Espresso™ Kentucky Coffeetree

espresso kentucky coffeetree gymnocladus dioica ftimg

Espresso™ Kentucky Coffeetree

Gymnocladus dioica ‘Espresso’

Description & Overview

The Espresso Kentucky Coffeetree is a grafted male selection. Essentially, it’s your typical Kentucky Coffeetree, but there’s no seed pods. A coarse, upright branching habit in youth, this tree shines with age. Great for urban spaces!

Core Characteristics

Wisconsin Native: No – Variety of North American Native
Mature Height: 50 feet
Mature Spread: 35 feet
Growth Rate: Slow
Growth Form: Upright oval, coarse
Light Requirements: Full Sun
Site Requirements: Performs best in alkaline soils
Flower: Insignificant, white corymb (male only)
Bloom Period: June
Foliage: Blue-Green
Fall Color: Variable, Yellow with Red Petiole
Fruit Notes: Sterile (male)

Suggested Uses:

The Espresso Kentucky Coffeetree is an excellent street tree due to its high tolerance in tough spots. The long leaflets provide dappled shade which is good for turf (or other plantings) below. As it sheds its leaves early and has a coarse texture, Espresso Kentucky Coffeetree is well suited in locations where winter sun is desired, such as near solar panels.

espresso kentucky coffeetree gymnocladus dioica #25 container trees at johnson's nursery in menomonee falls

Salable #25 Container trees. Pictures taken late-August.

espresso kentucky coffeetree gymnocladus dioica leaves leaflets provide dappled shade

Amazing leaflets create perfect dappled shade.

Wildlife Value:

When flowering, the Espresso™ Kentucky Coffeetree will attract Bees, Swallowtails, and Hummingbirds. In southwest Wisconsin, you may encounter the larvae of the Bicolored Honeylocust Moth feeding on the tree’s leaves.

Maintenance Tips:

Due to its coarse structure and slow growth rate, you should not need to prune Espresso Kentucky Coffeetree as a youth.

We invite you to check out the Arborist For Hire lookup at the Wisconsin Arborist Association website to find an ISA Certified Arborist near you.

espresso kentucky coffeetree gymnocladus dioica
espresso kentucky coffeetree gymnocladus dioica


Espresso™ Kentucky Coffeetree has no known serious insect or disease issues. Some minor defoliation from insects is normal (as with most trees), but there are no ‘ornamental’ diseases that afflict this tree.

Leaf Lore:

The straight species of Kentucky Coffeetree produces seed pods with fruit, which are toxic if consumed raw. they can be roasted and brewed into a coffee substitute. However, ‘Espresso’ male selection and will not produce any seed pods.

The bark truly shines in winter. It’s uniquely textured bark is apparent even on young twigs. The cultivar has a more upright vase-shape than its parent plant.

A pure Kentucky Coffeetree (seed pods included) can be viewed at our nursery in Menomonee Falls. If you ever travel to Galena, Illinois, take a walk along the Galena River; on west bank, just north of Hwy 20 W, is a beautiful specimen with gorgeous form.

Companion Plants:

Espresso Kentucky Coffeetree is a great plant for tough sites, meaning you should select similarly durable plants as companions. Consider using Gro-Lo Sumac or Little Bluestem at its base.

espresso kentucky coffeetree gymnocladus dioica benchcard