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Wednesday, 17 October, 2001, 06:03 GMT 07:03 UK
Hot drink can tested in Midlands
A man drinks a can of self-heating coffee
The new cans could result in hundreds of jobs
A Nottinghamshire firm says it has hired an extra 150 workers to produce a new invention that allows consumers to heat coffee in a can.

CPI Thermotic of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, makes the self-heating cans for international coffee maker Nestlé.

A cross-section of cans of coffee
The self-heating cans use calcium oxide

The "Hot When You Want" coffee takes about three minutes to heat up after a button on the bottom of the can is pushed.

The chemical reaction involves water mixing with a quicklime, or calcium oxide, stored in a separate compartment.

The reaction creates calcium hydroxide and a burst of heat, which heats up the coffee.

The coffee bubbles to 60C, but the can does not get hot enough to scald.

Billions of drinks

A Nestlé spokesperson said: "It's about enabling people to have coffee whenever and wherever they want it.

"There is no contact between the liquid and the coffee - it is only used to heat the contents. Once heated, the can will be slightly warm as it contains reinforced materials to prevent it getting too hot."

It is estimated that 100 billion hot drinks are consumed in the UK every year.

Nestlé has started a trial of the hot-drink cans in the Midlands.

When first launched, white coffee with or without sugar was available, but other combinations and flavours will be considered if the product is successful.

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