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COFFEE, of late Years, is grown so much in request throughout England, Holland, and other Parts of Europe, that I need say little to recommend its History to the World: The general Use of it rather seems to command this Work, that by our having a more familiar Knowledge of it, we may relish it the better. And again, what yet prompts me further to this Undertaking, is the Opportunity I have at this time to present the World with a perfect Figure of the Tree that produces this celebrated Fruit; which is not done here by any random Guess, or according to the uncertain Report of others, but drawn by my own Hand from a growing Tree.
AND that I may observe some sort of Method in the Prosecution of my Discourse, I shall, in the first place, give my Reader the Names and Descriptions of it, from the several Authors who have mentioned it; and then I shall offer a more exact Account, from my own Knowledge, of the Plant, Flower, and Fruit, for the better understanding of the aforesaid Figure: after which, I shall set down the Time and Manner of its first Appearance in England, with its Virtues and Uses. To which I shall add some necessary Observations relating to the Original Place of its Growth, and Manner of Trading for it; and conclude with some Remarks I have made of its Culture in the Amsterdam Garden.
JACOB COTOVICUS, in his Travels to Jerusalem, Anno 1598. mentions the Coffee to have been at that time a Drink much in use amongst the Turks; and tells us, that some of the Arabians called it Cahua, and others Bunnu and Bunchi, but gives us no Description of the Plant. He is the first Author that I find to have mentioned this Liquor.
PROSPER ALPINUS, a Physician of Venice, in his Book of Egyptian Plants, makes mention of the Tree, and gives us an imperfect Cut of it: He tells us, that he first saw it in a Garden belonging to a Captain of the Janizaries at Grand Cairo, brought fromArabia Felix, and planted there as a great Rarity: It is, saith he, like the Euonymus or Prickle-Timber, but with Leaves thicker, harder, and greener. Of the Fruit (called Buna) the Turks and Arabs make a Decoction or Drink, which they use instead of Wine, and is called Coava.
PALUDAMUS, after him, mentions it by the Name of Choava; and Rauwolfius calls it Chaube; but neither of them do make any Remarks upon it, that are worthy to be communicated to my Reader; for these Authors writ near a hundred Years since, whenCoffee was little known to the Europeans.
SANDYS, in his Travels through the Turkish Empire, met with this Drink at Constantinople: He says, “It was sold in many publick Places there, which he calls Coffa-Houses, where the Turks sit chatting most of the Day, and sip of a Drink called Coffa, in little China Dishes, as hot as they can suffer it; black as Soot, and tasting not much unlike it.” He believes it to be that black Broth, which was in use amongst the Lacedemonians.