Coffee consumption in South Korea continues its rapid growth, according to the Korean International Trade Association, who today reported coffee imports totaling $508 million for the first 10 months of 2011. By comparison, the total for all of 2010 was $307 million. A similarly bullish story was posted on Roaste a few days ago discussing the coffee market’s impact on Korean entertainment.

Those of us who were at the 2011 Seoul Cafe Show a few weeks ago will not be surprised by the news. Having witnessed thousands of attendees (most of whom looked to be under the age of 25) crowd the hallways of the event, I believe that the Korean coffee industry has a very bright future ahead.

SEOUL, Dec. 18 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s coffee imports topped the US$500-million mark this year, driven by the growing popularity of the drink among local consumers, a local trade association said Sunday.

South Korea imported coffees worth $508 million in the first 10 months of the year, already surpassing last year’s imports worth $307 million in total, according to the Korea International Trade Association (KITA). Increased coffee imports were attributed to more demand for diverse brands and high-end coffee products among Korean consumers. Growing popularity of instant coffee products also led to a spike in imports of coffee materials, the association said.

The country’s coffee imports topped the $300-million mark for the first time last year, after reaching the $100-million level in 2000.Coffee imports from Brazil reached $100 million in the January-October period, followed by Colombia with $91 million and Vietnam with $71 million, KITA said.