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 Attendees may also be barred from serving their own coffee. Katie Langin, Science | AAAS, "‘Hybrid’ scientific conferences aim to offer the best of in-person and virtual meetings," 12 May 2021 To me, that means that walking to Brooklyn Bridge Park to see the sunset is friluftsliv, and heading out to the smaller park on my corner with my morning coffee is friluftsliv. Monica Mendal, Forbes, "This Author Wants You To Know That Wellness Isn't Something You Can Buy," 12 May 2021 Remember, the employees were not asking the boss to buy their coffee. Annie Lane, oregonlive, "Dear Annie: Wife worries husband is getting scammed when he engages with telemarketers," 5 May 2021 The 30-year-old underwent further tests in New York on Friday, ahead of the Tigers' series opener against the Yankees, and bumped into Hinch on the street while the skipper was picking up his morning coffee. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers get 'very positive' info about Matthew Boyd's knee injury," 30 Apr. 2021 The question, a friendly greeting to Betty Smith, the pastor’s wife, lingered in the air as the four church women sat down for their regular Tuesday coffee and conversation at Ingles Market. New York Times, "Faith, Freedom, Fear: Rural America’s Covid Vaccine Skeptics," 30 Apr. 2021 Stay-at-home orders disrupted people's regular commute to work, and many started drinking their morning coffee at home instead of buying it to-go. Cnn Business, CNN, "US stocks await news from the Fed for their next move," 28 Apr. 2021 With 24-ounce capacity, this portable French press is a fantastic, space-saving solution for all your coffee and tea needs. Laura Denby, Better Homes & Gardens, "9 Compact Kitchen Gadgets to Save Space and Elevate Your Cooking," 21 Apr. 2021 The Jenkins hope to expand to other locations and eventually roast their own coffee. Beth Thames |, al, "At Charlie Foster’s coffee shop, ‘nobody is going to judge us’," 21 Apr. 2021

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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Last Updated

15 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Coffee.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on coffee

Nglish: Translation of coffee for Spanish Speakers

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

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