Eric Pulido plays guitar in Midlake: The Texas band, who last released The Trials of Van Occupanther two years ago, are currently at work on a followup in their Denton studio. Pulido also stays busy running a coffee company Cappulido and Nova Posta Vinyl, a label he started with fellow Bella Union artist Robert Gomez. I spoke with him about his coffee and his label, learning the intricacies of “Fair Trade” beans and seemingly confirming my thoughts about flavored coffee. After our conversation, take a listen to Nova Posta’s first band, Denton-based folksy and psychedelic (in a Flaming Lips’ sense) Matthew and the Arrogant Sea. (Note: From Thermals and Man Man to Panther, Tiny Vipers, and Megafaun, coffee is a common theme in indie rock day jobs, but this is the first time I’ve spoken to someone who owns his own company.)
STEREOGUM: How’d you get started? Sick of Starbucks?
ERIC PULIDO: Well, long story short, myself, Robert Gomez (friend and labelmate) and a couple of other Dentonites had the idea to start a bar/cafe here in Denton. We ended up putting the venture on hold, but in the process of planning, I made a contact with a coffee distributor (Halo Brand) who encouraged me to start my own coffee label once the bar/cafe was stalled. They introduced me to Grower’s First, an organization who supports isolated indigenous farmers in different regions around the world, and supplies Halo Brand with much of their coffee. It really gave me a greater understanding and appreciation for the whole coffee process on top of the addiction I had for the drink. After that, I sampled many coffees to decide which I would begin to carry, built a website, and started spreading the word. I’m only five months in now but have learned so much and desire to grow the company more and more.
STEREOGUM: Did you have prior experience with roasting coffee?
ERIC PULIDO: I’ve not had any experience with roasting. Although the goal is to eventually start doing the roasting on my own, currently the roasting is actually done by my distributors at Halo Brand in California.
STEREOGUM: Can you explain the ‘unique radiant heat-roasting process’?
ERIC PULIDO: Although the facilities are not here right now, I am aware of the radiant heat-roasting process. This process basically generates a constant radiant heat source throughout the roasting drum with infrared gas burners. This help ensure that there aren’t irregularities in the roast and is also a very fuel efficient process.
STEREOGUM: Besides the roasting, do you run Cappulido on your own?
ERIC PULIDO: It’s just me at the moment, but a good friend of mine worked with me in building the website and designing the label. My plan is to add one or two other people as I move towards roasting the coffee on my own here in Denton.
STEREOGUM: What’s the story behind the name “Cappulido”?
ERIC PULIDO: I was looking at different ad posters for products from the 50’s and 60’s and saw one that said “Cappucino.” I had an epiphany while looking at it and realized that replacing the “C” with an “L” and the “N” with a “D” would be a nice amalgamation of my name and cappuccino. Profound isn’t it? And so spawned the name Cappulido.
STEREOGUM: The company’s “Fair Trade,” right? I buy organic Fair Trade coffee. I know the idea, get and respect the concept, but am not sure how something’s certified Fair Trade. Can you explain it some for folks who are as uninformed as me?
ERIC PULIDO: I’m glad that you asked. Cappulido coffee is fairly traded, but I’m not selling coffee that is certified “Fair Trade.” The Grower’s First farmers are actually compensated better in many ways than they would be with Fair Trade. It is very costly and difficult for many farmers to be Fair Trade certified, but now with the popularity of the name, many companies want this certification on coffee they buy. When farmers can’t afford the certification, it hurts their sales. On top of that, the compensation from Fair Trade doesn’t necessarily make it to the farmers themselves. I don’t want to knock Fair Trade, because I know that they’ve helped in raising awareness to consumer’s when purchasing coffee, but I would encourage people to research the process behind what goes in to the cup of coffee they are drinking.
STEREOGUM: How did you come up with this home delivery idea? No shipping charges for folks in Denton. Are you doing those deliveries yourself?
ERIC PULIDO: Yes, I am doing the deliveries myself. Since I’m here in Denton, and am able to spread the word much easier to friends and neighbors, I thought that it would be a nice gesture and a great way to grow the business locally. Obviously the “no shipping cost” is something we can all appreciate when buying something online. I don’t set shipping rates, so it’s my makeshift way of keeping them down locally at least. I’m working on getting those costs down for the rest of the country!
STEREOGUM: Is the coffee distributed to any national chains (grocery stores or coffee shops) or do you mostly distribute via your website, etc?
ERIC PULIDO: Cappulido Coffee is currently available at Jupiter House, a popular cafe on the Town Square of Downtown Denton. I’ve been in talks with other cafes and a local store as well about supplying, so fingers crossed.
STEREOGUM: What’s the best way to drink Cappulido coffee? Do you prefer French Press or perk? Do you have a favorite roast? Milk? Sugar?
ERIC PULIDO: I’ve had it many ways, but my preferred choice is drip, Sumatra, black.
STEREOGUM: I’m often nervous about flavored coffee. You guys have a vanilla nut. Thoughts on flavored coffee?
ERIC PULIDO: Many people feel like making coffee flavored is like putting A1 on a good steak. I will only say that it is my wife’s favorite! To each his/her own.
STEREOGUM: Do you bring your own coffee on tour?
ERIC PULIDO: I just started the company in May and we haven’t toured since then, but rest assured … it will be present on tour.
STEREOGUM: Musically, you run a vinyl-only record label. There’s an article in Decibel a couple months ago about how heavy metal record shops are doing relatively okay because folks still buy vinyl in the age of downloading. Was this general idea the thought behind vinyl-only? Or are you hearkening back to labels who worked this way in the past?
ERIC PULIDO: I am definitely a big fan of vinyl. The aesthetic and sound of a record just seems more real to me. But we also knew that many people listen to their music on cds and/or on their computer. The vinyl comes with a free copy of the CD, so it’s the best of both worlds.
STEREOGUM: Do you have a release schedule for the label? Any coffee tie-ins?
ERIC PULIDO: The label is up and running and our first release from Matthew and The Arrogant Sea, Family Family Family Meets The Magic Christian, is out October 28th. Coffee tie-ins pending!
[Eric is second from the left]