An Historical Account of Coffee: with an Engraving, and Botanical Description of the Tree

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This tract, which first appeared in 1774, considers the characteristics, cultivation and uses of the coffee plant. Its author, John Ellis (c.1710-76), was a botanist and zoologist who from 1770 to 1776 served as a London agent for the government of Dominica. Published in order to promote the prosperity of the island, the work reflects the difficulties faced by the coffee growers. Ellis begins by describing the flower and fruit of the coffee plant. He then presents his historical survey, drawing on contemporaneous travel writing to illuminate coffee-related practices around the globe. The narrative takes in the plant's early uses in Arabia, its cultivation in the colonies, and the growth of coffee houses in Europe. This reissue also contains a 1770 work by Ellis which gives instructions on transporting plants overseas. Reissued elsewhere in this series is The Early History of Coffee Houses in England (1893).