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, so there’s no need to worry about messy 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 tolerance of tough spots. It provides dappled shade which is good for turf 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.

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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, Espresso™ Kentucky Coffeetree should be pruned conservatively in 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


The Espresso™ Kentucky Coffeetree has no known serious insect or disease issues. Some minor defoliation from insects is normal, but there are no ‘ornamental’ diseases that afflict this plant.

Leaf Lore:

The seeds of Kentucky Coffeetree are toxic when raw, but can be roasted and brewed into a coffee substitute. The Espresso™ Kentucky Coffeetree, however, is male and won’t produce any seed pods.

The bark of the Espresso™ Kentucky Coffeetree 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:

The 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.