Morning Jam: Eric Perez

Jan 29, 2020

If you've been to our Chicago cafe, you've probably seen Eric Perez's killer moustache/smile combo behind the bar. Here's a peek into how music helped them prep for their recent foray into coffee competition; they represented Stumptown at the US Coffee Champs qualifiers in January, in the Coffee In Good Spirits category.

Coffee has always been a love story for me. That deep connection. That frustration. The feeling that, like us, it’s always changing and each year a new crop will be different. Will grow. It will change. That feeling is probably what also draws me to love songs both about the good and the bad. It’s that deep connection we feel for one another and the things that we hold dear that keeps that fire going for me.

Whether it’s been showing up for an open, skies still dark, walking into the cafe and before anything, turning on some loud music. Being able to fill a dimly lit space with warm and vibrant tunes that start to blend into the sounds of grinding coffee for drip or dialing in the espresso is something really special. Those walls are still down and no one has stepped through the doors yet. Even the lights are still off. But the energy. The energy to take on the day is already there with you.

Just like every good song, love or otherwise, there’s always the breakdown. That part of a song has always been one of the most meaningful to me. It’s there, whether in the highest highs or deepest lows, that the growth really happens: that moment during a shift when you’re in the weeds at the peak of that morning rush, or more recently, for me, preparing to hit the road to compete in the US Coffee Championship Qualifiers for one of their latest competitions, Coffee In Good Spirits, aka CIGS.


Part of any good road trip by yourself is the playlist you make for it. The added challenge of getting back into competition and the long road I found ahead of myself was determining what music I would play during my routine. Finding the words can be tough. So, sometimes, it's best to just let the shuffle of your accumulated years guide you through those thoughts, memories, and emotions. Telling the story of why I love Chicago and how it has shaped my love for the service industry, from bartending to being a barista is rooted deep in the music playing during those times.

Getting back into competition, being able to represent Stumptown, the first coffee roaster I really fell in love with, and being able to combine it with a background in bartending, one I share with so many of my coworkers here, has been an experience of a lifetime. It’s that part of the journey and the road ahead that I look forward to the most. Growing. Continuing that growth and development with a coffee roaster that I feel supported by. That I get to represent on a daily basis. The excitement that there’s still so much to learn about coffee and I get to do it with such a diverse & inclusive community -- all while listening to some stellar tunes.

Track List:
La Luz - Floating Features
Probably Vampires - One More Night
A Giant Dog - Sleep When Dead
yuragi - soon
Sen Morimoto - People Watching
Cub - My Chinchilla
Peach Kelli Pop - Panchito Blues ii
Mike Krol - Natural Disaster
Tony Molina - Don't Come Back
LA Witch - You Love Nothing
SASAMI ft. Devendra Banhart - Free
The Hold Steady - The Sweet Part of the City
Bill Callahan - So Long, Marianne
Purple Mountains - Darkness and Cold
Orville Peck - Take You Back (The Iron Hoof Cattle Call)
Omar Rodriguez Lopez - Deux Ex Machina
Wesley Willis - Rock n Roll McDonalds