The Barista – Greg Phillips

What is your earliest coffee related experience?
When I was five, I used to go and help my dad roast. I really ended up playing with my brother on the green bean coffee sacks.
When / why did you first get working in coffee?
My Father had his own company called “Tea and Coffee Specialists”; I was packing coffee after school back in 1990 for $5 / hour. We also owned a couple of coffee shops and cafes, so my first job of serving coffee was around that time as well, I served the best filter coffee in all of Papakura.
What led you to becoming a barista?
We opened a café in 2000 in the cbd Auckland. This was the first café we had an espresso machine in as we hadn’t owned a café for a few years.
What is the best part of your job?
I enjoy the daily opportunities to taste a wide variety of origins, and to always be learning new things.
Talk us through a typical work day
I’m a sales rep so, I go into work in the morning, have a great cup of coffee, talk to the team about coffee, squeeze into a cupping if available then go into the trade to talk to café owners about coffee.
What are your roles outside of making coffee?
I was a machine technician, I conduct coffee trainings, I sell coffee and I consult café owners.
What is your favorite brew method and/or coffee origin and why?
I like Espresso through a commercial espresso machine. There is nothing better than a barista in tune with his tools. El Salvador, some amazing coffees coming out of there and I like that they are forever improving processing methods.
Tulip or rosetta?
What would be your dream ‘coffee experience’?
Going to a plantation and following a bean from the tree to the cup in a café in NZ.
Do you have a ‘coffee crush’ ?
I like some of the routines by Colin Harmon; he is uncomplicated and expresses his opinions clearly.