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What is Coffee?

Coffee is a brewed beverage made from roasted coffee beans, the seeds of berries of certain flowering plants of the genus Coffea. The seeds are separated from the coffee fruit to obtain a stable raw product: unroasted green coffee. The seeds are then roasted, a process that turns them into a consumable product: roast coffee ground into fine particles that are typically steeped in hot water before being filtered out, creating a cup of coffee.


THE history of the word coffee presents several phonetic difficulties. The European languages ​​got the drink's name from the original Arabic qahwah, not directly, but through its Turkish form, kahveh, around 1600. This was not the name of the plant but of the drink made from its infusion, which was originally one of the names used for wine in Arabic.
Sir James Murray says in the New English Dictionary that some have suspected the word to be a foreign, perhaps African, word in disguise and thought it was connected to the name of Kaffa, a town in Shoa in south-western Abyssinia, alleged home place of the Coffee plant but there is no evidence of this and the name Qahwah is not given to the berry or plant called Bunn, the native name in Shoa is Būn.

Contributing to a symposium on the etymology of the word coffee in Notes and Queries, 1909, James Platt, Jr. said:

The Turkish form may have been written kahve since its final h was never sounded. Sir James Murray draws attention to the existence of two European types, one like the French coffee, Italian caffè, the other like the English coffee, Dutch coffee. He explains the vowel o in the second row as visually representing au, from the Turkish ahv. This does not seem to be supported by evidence, and the v is already represented by the ff, so Sir James assumes coffee to be kahv-ve, which is unlikely. The change from a to o is, in my opinion, better explained as an imperfect appreciation. The exact sound of ă in Arabic and other Oriental languages ​​is the abbreviation U, as in "cuff". That tone, so easy for us, is a big stumbling block for other nations. I judge that Dutch coffee and related forms are imperfect attempts to notate a vowel that the authors could not understand. It is clear that the French type is more correct. The Germans corrected their coffee, which they may have gotten from the Dutch, to affe. The Scandinavian languages ​​have adopted the French form. Many must be wondering how the hv of the original becomes so persistently ff in the European equivalents. Sir James Murray makes no attempt to solve this problem.

French, café; Breton, kafe;

German, kaffee (coffee tree, kaffeebaum);

Dutch, koffie (coffee tree, koffieboonen);

Danish, kaffe;

Finnish, kahvi;

Hungarian, kavé;

Bohemian, kava;

Polish, kawa;

Roumanian, cafea;

Croatian, kafa;

Servian, kava;

Russian, kophe;

Swedish, kaffe;

Spanish, café;

Basque, kaffia;

Italian, caffè;

Portuguese, café;

Latin (scientific), coffea;

Turkish, kahve;

Greek, kaféo;

Arabic, qahwah (coffee berry, bun);

Persian, qéhvé (coffee berry, bun);

Annamite, ca-phé;

Cambodian, kafé;

Dukni, bunbund;

Teluyan, kapri-vittulu;

Tamil, kapi-kottai or kopi;

Canareze, kapi-bija;

Chinese, kia-fey, teoutsé;

Japanese, kéhi;

Malayan, kawa, koppi;

Abyssinian, bonn;

Foulak, legal café;

Sousou, houri caff;

Marquesan, kapi;

Chinook, kaufee;

Volapuk, kaf; Esperanto, kafva.

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