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Q: Cartagena Coffee Concoction. ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Cartagena Coffee Concoction.
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: sojourn-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 21 Apr 2004 14:08 PDT
Expires: 21 May 2004 14:08 PDT
Question ID: 333956
What is the proper spelling of a coffee concoction served in Cartagena
Spain that was invented by a con man some time ago as an elixir cure
for yellow fever?  It is pronounced occ-sea-ott-ico.  It includes
coffee, cinnamon and alcohol (rum?).
Subject: Re: Cartagena Coffee Concoction.
Answered By: journalist-ga on 21 Apr 2004 18:43 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Greetings Sojourn:

What a challenging quest!  I first uncovered the coffee macchiato, the
surname Occhiato and I found a reference to xocolata at - the latter,
however, is a pastry.  I also found the term xocolati (chocolate).

Then, I ran across this "legend" that seemed sort of like the story you described:
"I also show evidence to discredit certain embelishments to the tale
of the cure of a Spanish noblewoman, miraculouly saved from malaria
thanks to the timely discovery of this plant, a legend that lacks a
factual base notwithstanding the circumstance that Chinchon, the
lady's family name, became immortalized as "Cinchona" by Linnaeus, who
created thus the botanical genus to which this remarkable plant was
"Sebastiano Bado 1663: "He refers that this tree is native from
America; and he says it is born in the Kingdom of Quito, although not
everywhere but in a particular place, called by the Indians in their
tongue Loxa, or Loja, that is, located some 60 leagues from the City
named Quito, which is the main metropolis of that Kingdom or Province,
and from which the region derives its name."
The site also states "genera Cinchona, the bark of which yields
quinine, an antimalaria drug"

This is in reference to the Cinchona plant (named after the lady of legend above):
"Next, I looked up cinchona in the botanical journals. I discovered it
was a member of the Rubiaceae (madder) family and a close cousin of
coffee. Like coffee, it preferred hot, moist climates and thrived on
rich organic soils and well-drained slopes, such as are found on the
sheer sides of volcanoes. Like coffee, it also often took the form of
a shrub or small tree with ovate leaves and fragrant white flowers."

And more about the false legend:
"An even bigger mistake came to light in 1930, when the official diary
of the Count of Chinchón was discovered...For example, the diary
states that Ana de Osorio, the first Countess of Chinchón, died in
Spain at least three years before Philip IV appointed the count
viceroy of Peru. The second countess, Francisca Henríquez de Ribera,
accompanied her husband to South America. And while Doña Francisca
continued to enjoy excellent health, the count had several episodes of
fever, none of which was treated with bark."

But it turned out to be none of those...

After a few hours, I finally broke down and called my friend, Heather,
who is a Federal court interpreter in Spanish and Catalan.  She became
extremely fluent having lived in Catalonia and Spain for many years.

She suggested that it might be a variation of the drink crenada or an
alcohol called aguardiente (fire water) in coffee, and she offered to
search your keywords in a Spanish search engine.  While I was waiting
for her to call me back, my colleague, Pink Freud, sent me an email
correctly identifying the word.

It's "asiatico" --  Spanish for "Asian."  As in "Asian cure" for yellow fever?  

I then searched 
asiatico Cartagena Spain
and discovered the following:
"The wines and Sherries of Spain can be sampled with your meal or at
one of the many bodegas. And the perfect end to a meal or the day an
Asiatico, coffee with condensed milk, cognac and cinnamon."

So, there it is.  It was cognac in your coffee and thanks to my
colleague, Pinkfreud (and my friend, Heather, whom I now have to call
and stay "Stop searching!"), you finally have you answer.  I also
thank the Creature Comforts site for publishing that particular

AND I thank you for your patience while I played Nancy Drew.  :)

Best regards,


"Cartagena, Spain" drinks coffee
"Cartagena, Spain" malaria
"Cartagena, Spain" "yellow fever"
"Sebastiano Bado"
cinchona drink
cinchona drink coffee Spain
cinchona drink coffee Cartagena
asiatico Cartagena Spain

Google Translate at for the
Spanish-to-English translation of asiatico

Clarification of Answer by journalist-ga on 21 Apr 2004 18:47 PDT
ADDENDUM: Just spoke with Heather and she also discovered the term and
pronounces it ahs-she-ah-the-ko.

Best regards,

Clarification of Answer by journalist-ga on 21 Apr 2004 19:09 PDT
Okay, this is under my skin now.  lol  Since you must have enjoyed
this coffee, I began wondering if other coffee drink names would pop
up if I searched the ingredients list.  So I searched
coffee condensed milk cognac cinnamon
and I found one that may be tasty:

Cafe Champs Flysees 
1 oz Cognac
1 cup brewed Chocolate Almond
Whipped cream or Condensed milk
[add cinnamon to taste]
Combine the cognac, condensed milk and coffee. Pour over cracked ice.
Top with whipped cream. Serves 1
[brackets mine]

Best regards,
sojourn-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Wonderfully researched!  My compliments.

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