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Vietnam now Japan's top coffee supplier, fueled by COVID

Demand for robusta beans used in instant brew gets jolt from home drinkers

A coffee plantation in Vietnam, the largest producer of robust beans in the world: Japanese imports of robusta, mostly used in instant coffee products, are rising.

TOKYO -- 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.

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