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

Today’s the day to turn that dumb coffee pot or lamp into a smart device. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "Automate your basic devices with two TP-Link smart plugs for $25," 23 Oct. 2018 The coffee is grown and brewed by local farmers in Chiapas. Laura Itzkowitz, Vogue, "Where 4 Female Architects and Designers Will Be Hanging Out During Design Week Mexico," 1 Oct. 2018 World Champions: The official coffee of the Philadelphia Eagles. Michael Bartiromo, Fox News, "Dunkin' Donuts apologizes for sending Eagles-themed cups to New England stores," 6 Sep. 2018 There are countless hues to choose from, too: A rich, warm mahogany hue might suit some people, while a cool-toned coffee or cedar-brown will be a better route for others. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "19 Beautiful Dark Brown Hair Colors to Inspire Your Next Dye Job," 11 Aug. 2018 Most include items appropriate to the vintage of each RV including coffee cans, Coleman stoves, kitchen utensils and games that Jack Sisemore collected. John Goodspeed, San Antonio Express-News, "RV museum chronicles Americans’ love of camping," 12 July 2018 Smucker already owns Folgers coffee, and is reportedly planning to give the brand a premium makeover. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "The Pillsbury Doughboy Will Soon Have a New Home," 10 July 2018 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

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

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to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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