The Hyattsville Life & Times has started a new series called Humans of Hyattsville to help Hyattsville residents get to know their neighbors.
If you’re a coffee lover, then surely you’ve spied Franklin Ventura as he sweet talks “Big Red” from behind the roastery counter at Vigilante Coffee Company. Franklin lives in West Hyattsville near the duck pond. He plays the drums, loves meeting new people, and describes himself as a realist. Next time you need a caffeine fix, be sure to say “Hi!” to this happenin’ Human of Hyattsville.
After you’ve read about Franklin, email Lindsay Myers, our webmaster, at Lindsay@HyattsvilleLife.com to submit someone for our next Humans of Hyattsville profile.
Franklin Ventura, 34
What is your occupation?
Coffee roaster at your favorite coffee shop, Vigilante Coffee.
My title is head coffee roaster. I’m in charge of designing roast profiles for every coffee that comes in to our shop. No matter where the origin is — from Africa to Southeast Asia, Hawaii, Mexico, Central and South America. Every coffee that comes to our shop goes through testing in our lab at Vigilante Coffee, and once they are ready, I roast them in our Big Red (our production roast machine). I do quality control of each coffee and keep communications with our farmer partners in Spanish-speaking countries among many other things.
What does your family structure look like?
My family consists of two beautiful children: my ten-month-old, Lucio Xavier Ventura, and five-and-a-half-year-old, Zoe Helena Ventura. [It also consists of] my wife, Nicola Wood — the smartest, most loving, compassionate and caring person that I know and love.
How would you describe yourself?
This is a hard question for me. I can’t describe myself. I am too much of a realist.
I want to describe myself as a loving person, but sometimes I hate. Patient, but sometimes it’s hard to tolerate [others]. Compassionate, but sometimes I ignore the pain of others.
I see very much the positiveness in things and people, but also with a good amount of skepticism. So, I don’t know how to describe myself. Does that mean I don’t know myself?
Maybe, but who really knows themselves? (Sorry, I think this is just becoming a soliloquy.)
What causes, whether local or beyond, are you passionate about? What topic really gets you talking at a party?
Causes I am passionate about? I don’t have any in particular, I don’t have any activism in any area. But topics that gets me talking in a party? Depends on the party! I can go from talking about my favorite philosophers or systematic theology, to music or favorite books, to simply talking about coffee, craft beer or children.
How do you wish people saw you?
I wish people would see me as a friendly person. I enjoy conversations with complete strangers. It’s a little bit harder to talk to “known strangers” than complete strangers. If you want to know what do I mean by that, come talk to me. I am friendly.
Why did you decide to settle in Hyattsville?
I don’t like to live in crowded cities. I like to visit them and admire the infrastructure, but I prefer to live in an area where there aren’t too many buildings. I really like green [spaces], and Hyattsville has a lot of them. To me, Hyattsville is like the perfect city where I have everything I need within 20 minutes.
What are some of your favorite aspects of life in Hyattsville?
The family friendly community is my top first. Also, [there are so many] groups [and events] that enhance comradery: HY-Swap, Summer Jams, the Wine Crawl, Hop Hops and the Hyattsville parade.
Also, I work in the best coffee shop in Maryland, if not in the whole DMV area and the country (and I say that with pride.).
The city is also very diverse, and I really like that.
What do you wish Hyattsville did differently?
We need better lighting and street improvements, especially in West Hyattsville.
How do you like to relax, both digitally and in real life?
For me, it is hard to relax. I want to be doing things all the time. I’m a very fidgety person. I walk fast, and I go from one thing to the next. But I recently discovered that I really enjoy walking slow. I stop and look at a tree or something that catches my attention or sit at a random place on the street and watch the traffic of people passing by. Because I’m fidgety, I consciously have to stop and walk slowly — like almost counting my steps and taking deep breaths.
I also like to play drums and my guitar, though I don’t consider myself a musician.
Anything else you want us to know about you?
Again, I AM FRIENDLY! Talk to me! Invite me to your party. Also, I like my job. And don’t let me see you throwing trash out of your car’s window or littering in general.