Summer is quickly upon us! We wanted to take some time to highlight, David, our stoic and compassionate program employee (who also happens to be WICKED smart). He has been with Purple Door Coffee since the middle of October. David took some time to sit down with us and answer questions about himself. His answers were genuine. We are thankful to have him on our team.
David during espresso training at Corvus
How old are you and how did you become interested in working at Purple Door Coffee?
I am 26, just tuned 26 on April 20th! I became interested in working at Purple Door because a good friend of mine, his name is Kevin, he was working in the program at the time. He essentially invited me to apply. I know some of Dry Bones, so I was mainly a word of mouth thing. At the time, coffee wasn’t necessarily on my radar. You know, when opportunity knocks— you answer. Purple Door interviewed me they seemed like really nice people. They seemed like they were honestly trying to help. So, I went for it.
What sort of things might people not initially realize about you?
Sometimes I don’t think people realize that I can be expressive about my feelings and who I am. I can be sensitive. Especially when I was on the streets, it was sometimes hard for me to show all my emotions. Sometimes people get a little a muddled to how I am actually feeling. One of the things that made life difficult from before was that I didn’t know how to express it or share it with people. Purple Door has helped me do that. If people around me are kind, I feel safe enough to talk to them. I don’t have to hide my true self. So, I am is coming out more.
Tell me more about the real you.
The real me is somebody who does not always have to present an image to the world. When you are homeless presenting a face is one of the most important things you can do. You don’t want people to sense weakness. When you are homeless, you want to look strong at all times. But nobody is a rock. So you get in this rut where you cannot lose the mask in company because it is so much easier to protect the the deeper part of yourself from the outside stimuli. You aren’t sure how they are going to respond or what they are going to do. So being able to allow how and what I am feeling to be there and be wholly honest about it is wonderful. It is liberating.
David was excited to open the shop on a beautiful Denver Friday morning
Wow, thank you so much for sharing that. Are you originally from Denver?
Well originally I am from Thornton. Denver, I moved to when I was 19 years old. I spent seven years here and six of those where on the street.
Can you share a favorite memory from your time at Purple Door so far?
So when I was going through the harder time of trying to figure out where to live my manager, Madison Chandler, came to me and said that if I needed to share anything with her that I could. She said that she may be my boss but that she also was my friend. That was mind blowing to me because up until then bosses had always been the enemy. They are the people who look for the things you do wrong but she actually cared.
Another memory that is my favorite is when I pulled my first successful shot of espresso. I realized that I was actually going to be able to do my barista job. I said, YES! It is possible to do this.
How long did it take you to dial in for the first time after espresso training?
About three days! My first day was just rugged frustration with that machine.
If you could name our espresso machine, what would you name it?
Probably Old Faithful because it does its job consistently day in and day out.
What is your favorite drink to make?
Any latte. Because I like to draw. Trying to draw is always a good time for me.
Oh really, what is your favorite thing to pour?
Well really I can only consistently pour a heart. It has to be the heart. I get excited when I draw a really great heart. I look at it and say, wow I did that!!
“WOW! I did that!”
What drink would you recommend to others to try?
A vanilla latte. Caramel is too much and chocolate is too heavy. Sipping on a vanilla latte is where it is at.
Who is someone you look up to and why?
There is man who is referred to as the Chinese Schindler (who during WWII saved thousands of Jews). Not a lot of people know he existed. He made the call to do a good thing. That is really cool to me. I aspire to do the right thing even when it doesn’t benefit you.
Where are your top three (T3) favorite places to eat in Denver?
- Shangri-La in Littleton
- Sam’s no. 3 in Glendale
For the remaining Saturdays in June, David will be taking over Purple Door Coffee Instagram account to share pictures and a few thoughts on his favorite places in the city. Be sure to follow us at @purpledoorcoffee and look for the #purpledoorstories hashtag!