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Back & Better Than Ever!

  • by Joshua Millman

The first coffee to get its own name.

Ocelot is a story of how embracing and remembering the past is key to both the present and the future. Like all businesses, bands, entities and humans, PH went through various phases and stages to get where it is today, and inevitably it’s the people that seem to help to define those key moments that serve as the chapters in our story. My roaster at the time was a great person and lover of music, and was hands down one of the best roasters I have ever known. He joined this company in the very beginning, and our shared love for music gave us the idea to develop coffees and the brand through our mutual love for music. Ocelot was born a little later, and admittedly I was going through some heavy stuff at the time. When life gave me lemons, it seems I made Ocelot instead of lemonade.

The song this coffee is named after has a similar story. Written by Phish lyricist Tom Marshall for Phish’s lead singer Trey Anastasio as he was finishing his drug court program and was largely shut off from those closest to him, “Ocelot” was an invitation for Trey to come back and begin making music with his friends again. The lyric “come out to play” seems perfectly poignant given it was a time that Trey needed the support and love of those closest to him, and he was also ready to receive that love and support after working through his own demons. Looking back, I realized I had a hard time accepting help from people, especially those closest to me, and my stress and personal stuff made life difficult for everyone around me. As I found my way, this friend and colleague wanted to realize that even in the face of darkness there is always light, and that roasting should serve as a foundational piece of joy that always needed to be a part of my life. This colleague wanted me to embrace roasting and most importantly have fun, and so naming the coffee Ocelot seemed fitting. The song is bouncy and airy, and oozes energy whenever it’s played. This coffee seems to have the same effect on those who drink it, and it’s balanced profile and vibrant personality allow people to lock into their own groove and enjoy every sip. It’s become a phan favorite since we introduced it, and it’s always one of my favorite coffees to share with those that love coffee as much as I do.

This specific coffee species of Ocelot comes to us from Finca Santa Elisa. It is located about 1,800 meters above sea level and happens to reside at the foot of the Volcan de Fuego, which has erupted as recently as the summer of 2018. But despite its precarious locale and potentially disruptive surroundings, Finca Santa Elisa has all the hallmarks of a coffee paradise. The 1,250-acre estate has its own wet mill, which allows for all aspects of the post-harvest process to be meticulously handled in one place. Multiple picks are made throughout harvest to ensure only ripe cherries make the grade, and everything is hand farmed and hand picked. The cherry is depulped, fermented for 18-24 hours and washed in canals to separate out less dense beans. The washed coffee is then dried on patios and raised beds, only to be finished in mechanical dryers to help reach a precise and stable moisture point for export. 

Ocelots are indigenous to central and south America, and many of them happen to call Guatemala home. Ocelots are nocturnal creatures, and are a cross between a house cat and a jaguar. Though not usually kept as pets, legendary artist Salvador Dali famously owned one, and I happen to be a huge fan of his work which only endears me to this fabulous feline more. Typically active during twilight and at night, ocelots tend to be solitary and territorial, but we encourage you to share your Ocelot with those you love. For us, Passion House was built to live at the intersection of where coffee and community meet, and we wouldn’t be here today without all of the people we’ve come across through the years and their willingness to share in the PH groove.  

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