its home market of Malaysia in 2008 and was introduced to the U.S. market last year. It comes in a full line of beverages and soups, including coffee, hot chocolate and chicken soup. The company has been busy attending trade shows and increasing its distribution footprint. Buyers can find it online at and at independent retailers, including outdoor shops and conveniences stores in 32 states. Each can costs about US$2.40 when purchased in multi-packs.

If you don't like Hot Cans' selection of drinks and soups, gadgets like the Trekmates cooking system uses a similar design for heating up your food of choice.

Source: Hot Can