Russia is no longer a tea country, according to industry experts who say coffee drinking overtook tea for the first time last year.
Russians consumed 40,000 more metric tons of coffee than tea in 2019, according to data from the RusTeaCoffee association cited by the RBC news website Thursday.
They drank 180,000 tons of whole bean, ground, instant and coffee mixes compared with 140,000 tons of tea, excluding herbal infusions, RusTeaCoffee director Ramaz Chanturiya was quoted as saying.
Coffee drinking tipped the balance in 2019 after staying neck and neck with tea at 160,000 tons for two years straight, Chanturiya said.
“Over the past 10 years, coffee consumption has increased by 97%... The market growth for 2019 was almost 12%,” the state-run TASS news agency cited the association as saying.
Major retail chain Auchan confirmed that coffee led tea in sales last year, and supermarket chain Magnit said demand for coffee in monetary terms was double that of tea.
Federal customs data that tracks raw materials imports backs up RusTeaCoffee’s findings, showing that Russia imported 100,000 more metric tons of coffee, with the exception of instant brands, than tea last year.
Market research group GfK said coffee purchases topped tea for the past two years in the 20,000 Russian households it tracks.