Koreans average 500 cups of coffee a year: report

The Korea Herald

South Koreans drink an average 500 cups of coffee a year each, a local report suggested Sunday, quoting industry sources.

Industry officials estimated that Koreans consumed about 25 billion cups of coffee last year, up 25 percent from a decade earlier. When divided among the Korean population of about 50 million, the amount of coffee consumed comes to about 500 cups per person, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The size of the coffee market, including both instant and brewed coffee, also grew nearly threefold over that time, from 3 trillion won ($2.64 billion) to 8.79 trillion won, it added.

The dramatic growth of brewed coffee has attributed to the market expansion, as it surged six times over a decade to 5 trillion won last year.

The popularity of coffee in Korea, particularly brewed coffee products, has mainly been attributed to the arrival of international coffee chains, according to market insiders.

Starbucks Korea has been leading the trend since its arrival here in 1999. Last year, the Seattle-based company reaped 1.03 trillion won in sales, the most ever for a coffee chain in Korea.

Meanwhile, sales of coffee mix products fell below the 1 trillion won level to 910 billion won last year for the first time in over a decade.

By Son Ji-hyoung