Meet Lee Phillips— JavaMaster’s Relationship Manager and Green Coffee Buyer. After finishing college, Lee worked for IBM Corporation; but it was in the late ’80s when he first got involved with the coffee industry. Lee has done pretty much everything as far as a coffee business goes. He has experience in coffee retail, storefronts, drive-throughs, and even owned his own roastery! Lee sold his wholesale roasting company in 2013 and later went on to do some consulting work for another roaster. Back in 2017, the original JavaMaster owner, Dick Sewell, asked Lee to join the team, and he has been here ever since. Lee’s current role typically includes identifying coffee opportunities, following the coffee market, searching the world for new coffees, and verifying all incoming green coffee meets our standards. This means a lot of sampling and cupping coffees! Lee also educates people about coffee and roasting.
Q&A with Our Bean Ninja Lee
What are some key differences between air roasting and drum roasting?
I’ve had the pleasure of working with both roasting methods: fluid bed roasting and drum roasting. Fluid bed roasting (also known as air roasting) provides a more distinct delivery of coffee and its natural flavors. It gives you clarity in the cup. This roasting method is also better for the environment because you’re not creating as much emission, so it’s a cleaner way to get a cup of coffee.
What is your favorite coffee bean and why?
I don’t have a favorite coffee bean since there is always something new and different to try that you end up liking better. In the last year or two, I have been purchasing more peaberry coffee. I like peaberry coffee because of the intensity of the cup. It tends to be more intense than most coffees.
How do you like to drink your coffee? And how many cups do you typically drink in a day?
I drink my coffee black. If you include all the coffee we cup here at JavaMaster, I drink about 4-5 cups a day.
What is a fun fact about the coffee industry?
Right now, we are in a mature market, but there is still a lot of uncharted territory in coffee. I’ve been around for the evolution of coffee, watching the specialty coffee market grow from infancy to the current mature market. It’s fascinating to see all these advancements; new coffee innovations, products, and even new ways to process coffee. It’s pretty cool to witness.
Interested in learning how roasting in-house with JavaMaster can take your business to the next level? Reach out today.