Females are Japan’s main coffee consumers and many have learned about the variety of fresh coffee from their experience with Starbucks. Indeed, the desire to repeat the ‘real’ coffee experience at home has helped boost retail sales of coffee and coffee accessories over the past few years, with the trend expected to continue.
The concept worked so far and in February 2006 De'Longhi in cooperation with Shinsei Bank opened up yet another totally new concept store by combining the coffee experience with integrated online banking terminals.
The growing number of speciality coffee retail outlets also helped spur this growth. Fresh ground coffee saw the fastest growth (around 4%) in both volume and value terms in the coffee market during the period 1997-2002. It is evident that a more sophisticated consumer base of coffee drinkers is currently migrating from instant coffee to fresh ground coffee. They wish to emulate in the home what they are served in chained coffee shops.
Fresh ground coffee brands have proved popular, as they provide a high quality cup of coffee without the need for a grinder in the home, given that most Japanese live in small-sized accommodation. Fresh ground coffee would appear to have struck the optimum balance between authenticity and flavour against ease of preparation.
Another very famous type is canned liquid coffee which is already brewed and ready to drink. It is available in supermarkets, convenience stores and vending machines. The latter one offering heated cans in the autumn and winter, and cold cans in the warm months. There are numerous types of canned coffee. Very common is milk coffee, which includes milk and is generally quite sweet. Black coffee is also popular, as are low sugar and cafe au lait, Georgia has offered American-style flavoured coffees such as hazelnut, but those are rarely seen, suggesting that Japanese coffee drinkers are more keen on traditional tastes.