What do you do?
Johnny Emerson

Where do you work and what is your title?
       I work at High Rise Coffee Roasters in Old Colorado City.
What do you do there and/or what are you responsible for?
       Everything besides the roasting! Primarily my role is customer service. I sell the coffee (either as whole beans or ground to people’s specifications) and deliver to our commercial accounts. I also help unload the coffee when it arrives and make the labels.
How long have you been doing this kind of work (total)? How long on the Westside?
       I'm relatively new to the coffee industry, but I have worked in the food and beverage, guest service and hospitality industry for over 15 years. I have been with High Rise since September last year.
What do you like best about it (other than quitting time)?
       The Westside residents, business owners and our customers – it feels like family. Along with the community and neighborhood, I have known the owners, Toby Anderson and his son Andrew, since I was 6 years old.
If you could change one thing (other than pay), what would it be?
       Honestly, I can't say I would change a thing, except that I wish more people knew how much of a flavor difference there is between commercial and fresh roasted coffee.
What part of your work did your training/education never prepare you for?
       Nothing in my education, working experiences or training could have prepared me for the world of gourmet coffee roasting. Bags of arabica beans come to us from places like Indonesia, Africa, South America and Central America, and we only keep beans for 10 days after we’ve roasted them.
What makes working on the Westside special?
       I am a fourth-generation Colorado Springs native, and the Westside still has the character of the city I grew up in. The Westside thrives on locally owned businesses, and the unique style and diversity of its residents are unlike any other place I have lived! Another reason I love coming to work every day!

“What do you do?” is a regular feature in the Westside Pioneer. If you know someone who has an interesting job on the Westside (but doesn’t live here), he/she might be a candidate for this column! If you know someone who might qualify, give us a call at 471-6776.