Check out these statistics over a cup of coffee

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Check out these statistics over a cup of coffee

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Koreans consumed coffee more frequently than staples kimchi and rice last year, in the latest testament to the people’s love affair with java.

People drank an average of 12.2 cups of coffee per week in 2014, according to a survey by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation.

The consumption frequency of coffee exceeds that of kimchi, which is eaten 11.9 times a week. Koreans partake of rice 9.6 times a week, and have other kinds of kimchi such as white kimchi 4.6 times, the report noted.

Coffee produced in Korea amounted to 650,000 tons worth 1.7 trillion won ($1.6 billion) in 2013, an increase of 250,000 tons, or 862 billion won, compared to 2009.

Instant coffee mix accounts for 39.2 percent of the coffee products produced in Korea. Back in 2009, the share was 54 percent.

Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade attributed the eroding demand for coffee mix to diversification of consumer tastes.

“Although the size of the instant coffee mix market is shrinking,” the report noted, “people turn to other flavors of coffee. For example, the latest fad is caramel lattes and vanilla-flavored drinks. People also like high-end coffee beans from other countries such as Colombia.”

The report noted that beans from Vietnam, Brazil and Colombia are among the most popular. The three countries account for 64.7 percent of the beans used in Korea.

Exports of coffee mix products ($80.3 million) far surpassed imported instant coffee products ($1.8 million) last year, and half of the coffee mix exports go to Japan, Russia and China.

Japan, in particular, significantly increased the value of coffee mix it imports from Korea, from $740,000 in 2009 to $20.7 million in 2013.

Other data also reflects Koreans’ solid preference for coffee.

According to the Korea Customs Service, based on the amount of coffee imported, Korean adults each drank an average of 298 cups in 2014, a year-on-year increase of 3.8 percent.

Steadily growing demand has led to a big jump in imports of coffee beans. Customs reported Friday that 120,000 tons of beans were imported last year, a 4 percent increase from the previous year.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]

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