Kentucky Coffeetree ‘Espresso-JFS’ ESPRESSO

Arbor walk #7

This tree is an improved “seedless” variety of the straight species. It is native to Missouri and the midwest. Early settlers of Kentucky used the tree’s seeds as a coffee substitute, hence its common name.

Name Kentucky Coffeetree ‘Espresso-JFS’
Latin Name Gymnocladus diocus ‘Espresso-JFS’
Type Native, Cultivar, Shade
Diameter 3″ caliper 
Color of Leaf Dark green, yellow fall color
Shape of Leaf Alternate doubly compound: 1′ to 3′ long with 5 to 9 pairs of leaf branches
Color of Flower Greenish white
Shape of Flower

Male Flower—Clusters 3″ to 4″ long.

Female Flower—Clusters 10″ to 12″ long.

Male & female flowers appear on separate trees.

Shape of Bark Brown, gray & scaly

While it is true the early settlers used the seeds of this tree for coffee, it is important to note that eaten raw, the seeds are poisonous. Other than their seeds, one of this tree’s most intriguing features are its doubly compound leaves. While it may at first glance seem that this tree has many small individual leaves, these are actually leaflets. When looking at where the bud of the leaf is, everything above the bud is a part of the one leaf. Unfortunately, although these trees are common, their population is declining due to over harvesting.

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