Go Deeper

Artists and Their Coffee: Thaddeus Phillips

Posted May 30th, 2012

Phillips, with a nice red mug of coffee.

Name: Thaddeus Phillips

Company: Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental

Artistic occupation: Theater director, stage designer.

First experience with coffee that made you understand coffee: Just two weeks ago, I was waiting at LAX for a flight—and wanted coffee, then it occurred to me . . . while in LA, I had just bought a Japanese Turkish style hand grinder, some Stumptown ‘hair bender’ blend coffee, a Hario V60 ceramic coffee dripper, and Chemex Filters. I almost had everything I needed to make it right there—I  ground my own beans, went up to a Starbucks near the gate, asked kindly for hot water, but had not any single cup filters for the Hario—so used the larger Chemex filter—and brewed my own coffee in the terminal. The discovery, on accident, of the Chemex Filter + Hario V60 made me understand coffee . . . really understand.

Coffee you drink at home: See above, but with my own hot water.

How you like your coffee: See above, with half & half till a strong caramel color appears, and a half spoon of raw sugar.

Average no. of cups per day: Two. (The good thing about this ridiculously detailed and ritualistic way to make a simple cup of coffee is that there is no time to make more than two cups a day . . . and coffee made at most other places is not the same so now I actually drink less coffee overall).

Fave coffee shops: For Pessoa’s ghost & Galão: Cafe Martinho Da Arcada, Praça do Comércio, Lisboa, Portugal. For hot simple drip: One Shot, Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. For iced: Stumptown on Belmont in Portland, near my brother Morgan’s house, in August, while house painting. For inexpensive perfect small latte’s, the fantastic people who work there, and the woman always in a black rain coat and large framed glasses who growls at whoever has taken her place by the northern window looking out on the street: Cafe Leyenda, Carrera 7 & Calle 24, Bogotá, Colombia.

Fave fancy coffee drink: Cafe Latte, the kind they make designs with the espresso crema blending with the foamy milk. (Once, in Denver, the barista at Metropolis Coffee actually poured out of the crema an Indian Chief with an elaborate feathered headdress—which was better than seeing jesus burned into toast).

The most inappropriate thing a barista has ever said to you: A guy at Ground Support in SoHo dissed me for refilling up a Starbucks brand mug with their coffee, which was odd because there I was buying his coffee, not theirs and making life on earth last 2.7 more mila-micro-seconds by not using their paper cup.

Enough about coffee, what are you doing now? Looking at a tie for the world premiere of Mi Gente Linda, Mi Gente Bella, a new Colombian comedy in which I make a tiny cameo. (If I get invited to the premiere I will buy the tie in question).  Also working on a screenplay of Flamingo/Winnebago, next season’s tours of 17 BORDER CROSSINGS, a Spanish language version of Macbeth set in South America with Antonio Sanint (‘El Loco’ in ¡El Conquistador!) and preparing for rehearsals for RED-EYE to HAVRE de GRACE, an action-opera about E.A. Poe for the 2012 Live Arts Festival.