January 10, 2023 09:50
No lockdown or market saturation can stop the proliferation of coffee shops in Korea's streets. Their numbers more than doubled over the last four years to reach almost 100,000 in 2022 as coffee imports surpassed US$1 billion for the first time.
According to the Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation on Monday, a record high 99,000 coffee shops beckoned caffeine addicts last year, up 17.4 percent from a year earlier. In late 2018 there were only about 49,000.
The Korea Customs Service says Korea imported $1.19 billion worth of coffee in the first 11 months of 2022, up 45.1 percent from a year earlier and the first time annual coffee imports surpassed $1 billion. The amount was up a whopping 16.7 times compared to $71.4 million two decades ago.
That makes coffee shops the second most numerous hospitality businesses on the high street after Korean restaurants, and they now outnumber even the ubiquitous fried-chicken outlets.
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