Staff Profile: El Strickland

Elcid “El” Strickland II joined Blueprint Coffee Delmar after working in human resources for a prominent bakery-café franchise. They have been with our team for two and a half years and currently serve as shift lead and manager at Delmar.

WHAT PROMPTED YOUR INTEREST IN COFFEE?

My interest in specialty coffee really took off after I started working at Blueprint, attended my first Seed to Cupping classes, and became more knowledgeable about how and where coffee originates. Prior to joining Blueprint, I worked in the human resources department at Panera Bread’s corporate office as a Talent Acquisition Representative.

WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILLS YOU HAVE LEARNED THROUGH YOUR CAREER & YOUR ROLE AT THE CAFÉ?

My role primarily entails working front of house as a barista and working back of house as a baker. Ever since I started working here, I’ve felt a very strong passion for baking and cooking for myself and others, and I’ve started to see this as a long-term career goal. I think about one day owning my own business and coming out with a family cookbook.

El Strickland making an espresso.
El Strickland pours milk into a coffee
El Strickland smiles while working at Blueprint Delmar

WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO COFFEE ORDER WHEN YOU VISIT ANOTHER CAFE?

My go-to coffee order is an americano or a side car. My favorite item on the Blueprint Delmar menu is the buttermilk biscuits with salted butter and jam.

IF YOU COULD ENJOY A CUP OF COFFEE WITH ANYONE IN THE WORLD, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

Angela Davis and Nikki Giovanni.

IS THERE A COMMON MISCONCEPTION ABOUT SPECIALTY COFFE, OR ANYTHING YOU WISH MORE CONSUMERS KNEW?

A common misconception about coffee I’d like to debunk is that it needs to be dark or that it needs cream and sugar.

Freshly cooked banana bread
El Strickland takes freshly baked banana bread out of the oven

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT THE BLUEPRINT DELMAR COMMUNITY?

The most rewarding thing about working at Blueprint Coffee is that I get to be my authentic self. I don’t feel pressure to code switch or hide my culture in order to assimilate or fit into the company’s standards. We are a diverse group of people. We all have different ethnicities, religions, gender expressions, sexual orientations, etc., which I usually do not see when I visit other specialty coffee cafés.

HOW DOES COFFEE IMPACT COMMUNITIES AND EVERYDAY LIFE?

Coffee and cafés attract people from all walks of life: artists, students, parents, teachers, faculty, tourists, and more. When people visit the café, they often ask, “What should I check out while I’m here?” or “Where can I find some St. Louis BBQ?” We have the power to create a safe space for everyone inside of the café and to serve as ambassadors for the St. Louis community.

WHAT ARE YOUR PASSIONS OUTSIDE OF THE CAFÉ?

Outside of work, I am an artist, aborisha in the Lucumí faith, developing espiritista/spiritual medium, astrologer, tarot reader, and numerologist. I’m also a cinephile and I love binge-watching TV series and movies on my off days.

Some of my favorite places to be outdoors are the Soulard Farmers Market, the Mississippi River, Compton Hill Reservoir Park, Tower Grove Park, and Benton Park. I also love visiting the West African and Native American Halls of the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum, the Old Courthouse, and more.

Two members of the Blueprint Coffee Delmar team face each other while laughing