Swedish etymology states that the word 'kaffe' comes from Arabic "قهوة" (coffee, its tree, its beans, a cup of coffee, a ceremony of serving coffee and bread)
I am always curious about where words come from or who came up with them. Unfortunately, for many words that exist, theories are all that researchers have especially when there are no historical documentation to support their origins and "coffee" is no exception. There are two etymologic theories that are plausible.
The first theory states that 'coffee' comes from the Arabic word 'qahwa' which can be traced back to the Arabic verb 'qahā' which means "absence of hunger", a characteristic of coffee. It can also be traced to the Arabic noun 'quwwa' which means "power, energy", another characteristic of coffee.
The second theory states that it arrives from the Ethiopian word 'caffa' or 'kaffa'. Kaffa, a southwest region in Ethiopia, is known as a land where coffee plants grow in the wild.
Somehow I think both theories are logical because after you drink coffee, you feel charged up and full up AND the fact is Ethiopia is the largest coffee producer in Africa. What do you think?
'Coffee' entered the English language in 1582 by way of the Dutch 'koffie' borrowed from the Ottoman Turkish word 'kahvē', which was borrowed from the Arabic word 'qahwa' which brings us back to Theory No. 1 where the credibility of its origin is in question. Seems like we're back to the Chicken-and-Egg dilemma. May I suggest we don't dwell too long about the origin of the word "coffee" and be glad that such a word exists, we are eternally grateful for this beverage.
Derived words & phrases
Here's a list of some common coffee words & phrases:
bryggkaffe - filtered coffee
kaffebryggare - device for brewing coffee
kaffemaskin - coffee machine
kaffekopp - coffee cup
kaffekanna - coffee pot
kaffemugg - coffee mug
kaffevarn - coffee grinder
kaffebröd - buns (usually consumed with coffee)
kaffekaka - coffee cake
kaffeblandning - coffee blend
morgonkaffe - morning coffee
kaffebryggning - brewing coffee
snabb kaffe / pulverkaffe - instant coffee
kaffe burk - coffee can
kaffebjudning - coffee invitation
kaffeautomat - coffee vending machine
kaffebar - coffee bar
kaffebricka - coffee tray; a tray filled with coffee, cups and cookies
kaffepaus - coffee break
kaffeböna - coffee bean
'Kaka' can mean cake, biscuit or cookie. It all depends on what type you are talking about.
Photo: AI-generated image from Wix.
Sockerkaka (sponge cake). Chokladkaka or Kladkaka (the sticky chocolate cake). Morotskaka (carrot cake). Riskaka (rice cake). Pepparkaka (gingerbread cookie). All sorts of kakor (plural for 'kaka').
en kaka - one cake or cookie or biscuit
två kakor - two cakes or cookies or biscuits
Another Swedish (cake) word is 'tårta'. You may ask the difference between 'kaka' and 'tårta' since they both mean 'cake'. 'Kaka' is used more commonly for small cakes. 'Tårta' is used for big cakes such as the prinsesstårta (left) or jordgubbstårta (right).
Photo: Personal archive
These two tårtor (plural for 'tårta') are the most celebrated cakes in Sweden. Prinsesstårta (princess cake) is served on birthdays while jordgubbstårta (strawberry cake) is the centrepiece of the table every summer. I love jordgubbstårta because the recipe calls for Swedish strawberry and Swedish strawberries are the best I've ever tasted.