Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ask a Korean! News: Coffee in Korea -- Some Statistics

There is an interesting new set of statistics about Korea's fervor for coffee, which was discussed in a recent post on this blog. Basically, the Korean's observation that gourmet coffee exploded in the last five years was correct. Between 2006 and 2011, the number of gourmet coffee shops increased nearly 10 times, and the revenue of gourmet coffee shops increased nearly 17 times.

There has been a 15% increase in the total consumption of coffee between 2006 and 2011 such that by 2011, every Korean over 15 years of age drank 1.4 cups of coffee every day. Although the vast majority of coffee consumption still comes in the form of instant coffee mix, between 2006 and 2011 the consumption of coffee beans increased by 19.2% every year.

Most importantly (for the purpose of showing the spread of high-end coffee,) the increase of high-end coffee consumption is coming from outside of Seoul. In the five largest cities in Korea after Seoul, the number of gourmet coffee shops increased by 24.1%, and their revenues by 96.8%. The same numbers for Seoul is 2.3% and 45.2%. Even within Seoul, the increase is not coming from the posh parts of the city, but from the grungier neighborhoods like Dobong-gu and Gangbuk-gu.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at


  1. Humbly begging your pardon, the first sentence should read "There ARE interesting new sets..."

    Curious Whitey is a stickler for grammar as well.

    1. Just out of spite, now it reads: "There IS AN interesting new SET..."

      Just kidding (about the spite part.) Grammar and spelling corrections are always welcome. Thanks!

    2. Just because...

      Generally expletive sentences should be avoided in professional-esque writing - a category into which TK's writing certainly fits. Thus, something along the lines of:

      "New statistics concerning Korea's coffee fever have recently been publish..."

      Or the like.

      But yeah, 1.4 cups... that's nearly unbelievable.

  2. Coffee shops in Korea have a tasty offer, but they are too expensive.

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  4. I'm a proud coffee hater, and it's gotten me into trouble on the odd day that a Korean buys me a coffee without asking, only to be met with a stern rejection. If I'm dying for some energy I'll go find a product packed with B vitamins that will have a greater effect for a lower cost. Even those occasions are rare for me. The majority of energy drinks are just as bad.


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