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

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 Mel Brooks, in the early '50s, drinking coffee, as photographed by Carl Reiner. Mark Feeney,, 12 May 2022 Then there’s ascorbic acid to deliver a potent dose of vitamin C, which helps to brighten and firm, along with coffea canephora, a sub-sahara African coffee berry that wakes up skin. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 12 May 2022 Using a vinyl flooring sheet adhered to our expert's home flooring (pictured), dry debris and wet mess pickup tests were done using six different, pre-measured common food messes, including cereal (with and without milk), soda and coffee grounds. Jodhaira Rodriguez, Good Housekeeping, 12 May 2022 Dads on the go can’t forget the essentials: keys, wallet, and coffee. Kylee Mcguigan, Popular Mechanics, 12 May 2022 If caffeine is an essential part of his mornings, arrange a basket with his favorite coffee blends, then add some dark chocolate, a new mug, or biscotti for a special touch. Erin Cavoto, Country Living, 12 May 2022 Brew and Sip Coffee Bar offers a variety of coffee options and flavors. Ben Tobin, The Courier-Journal, 11 May 2022 Olivia and Jacob Are First Seen Out with Friends Jacob and Olivia grab coffee together in Los Angeles. Leah Campano, Seventeen, 11 May 2022 Workers at two Starbucks stores in Santa Cruz have unionized, becoming the first stores in California to join the ballooning ranks of the coffee giant’s organized baristas and shift supervisors. Suhauna Hussainstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2022 See More

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.

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 2022

Cite this Entry

“Coffee.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for coffee


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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