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Alternative forms[edit]


17th century, from French café, from Italian caffè, from Ottoman Turkish قهوه(kahve), from Arabic قَهْوة(qahwa). The variants with -o-, which fell into disuse around 1800, are from Dutch koffie and English coffee.


  • IPA(key): /ˈkafe/ (overall the most common variant)
  • IPA(key): /kaˈfeː/ (Austrian; occasionally elsewhere, but widely perceived as snobbish)
  • IPA(key): /ˈkafə/ (parts of northern and eastern Germany)
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • (file)
    IPA(key): [kʰaˈfeː‿ˈkʰafe]
  • (Austria)
  • Hyphenation: Kaf‧fee
  • Rhymes: -afe, -afə, -eː
  • Homophone: Café (only according to the Austrian pronunciation of Kaffee)


Kaffee m (strong, genitive Kaffees, plural Kaffees, diminutive Käffchen n or Kaffeechen n or Käfflein n or Kaffeelein n)

  1. coffee (beverage made by infusing coffee beans in hot water)
  2. (regional) afternoon coffee, afternoon tea, coffee and cake (afternoon meal in northern and central Germany, particularly on Sundays)
    Wir fahren am Sonntag zum Kaffee zur Oma.
    On Sunday, we go to Grandma's for coffee [and cake].

Usage notes[edit]

  • (beverage): As with most beverages in German, the plural Kaffees is only used to mean “several kinds of coffee”. Otherwise the singular form is used: Zwei Kaffee, bitte! – “Two coffees, please!”
  • (meal): The use for the afternoon meal is still applicable if one prefers other beverages, such as tea. It would not be all too extraordinary to say:
    Wir trinken meistens Tee zum Kaffee. (literally, “We usually have tea for coffee.”)



Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Kaffee” in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache
  • Kaffee” in Uni Leipzig: Wortschatz-Lexikon
  • Kaffee” in Duden online
  • Kaffee on the German Wikipedia.Wikipedia de