Er, it was my understanding that sometimes words like “police” are different even in related Romance languages.
French: la police
Italian: la polizia
Spanish: la guardia
I would think that the common denominator is unique-ness. There is nothing quite like coffee, and so the word for it goes along with the item. Same thing for “passport”, which is virtually the same in French, Italian, and Spanish. It’s a different thing from “identity papers”.
And I think the reason that most of these kinds of words seem to be American can be easily chalked up to our Yankee propensity for novelty. We’ve done more coming up with new things for the last 100 years than probably anybody else on the planet, and so the word that we come up with to go with the new thing goes along with it.
Although it’s worthwhile to note that not all cultures simply accept the American word for a new thing. Icelandic coins its own words for things like “telephone” and “computer”. And the French have an official body specifically dedicated to keeping the French language pure, refusing to admit to official usage such terms as “le hot dog” and “le disco”. I wonder what’s French for “CD”.
And, um, I think “cognate” IS the word you’re looking for, Jorge. The M-W definition doesn’t make this clear. When I studied Spanish in school, “cognates” were the words that were the same in English and in Spanish. “telefono”, “gasolina”, “taxi”.