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14 May, 2020 13:19

Last remnants of Soviet past disappearing as data shows Russians prefer coffee over tea

Last remnants of Soviet past disappearing as data shows Russians prefer coffee over tea

Russia may no longer be a tea country with coffee taking the leading position in the market, customs data and recent analyst estimates show.

According to customs data, Russia imported nearly 218,000 tons of coffee last year, while tea imports stood at around 150,000 tons. Coffee overtook tea shipments both by volume and value, as the imports were worth over $630 million – around 50 percent higher than tea imports. The trend continued this year, with Russia still buying much more coffee than tea.

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Industry experts also note that Russians are drinking more and more coffee beverages. In previous years customers in Russia used to consume equal amounts of tea and coffee, before coffee finally took the lead last year, according to the head of the Russian Association of Tea and Coffee Producers Ramaz Chanturiya. He told RBC business outlet that in 2019 alone, coffee lovers consumed over 180,000 tons of coffee drinks, while consumption of pure tea stood at 140,000 tons. 

The data presented by the association differs from customs figures as the former analyses the data based on final products, while customs calculates imports of raw goods.

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Meanwhile, another analysis shows that coffee was already more popular with Russians two years ago. According to market research company GfK, cited by RBC, Russian household purchases of coffee increased to 110,000 tons last year from around 104,000 tons in 2018, while tea purchases fell to 90,000 tons in 2019 from more than 92,000 tons in the previous year. 

Major grocery chains also confirm that coffee sales prevail over tea. According to one of Russia’s leading food retailers, Magnit, the demand for coffee (by value) was nearly twice as high as it was for tea.

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