Randy Phillips

¿Do you got any nicknames?

  • Nou I just go by Name, no nicknames!
¿How did you started in the coffee world?
  • I started out as a barista at starbucks, I worked at the second starbucks ever, but in the late nighties, So I was a barista there for a little while, and I worked with a guy who was a room-mate to an espresso machine technician. So he thought me how to work on our espresso machine in the store. A position became available to be a service technician for starbucks. And this was back when starbucks used La Marzocco Linea in all their stores. So, they gave me a van, and I had to go from store to store fixing stuff. This was back when starbucks had limitless budget for repair, which meant I could make all the mistakes and learn from them, which is important as a technician. It’s not like you’re building Ikea furniture, this machines got lots of things that can go wrong. So it was important that starbucks let me do that.
¿How long have you been working in the coffee world?
  • Since 1999. Non Stop
¿Do you have any preferred bean or farm?
  • Since I started working here at La marzocco, we see soo much good coffee going through that I can’t say I have a favorite one, I actually learned to appreciate all of them.
¿Do you have any ritual or signature move while doing coffee?
  • I used to have a lot of rituals, but I try not to have any. For me they were just Bad Habits,  I just try to make good coffee.
¿Before coffee, did you work in any other industry?
  • I did some repair work and some factory work, also worked in some used book stores. But working in maintenance work really prepared me.
¿What was your first amazing experience with coffee?
  • Well, I’ve had a lot of good experiences with coffee. But recently my wife, who works for starbucks currently as a designer. She’s exposed to a lot of starbucks coffee. But recently we went to Portland to Coava, which was her first coffee experience outside of Starbucks. She saw a coffee that said blueberries, and decided to try it, and it just blew her mind away. Getting to see her have an epiphany about coffee was the best experience.
  • I guess my experience is the one we just had, were you recognized the farmer, a friend of yours, roasted by cat and cloud, but someone you know, you we’re excited too, and you knew how exactly the cup would taste. And having you brew it and validate it that way, just made the world a lot smaller. It comes into the specifics, you want to talk about origin and you pulled me into that origin, because you’re from that origin.
¿Who has been your greatest influence in coffee?
  • Over the years I guess I’ve had various influences, and it seems those influences have come in the right time. And they are peers, friends, managers i’ve had. And each have had an important place. Piero Bambi, he’s 83 years old, and he still shows up at the factory every morning, and still gets involved and interested in making quality machines. And he doesn’t need to, he could easily retire. But he’s passion and work ethic and interest are inspirational to me.
¿Would you like to know someone in the coffee world? If So, tell us whom?
  • The specialty coffee industry is full of very interesting personalities. I don’t want to exclude anybody, but I’ve been so long in the technical side, that I just think more in machines than people? Hahaha
¿How do you drink your coffee?
  • Ah, Just Black. I start with a pour over during the morning. Then Just a couple of espresso shots through out the day.
¿Favorite Music?
  • Lately I’ve been listening to stoner doom metal and experimental electronic noise music. I listen to all kinds of stuff, but lately that’s my default.
¿What do you do when you’re not behind the machines?
  • I try to make some art. Ah, I usually have some mechanical project or art project going on.
¿Have you got any other passions or hobbies?
  • Eh, Music is a big part of my life, I dont make it but really have a good time seeking interesting music.
  • Also Art, Music, Philosophy and Urban Wildlife. I’m kind of a bird watcher now. I go for walks and hikes too..
¿Favorite Food?
  • Oh Man, I could always go for some sushi, I can’t say thou I have a favorite food. One of my favorite things in food is making food at home with my wife and connect with her while we do it.
¿Anything else you want to say?
  • Ahm, It’s hard to think of one thing specifically, I guess not, I don’t know!