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Coffee Etymology

According to Peter Baskerville a educational writer at Southbank Institute of Technology in Brisbane Australia, Coffee Etymology 

The coffee plant was first written about by the Arabian physician Rhazes. ‘Qahwah’ is the Arabic term for the coffee drink, and while scholars disagree on the exact link that led to the English word “coffee”, there is no doubt that it was an Arabic word with some connection to ‘Qahwah’. The term coffee found its way into European languages in about the 1600′s, most probably from the Italian term “caffe” which was derived from the Turkish pronunciation “kahveh” of the Arabic ‘qahwah’. Qahwa/Al-Qahwa was a Yemen term used in the 14th century which was commonly applied to the beverage made by boiling the fruit of the coffea arabica plant. Prior to coffee consumption the word “qahwa” was in common use and denoted the idea of making something repugnant or lessening one’s desire for something. Some medieval Arab lexicographers also gave “qahwa” the meaning of wine or dark stuff.

First reference to "coffee" in the English Language is in the form chaoua and dates to 1598. In English and other European languages, coffee derives from the Ottoman Turkish kahve, via the Italian caffè. The Turkish word in turn was borrowed from the Arabic: قهوة‎, qahwah. Arab lexicographers maintain that qahwah originally referred to a type of wine, and gave its etymology, in turn, to the verb قها qaha, signifying "to have no appetite", since this beverage was thought to dull one's hunger.

Several alternative etymologies exist that hold that the Arab form may disguise a loanword from an Ethiopian or African source, suggesting Kaffa, the highland in southwestern Ethiopia as one, since the plant is indigenous to that area. However, the term used in that region for the berry and plant is bunn, the native name in Shoa being būn.

References :

Simpson, JA; Weiner, ESC, eds. (1989). "Coffee". Oxford English Dictionary. 3. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 438. ISBN 0-19-861186-2.

Weinberg, Bennett Alan; Bealer, Bonnie K (2001). The world of caffeine : the science and culture of the world's most popular drug. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-92722-6.

William H. Ukers “All About Coffee” ISBN: 1578986303

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