Richard Bradley’s A Short Historical Account of Coffee (1715) and The Virtue and Use of Coffee (1721)


  • Fernando E. Vega Sustainable Perennial Crops Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, MD, 20705, USA



Amsterdam, Botany, Coffea, James Douglas, James Petiver, Royal Society


Richard Bradley published A Short Historical Account of Coffee in 1715, an extremely rare book of which only three copies are known. A revised version of the book, entitled The Virtue and Use of Coffee, was published in 1721. Bradley’s 1714 trip to the Physic Garden in Amsterdam, where he examined two coffee trees, led to his two coffee books, whose similarities and differences, including the evolution of the two different coffee engravings, are discussed in detail. This article reveals insights into the milieu in which Bradley lived, his interactions with other members of the Royal Society, and the reasons why his 1715 book is so rare. The various introductions of coffee plants to England in the late 17th and early 18th century are discussed, as well as Bradley’s skirmish with James Douglas, who was critical of Bradley’s coffee work.


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How to Cite

E. Vega, F. . (2021). Richard Bradley’s A Short Historical Account of Coffee (1715) and The Virtue and Use of Coffee (1721). Biosis: Biological Systems, 2(3), 315–328.