March 22, 2022 13:43
Coffee imports surpassed W1 trillion for the first time last year as the Asia-wide craze for gourmet coffee hit a new peak in Korea for want of other distractions amid the coronavirus pandemic (US$1=W1,215).
According to the Korea Customs Service on Monday, imports of coffee products -- roasted beans, green beans, capsules and instant coffee -- rose a whopping 24.2 percent to US$916.48 million or about W1.05 trillion last year.
The volume amounted to 189,502 tons, up 7.3 percent.
The country from which Korea imported the largest amount or $130.12 million worth was Switzerland, which was not even in the top 5 in 2018. That is because Nestlé, the world's largest food company that is leading the global capsule market with Nespresso, is headquartered in Switzerland.
Next came top coffee producers Colombia and Brazil, followed by the U.S., and then coffee growers Ethiopia and Vietnam.
The number of bijou coffee shops has gone through the roof here. According to the National Tax Service, their number nearly doubled from 44,305 in December 2017 to 83,363 last December as other businesses collapsed and jobs were lost due to the pandemic.
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