What is the origin of the word coffee?

In this text, we will answer the query “What is the origin of the word coffee?”. Also, we will discuss the changes in the word coffee and the history of the coffee drink. In addition, we will explain the trajectory of the special coffee.

What is the origin of the word coffee?

The origin of the word coffee is Arabic, when the coffee fruit was called QUAHWAH, whose meaning It means strength and vigor.  

Later the Turks and other Orientals passed to pronounce CABEUH, whose word was adapted to French without too much inspiration of the HH, and this word gave rise to the word CAFÉ in Portuguese, French, Italian and Spanish; COFFEE in English; KAFFE in German; KAVE in Hungarian; KOHI in Japanese and KIAFEY in Chinese.

In 1598, among the words related to coffee, the world version was adopted in the United States, through the Dutch expression “koffie”. It was then that the word came to be used by Americans. However, the complete acceptance of “coffee” occurred two years after the implementation of the vocabulary.

It took Pope Clement VIII, in 1600, to release Catholics to enjoy the pleasures of drinking. The reason for the pope’s “blessing” occurred because coffee was considered a “sacred drug” at that time. From then on, drinking coffee gained status in Europe, and the first coffee shop opened in Venice in 1645.

Since then, for many people, it has become impossible to think about starting the day without the toast of a coffee. Currently, the drink is one of the most popular in the world, second only to water. 

In Brazil, the largest producer in the world, consumption is intense. In fact, Brazilians endorse the number of cups served on the planet, as they are the second largest consumer in the world.

What are the waves of coffee consumption?

The waves of coffee consumption are the first, second, third and fourth waves. In recent years, many Brazilians have changed their consumption profile and started to prioritize quality. This movement is known in the specialty coffee world as “Fourth Wave”. 

The proposal consists of observing the movement in favor of coffee by “waves”, the first being related to the discovery of the drink linked to energy, during the Second World War.

Then came the Second Wave, in which important brands boosted the consumption of higher quality coffee, with espresso coffee. Then came the Third Wave, in which the process of experiencing experiences became a priority. Today, with the Fourth Wave, the process aims at democratization and consumption simplicity.

Since the origin of coffee, the drink has been used as a form of energy and even as a ritual guide, even because the meaning of the word coffee already shows this since its creation.

What is the history of coffee?

The history of coffee starts in 575 BC in the Ethiopian mountains of Africa. A sheep herder named Kaldi decided to go out with the animals through the mountains of the Kaffa region of Ethiopia. The place was beautiful and the goats decided to explore all that space.

Then, Kaldi watched that animation and discovered that the goats had eaten berries in the forest. So he cut off the branch and took the fruit to a respected priest in the area named Wise. The priest was curious and decided to cook the berries full of broth.

The perfume rose and invaded the village. In this way, it was discovered that roasting the seeds over a fire could generate a stimulating infusion. In the village in Kaffa, they decided to name the find “bunna” (which, in Ethiopian dialect, means coffee). With that, after enjoying the drink, the priests transcribed the Bible and spent the night in prayer.

However, regarding the spelling in the popular format we know today, the word coffee comes from Arabic. Although the place is not the space for the discovery of beans, the region was the world cradle of coffee trading, through the port of Yemen.

Thus, as Muslims do not drink wine or alcoholic beverages, coffee became the official drink of that people. Called “qahwa”, coffee became the true Arabic wine until the Turks revitalized the name based on the mother tongue. Thus, the drink became “kahve” – which, by the way, sounds very similar to today’s.

What are the roots of specialty coffee?

The roots of specialty coffee are the grape qualities. Today there is a so-called “coffee winemaking”. The idea is to show how the world of coffee is made up of paths similar to the world of wine. Of course, winery producers have thousands of years ahead of specialty coffee producers, but the analogies make sense.

To give you an idea, the qualities of grapes such as Carmenère, Syrah, Malbec, Merlot, among others, will confer drinks with distinct sensory experiences. It is the same with the varieties of Arabica beans (Catuaí, Mundo Novo, Geisha, Bourbon, for example), which will deliver different types of coffee.


In this text, we answered the query “What is the origin of the word coffee?”. Also, we discussed the changes in the word coffee and the history of the coffee drink. In addition, we explained the trajectory of the special coffee.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.