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Things I Have Learned

Midlake's Eric Pulido On The Laxative Joys Of An Ethically Sourced Black Coffee
Luke Turner , February 2nd, 2010 12:31

As well as strumming for Denton's finest, Midlake's Eric Pulido imports coffee. He tells Luke Turner about the laxative joys of keeping it black

I'm in Newcastle, you can get a good coffee here

I'm not a coffee snob by any means. I've had Nescafe. As long as you heat up some milk with it its fine I'm actually drinking a great latte right now from the Cluny in Newcastle. It's wonderful stuff.

Need prevents coffee snobbery

When you're travelling everywhere and you're just wanting a cup of coffee, sometimes you'll just settle for the cafe that's just a little diner that does regular coffee. That'll work, you know? So when you do get the really nice coffee or espresso it really is a treat. I like good coffee but I wouldn't turn my nose up at a cup if I need a caffeine fix.

Yes, I am addicted to coffee

I don't see any reason to give up. It's not like I abuse it throughout the day. I have two or three cups a day, I enjoy it. I've not seen any bad side-effects yet – except the laxative side effect, and that's a very good one.

It takes a while to learn to drink coffee properly

My first coffee was probably when I was very young and my mother would have coffee every morning. She used to put a lot of cream and sugar in the coffee, and I can remember tasting it and thinking woah, it tastes like cocoa or something. I thought I could be a coffee drinker. Later on I was with someone else and they poured me a cup and I thought, "Hmm, that's a little darker." It was horrible. I thought I needed this cream and sugar. Through middle school and high school I'd drink my coffee with all this cream and sugar, but surely but surely I'd back off to where I drink it now, black.

Coffee with milk and instant coffee can't be compared to the real thing

That's why I say with Nescafe or something it's not really the same at all. When I have a cup of coffee, my choice is just black. I always have coffee at my house, but when you're in a hotel room and all you see is that little packet, you have to think, well, here we go. It's just necessity.

Working ethically is important to my coffee business

I have a friend who also works in the coffee industry and he got more aware of things. There was a kind of global awareness about fair trade, and just like any other practice we're ignorant and don't know where things come from. You find out more about the practices and compensation, and then especially becoming someone who sells it I wanted to make sure that whatever I was involved with wasn't a bad thing. I wanted to know the people I am involved with, and that gives me more comfort because I'm a part of this thing, even as a drinker. Growers First is really involved in lots of areas around the world with coffee farmers, coops and families, where they help them grown the crops better and teach them business practices

Fairtrade isn't as simple as it looks on the surface

It's difficult because certification comes at a price, which is a why though Fairtrade is a good thing it's difficult for a lot of farmers because to be certified you have to pay a certain amount of money, you have to have a certain amount of workers on your coop, you have to have a certain amount of land and produce. That's another reason why I like Growers First because it's the little guy saying we want to help these farmers be certified as fair trade, but also that the fact that they're part of this Growers First organisation also means that this is fair, this is organic.

A cookie is the best accompaniment to coffee

I like a biscuit or a cookie, a little sweet treat. And I like to dunk.

The American love of coffee is a social thing, just like having a beer*

It becomes synonymous with education, you have a lot of coffee shops around colleges, so it becomes part of the culture. If I'm going to go study I'll have a cup of coffee at the local shop, and then it becomes a very social thing, because you're not in haste. Then you become of age, and you go to the coffee shop by day and the bar by night.

I'm not entirely anti-Starbucks

Any type of entity like that can have an effect on smaller stores. A lot of that can be driven by the local culture – where we are we're fortunate to have a bit of both worlds, we have the franchise world but there's also a sense of community and local businesses at the centre of town. Even though I'm sure that those businesses take somewhat away, I'm sure there's a level of balance. I shouldn't say that I'm so anti that I'd go to a big supermarket than a little momma's shop place. And with the coffee thing, I've been to Starbucks several times. I usually go to the local shop, but especially when we're out on tour I'm not going to go driving around forever to find the local shop.

Some of these caramel frappuccino things at Starbucks are just sugar in a cup

If you're fan of black coffee it's like eating a tub of ice cream. Maybe if I had a sip or too it would be OK, but to have a whole drink I'd think I'd have a sugar overload. I think it must be an American thing. We'd put sugar on McDonald's French fries if we could.

Coffee certainly helps the Midlake creative process

Being aware, attentive, conscious. It helps. We work in the morning, by day and night. It's coffee in the morning, alcohol by night, and both seem to stimulate something similar in the brain.

A drink with my last meal? I'd have to go with a beer

I'd need a little bit of buzz. The last thing I need is to be more aware when I'm about to get executed.