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

Customers drop quarters into the orange newspaper box outside and bring the paper in to read it in between sips of coffee and bites of cream sticks. Jordyn Grzelewski,, "What comes next? End of Vindicator’s 150-year run adds to uncertainty in Youngstown," 1 Sep. 2019 As if by magic, the next day Jean shows up at her café, orders coffee and makes small talk. Boyd Van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Madre': Film Review | Venice 2019," 30 Aug. 2019 Starbucks lovers in a limited number of U.S. cities can also get deliveries of coffee and frappuccinos from Uber Eats. Sarah Min, CBS News, "McDonald's will expand food delivery nationwide," 28 Aug. 2019 The article warns that drinks with names that include the terms cafe, caffe, mocha, latte or espresso or that end in -ccino usually have coffee in them. USA TODAY, "‘Stranger’ tourists, Phish and the plague, kinkajou attack: News from around our 50 states," 22 Aug. 2019 The restaurant sells sweet and savory pies, coffee and ice cream. Daily Pilot, "Biz News: New pie shop will ‘Pop’ up in Costa Mesa in September," 21 Aug. 2019 One overenthusiastic sip of coffee and your entire outfit ends up in the trash. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Billie Eilish Just Had the Most Hilarious Wardrobe Malfunction," 20 Aug. 2019 Photographic evidence of the relationship emerges as the paparazzi finally catch Swift and Alwyn together—having coffee on a balcony in Nashville. Glamour, "Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn’s Relationship: A Complete Timeline," 16 Aug. 2019 There's also a VIP option for $40 available complete with complimentary coffee and beignets from Café du Monde and a Bulleit Bourbon Cocktail and Abita Beer Happy Hour. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "The 4th Annual Beignet Fest Returns to New Orleans This October 5th," 15 Aug. 2019

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 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

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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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