Coffee is a major source of caffeine, which has been shown to acutely reduce sensitivity to insulin, but also has potentially beneficial effects. We prospectively investigated the association between coffee consumption and risk of clinical type 2 diabetes in a population-based cohort of 17111 Dutch men and women aged 30-60 years. During 125774 person years of follow-up, 306 new cases of type 2 diabetes were reported. After adjustment for potential confounders, individuals who drank at least seven cups of coffee a day were 0.50 (95% CI 0.35-0.72, p=0.0002) times as likely as those who drank two cups or fewer a day to develop type 2 diabetes. Coffee consumption was associated with a substantially lower risk of clinical type 2 diabetes.