SEOUL — South Korea's enthusiasm for coffee has led to its imports of the beverage surpassing the US$1 billion threshold for the second year in a row, as revealed by customs data on Sunday. The increasing trend underscores the growing popularity of coffee in the nation, with the Korea Customs Service reporting that the combined value of imported green and roasted coffee beans reached $1.11 billion in 2023, following a record $1.3 billion in the previous year.
According to Yonhap News Agency, South Korea imported 193,000 tons of coffee in 2023, a slight decrease from 205,000 tons in 2022. This decline follows a period of steady growth in coffee imports since 2018, reflecting a rising interest among Koreans in the beverage. The country's coffee import volume and value had been climbing steadily, from 158,000 tons worth $637.3 million in 2018 to its peak in 2022.
The 2023 data further revealed that Brazil was the largest source of South Korea's coffee imports last year, contributing more than 50,000 tons valued at $200 million, accounting for over one-fourth of the total imports. Vietnamese coffee ranked second in terms of volume with 40,000 tons, followed by imports from Colombia, Ethiopia, and Guatemala, highlighting the diverse sources of South Korea's coffee supply.