Surprisingly, Japan has a very strong coffee culture, and delicious coffee is generally easy to find anywhere you go. Vending machines, found seemingly on every street, are typically filled with multiple canned coffee options, from black, to sweetened, to lattes.
Unfortunately, many of the coffees found in the vending machines in Japan contain animal-derived emulsifiers which render them haram for Muslims to consume. If you're out and about in Japan and looking for a quick coffee, here are some to avoid and some to seek out.
Coffees to Avoid
Most 'Boss' Brand Coffees
Unfortunately, it appears that most 'Boss' coffees use an animal-based emulsifier. It seems like there are one or two that are okay to drink, but it's probably just easiest to avoid them entirely.
Most 'Georgia' Brand Coffees
According to Halal Japan's Facebook page, Coca-Cola's coffee 'Georgia' coffee line uses animal-based emulsifier and is haram.
I contacted Sapporo, the producer of 'Pokka' coffee in April of 2019, and was told that none of the products could be safely called halal. Apparently the ingredients sometimes change without warning, and it's unclear what kind of emulsifier is used in the coffee. For now, it's best to avoid the 'Pokka' brand of coffee.
Coffees That Are Okay
The great news about Dydo coffees is that the emulsifier used in all of their coffee products is entirely plant-based! (I confirmed this through email in April, 2019) That means you can happily drink any of their coffee products without worry! If you see a Dydo vending machine, try it out!
Many of the 'Wonda' Brand Coffees
I contacted Asahi, the producer of 'Wonda' coffee in April of 2019, and asked about the halal status of their coffees. They responded with a list of the following coffees that use a plant-based emulsifier and are okay for Muslims:
Wonderful Wonda 'Black' and 'Late' coffees (sold in PET bottles)
'Kiwami' Cafe Au Lait and 'Black' coffees
Asashi does have other Wonda products, but those were not included in the list that I was provided, so it's best to stick with the products shown here.
I hope this article has been a useful reference. As I mentioned at the top, Japan is filled with some truly outstanding coffee shops, so if you're interested in getting a fantastic cup, head to a specialty coffee shop.
If you're out and about and you just need a quick coffee fix, another option is to stop in at a convenience store to order a drip coffee. 711 is you're tastiest option here.
Good luck, and happy coffee drinking!