SEOUL, South Korea – Instant coffee mix was found to be the most popular ‘tea’ beverage for overseas tourists visiting Korea. Coffee mix is an instant coffee product containing ingredients such as ground coffee beans, sugar and creamer, and it comes in single serving packages for quick preparation.
Of 926 surveyed tourists, 53 percent (491) chose coffee mix as the most tasteful “Korean tea”, according to an August-September survey by Cosmo. Jin Tour, a local tourist agency.
“Korean coffee mix tends to taste better the more you drink,” said a French tourist who took part in the survey. “And it’s very convenient that you don’t have to put any additional milk or sugar – all you need to do is open the package and mix it in hot water.”
Another tourist from the U.S. said, “they come at a cheap price and in large quantities, so it’s the perfect souvenir for friends and family back home, and I bought several products with some of my favorite Korean actresses (advertising) on the cover.”
Following instant coffee mix were sikhye (26 percent, 241), a traditional sweet rice beverage, green plum tea or maesilcha (11 percent, 102), alday tea, or yulmucha (6 percent, 55), and sujeonggwa (4 percent, 37), a traditional fruit punch.
“Although coffee mix is a common product to Koreans, representing our culture that pursues everything as quickly as possible, foreigners seem to find the idea and taste new and refreshing,” said Cosmo. Jin CEO Jung Myung-jin. “Anything that we find ordinary can be a different kind of experience for overseas tourists.”
Total production of coffee mix was 260,000 tons in 2013, accounting for 39.2 percent of all coffee production. The market, however, has been on a steady decline since 2012, with domestic consumers seeking more diverse coffee products. The market for coffee mix was valued at 1.08 trillion won ($971 million) in 2015.