noun, often attributive
cof·​fee | \ˈkȯ-fē, ˈkä-\

Definition of coffee 

1a : a beverage made by percolation, infusion, or decoction from the roasted and ground seeds of a coffee plant

b : any of several Old World tropical plants (genus Coffea and especially C. arabica and C. canephora) of the madder family that are widely cultivated in warm regions for their seeds from which coffee is prepared

c : coffee seeds especially roasted and often ground — compare arabica, robusta

d : a dehydrated product made from brewed coffee instant coffee also : a beverage made from this

2 : a cup of coffee two coffees

Illustration of coffee

Illustration of coffee

coffee 1b

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

Coffee is made from the roasted and ground seeds, or beans, of the coffee plant, a tropical evergreen shrub. Two of the 25 or more species, Arabica and Robusta, supply most of the world's coffee. Arabica is grown in Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Indonesia; Robusta mainly in Africa. The shrub bears small white flowers with a jasmine-like fragrance. The fruit, which is red when mature, is called a cherry. The seed is called a bean. Coffee contains large amounts of caffeine, whose effects have always been an important element in the drink's popularity. Coffee-drinking dates from the 15th century in Arabia. It reached Europe by the 17th century and immediately became popular. Coffee is consumed by about one-third of the world's population.

Examples of coffee in a Sentence

I bought a pound of coffee.

Recent Examples on the Web

The Neighborhood: 310 at NuLu sits just a block off Market Street and a short walk from neighborhood hotspots like Garage Bar, Please & Thank You coffee house and Royals Hot Chicken. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, "Where you can live on a typical income around downtown Louisville," 9 July 2018 Sorry, coffee — Eva Longoria has found a much better way to start the day! Dave Quinn,, "Baby Bliss! Eva Longoria Enjoys 'Morning Cuddles' with Her Newborn 'Angel' Son Santiago," 6 July 2018 Owner Nikki Hudepohl says it's been a whirlwind to get the coffee house ready. Jennie Key,, "White Oak Coffee House: A new community gathering place," 6 July 2018 The research didn’t include whether participants drank coffee black or with cream and sugar. Lindsey Tanner, The Seattle Times, "Fresh grounds for coffee: Study shows it may boost longevity," 2 July 2018 Filters now include interactive video options, including a dancing hot dog and a coffee-drinking bitmoji. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Happy #SMDay! These are our favorite social-media innovations," 30 June 2018 Known for its cobalt-blue beak and wings, coffee-brown body and soulful round eyes, the tree-nesting flyer died off in the wild in the late 1980s, victimized by a species of invasive snakes. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "This Royally Adorable Baby Kingfisher Perpetuates a Species Extinct in the Wild," 1 June 2018 The plant was exported from Africa to coffee-producing countries. Otis R. Taylor Jr., San Francisco Chronicle, "Oakland coffee roaster brews inclusivity," 28 May 2018 Liberalism was black coffee in a white ceramic mug. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "Starbucks’ Homeless Problem," 23 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'coffee.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of coffee

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for coffee

Italian & Turkish; Italian caffè, from Turkish kahve, from Arabic qahwa

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for coffee



English Language Learners Definition of coffee

: a dark brown drink made from ground coffee beans and boiled water

: coffee beans


cof·​fee | \ˈkȯ-fē \

Kids Definition of coffee

1 : a drink made from the roasted and ground seeds ( coffee beans ) of a tropical plant

2 : the roasted seeds of the coffee plant when whole or ground

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on coffee

What made you want to look up coffee? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express warning or disapproval

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!