Many Ross Street Roasting fans are familiar with our whiskey barrel-aged Ethiopian coffee, The Stumbling Monkey. But just today we released what might be called a sibling coffee: The Howling Monkey - A tequila barrel-aged Nicaraguan coffee, using direct relationship coffee from our pals at Gold Mountain Coffee Growers in Nicaragua. New spirit, new barrel, new monkey. You might say we're starting 2020 with a howl and a swing through the trees.
Howling Monkeys (or Howler Monkeys) are native to Central America, including Nicaragua. As I was cooking up the plans for this new barrel-aged coffee, I was chatting on WhatsApp with the Founder/CEO of Gold Mountain Coffee Growers, Benjamin Weiner. It was Ben who originally made the suggestion to call this new coffee by the Spanish name for these animals: Mono Congo.
When he suggested this, it fired a connection to a memory from our first trip to Nicaragua in 2018. My wife, daughter, and I had come down together and spent a few days in the coffeelands with Ben and the Gold Mountain crew before heading down to the Pacific coast to the resort town of San Juan del Sur. We had rented a cabin north of the town in a gated community just a 1/2 mile walk to the beach. Trees covered the entire neighborhood.
Our first night at the cabin, my wife and I were woken up in the middle of the night by strange scuffling sounds on the roof of our cabin. We froze, lying in bed, staring up at the vaulted ceiling above us, feeling helpless and terrified. We had no idea what was going on. So we waited.
And the scuffling sounds just kept going and going and going.
After a few hours, the fear started to wear off but we were still just completely confused as to what was going on atop the roof of our cabin. So as dawn began to break, I finally had a chance to peek out the windows. It was too dark to tell, but I could barely see a number of black shapes shuffling through the trees above the cabin. Apparently whatever was up there was also crawling on the roof of the cabin.
Finally, the sun had risen enough to shed more light on the situation and the mystery was solved: There was a pack of black howler monkeys migrating from one spot to another through the night and into the morning, and apparently our cabin was on the monkey highway.
So...naturally, I went outside and tried to talk to them...
There you have it, folks: The origin story for our new seasonal release, The Howling Monkey. (Read The Stumbling Monkey's story here)