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

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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

The menu includes coffee drinks such as espresso and frappes and smoothies. Jennie Key,, "Lots of options: West Siders have eat-out options and more are coming," 13 July 2018 Tomorrow, the chain will introduce not one but two new cold coffee drinks to permanent menus nationwide. Olivia Harrison,, "Starbucks Is Adding Two New Drinks To Its Permanent Menu Tomorrow," 9 July 2018 The restaurant’s menu includes sandwiches for breakfast and lunch, baked goods and coffee drinks like themed lattes. Anna Muckerman,, "BAMF Cafe in Station North to close this month," 2 July 2018 There's also a pretty impressive non-alcholic beverage menu featuring fizzes, juices, sodas, coffee drinks and more. Robert Philpot, star-telegram, "A Punch Bowl is going to go where a West 7th-area wine bar used to be," 14 June 2018 One popular item shipped by Singapore to North Korea was the canned coffee drink Pokka, Mr. See said. Richard C. Paddock, New York Times, "Tightly Guarded, Singapore Battens Down for a Summit Meeting," 8 June 2018 One popular item shipped by Singapore to North Korea was the canned coffee drink Pokka, See said. Richard C. Paddock,, "Tightly guarded, Singapore battens down for Korea talks," 8 June 2018 Shiru allows patrons one free cup of coffee or tea every two hours. Graham Ambrose,, "Free coffee — with a catch — is coming to Massachusetts," 14 July 2018 This coffee and donut chain is giving away their new donut fries made from croissant dough tossed in cinnamon sugar for free to the first 100 guests between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in 25 of their restaurants nationwide., "How to Get Free McDonald's Fries and More Deals on Friday for National French Fry Day," 13 July 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.

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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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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

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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).


the setting in which something occurs

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