With more people working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, consumption of instant coffee is perking up in Japan while that of pricey brews goes cold.
That, in turn, is driving up demand for robusta coffee beans, which are mainly used to make instant coffee. Sales of the higher-quality arabica beans favored by coffee shops have fallen. The trend has made Vietnam, the world’s biggest producer of robusta, Japan’s top supplier of coffee beans and relegated Brazil to second place.
London prices for Robusta coffee have surged to near 18-month highs, while arabica prices have been mostly weak.