South Korea has become a key market in Far-East for Indian coffee exports.

“Indian coffee exports to South Korea have seen a five-fold jump in volume in the last three years,” Jawaid Akhtar, Coffee Board Chairman, told Business Line.

Exports to South Korea is expected to cross over 2,000 tonnes in crop year 2011-12 compared with 2,051 tonnes (in value terms Rs 33.87 crore) in 2010-11. In 2009-10, exports stood at 366.1 tonnes (Rs 3.51 crore).

Korea is a market for mild coffee and India fits well due to its geographical advantage compared to South American coffee-growing countries.

Also the success of Korean big business such as Hyundai, Samsung, LG and others brands in Indian market has added to the comfort level in doing business with Indian growers.

Aktar said: “Korea is a good follow-up country for us. Exports have been steadily going up. It rose sharply ever since we took part in ‘Seoul Cafe Show’ in Korea last year and this year.”

“We want to cultivate and build this emerging market. As a step towards achieving it, we have been taking exporters along with us to showcase our diverse coffees,” he said.

This year, three Indian exporters took part in the ‘Seoul Cafe Show’ as compared to five exporters last year.

Nishant Gurjer, KPA Chairman and managing partner of Kaapi Royale Coffee and the Sethuraman Estates, who took part at the ‘Seoul Cafe Show’ said: “Korea in terms of consumption has suddenly emerged as a big importer of coffees in the last five years.”

“Ever since I started exports to Korea, I am seeing home grown café chains like ‘Caffé Bene’, ‘Angles in Us Coffee’, ‘Hollys Coffee’ and ‘Paris Baguette’ expanding. In all they have over 1,000 stores,” he added.

South Korean coffee buyer is also well aware of coffee quality which he is buying as most of them are Q-certified tasters.

According to Gurjer, Indian coffee is also getting good prices as well. Indian coffees with quality cupping taste profile and certification has got good premium for they appreciate and have tasted good quality coffees.

(This article was published on December 10, 2012)
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