noun, often attributive
cof·​fee | \ ˈkȯ-fē How to pronounce coffee (audio) , 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

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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 There was a Panera-like coffee and sandwich shop and a Shabu Kichoo restaurant running some sort of buy-one-get-one-free promotion. Theodore Ross, Harper's Magazine, "[Letter from Ho Chi Minh City]," 25 May 2020 In Serbia, at least, history has proven him wrong about the former — Serbs are still enthusiastic smokers and coffee drinkers—but decidedly right about alcohol. Sarah Souli, Travel + Leisure, "The Best European Wine Regions You've Never Heard Of," 25 May 2020 More than half of the nation’s 11 million people depend on coffee for their livelihood., "Burundi Walks Tightrope Between Virus and Violence With Vote," 24 May 2020 By the next morning the mail carrier had carted off the fireplace irons; someone else took the French coffee press. Gail Caldwell, New York Times, "Learning How to Love From Afar," 22 May 2020 Chinese coffee chain Luckin Coffee listed there in 2019 and then quickly ran into trouble. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "It’s too late for the US to get rid of Chinese stocks," 21 May 2020 As for us, we are engaged in our usual ritual of heating the coffee kettle to concoct cups of stimulation. Ed Silverman, STAT, "Pharmalittle: Trump’s Covid-19 vaccine chief has worrisome conflicts; U.S. provides $1.2 billion for AstraZeneca vaccine," 21 May 2020 Midnight Lager, an almost jet black brew with chocolate and coffee flavors, dropped in fall 2019. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "Stella Artois is launching a new beer for summer. And it's coming to metro Phoenix first," 20 May 2020 Drink a cup of coffee on the porch while the rest of your family sleeps. Outdoor Life, "Four affordable tents for groups," 18 May 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for coffee

Time Traveler

The first known use of coffee was in 1598

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Statistics for coffee

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Coffee.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for coffee


How to pronounce coffee (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of coffee

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


cof·​fee | \ ˈkȯ-fē How to pronounce coffee (audio) \

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on coffee

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with coffee

Spanish Central: Translation of coffee

Nglish: Translation of coffee for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of coffee for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about coffee

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