Categories: Coffee cademy Home Brewing

Why is Coffee Called Java?

Coffee has many names. Some, such as “espresso,” and “drip” refer to how coffee is made. Others, such as “mocha” and “cappuccino,” refer to a specific beverage made with coffee. Still others refer to coffee’s origins and history. “Java” falls into this third category.

“Java” Comes from the Island of Java

During the 1600s, the Dutch introduced coffee to Southeast Asia. They brought coffee trees to places like Bali and Sumatra, where it’s still grown today. Another island they began planting coffee on was Java, and it’s from this island that the name “java” arose.

It’s not known specifically known how the term was first used. The Dutch were likely the first to use the name, and they may have used it to refer to single-origin coffee from Java. As the coffee trade grew, though, the term was adopted by more and more people throughout the world, and any specificity was lost. Today, “java” has become a generic term for coffee and no longer refers only to coffee from the Island of Java.

Coffee is Still Grown on Java

Coffee continues to be grown on Java today, and much of the island’s arabica production comes from estates that were originally built by the Dutch.

In the 1880s, coffee leaf rust decimated many of the trees on the island, and producers responded by substituting arabica lots with liberica and then robusta ones. Liberica and robusta coffees are both more resistant to leaf rust, but their traits aren’t nearly as desirable as arabica’s. Thus, the coffees produced by these trees are usually used in lower-quality, commercial-grade coffees, not in specialty-grade coffees.

Five plantations, however, still grow coffea arabica and have decent processing facilities. These plantations produce good coffee that meets the standards of specialty-grade coffee.

The higher-quality coffees that come from these plantations are often used in two distinctive ways:

  • They’re blended with coffees from Mocha, Yemen to create Mocha-Java blends.
  • Some plantations age their coffees for up to three years, which is known as “monsooning” it. This creates a less acidic and mellow coffee. It mimics the flavor profile of coffees that Europeans would have enjoyed in the 1600 and 1700s, when transporting coffee by ship from Java to Europe could take years.

“Java” Has a Legacy in Computer Programming

Java has never been a popular name for coffee, although it’s consistently been used and most coffee drinkers are familiar with the term. The name has, however, left an interesting legacy in the computer programming world:

  • In 1995, a programming language called Java was released and featured a steaming cup of coffee as its icon.
  • Javascript was also released in 1995, and it continues to be used some today.

Java may not be the most common name for coffee, but it stands alone as the only name that has inspired a computer programming language.

Tweet Us Your Names for Coffee

Do you call coffee “java,” or do you have a different name you like to use? Let us know by tweeting us your favorite name for coffee!


Scott is a professional writer for Driftaway Coffee. He worked as a barista for eight years, but today prefers to enjoy his beverages from the other side of the counter. When not drinking Driftaway Coffee, Scott usually has a mug of his own roasted coffee nearby.

Published by
Tags: Coffee Names java

Recent Posts

Brew Guide for the Kalita Wave Pourover Cone

  Kalita Wave Filter 30g of coffee 525g of water (filtered is best) Carafe or large mug Kitchen scale Timer…

4 months ago

The Complete Guide to Making Stovetop Coffee

Want to make amazing stove top espresso? Learn the tricks and tools you need to have with this ultimate brew…

5 months ago

How to make French press coffee

How to make French press coffee Jun 10, 2021 The French press has been extremely popular for almost a century…

6 months ago

It’s Blend Month!

Since starting Driftaway,  we've offered our main flavor profiles as single origin coffees, so that we can easily communicate the…

10 months ago

How fine is the grind? Medium-fine or medium-coarse?

For cold brew, it's best to use a medium-coarse grind - one that looks like kosher salt.When making cold brew,…

11 months ago

How to make French Press Cold Brew coffee

Making Cold Brew in a French Press Jun 10, 2021 If you're looking for an easy way to make cold…

11 months ago