OUR COFFEE REVOLUTION
On April 1, 1966, Alfred Peet first opened the doors of his coffee store in Berkeley, CA, and quietly ignited a revolution that forever changed the expectations of American coffee drinkers.
Alfred Peet’s portrait
Alfred Peet learns the coffee trade while caring for roasting and grinding machinery at B. Koorn & Company, his father’s coffee and tea business in Alkmaar, Holland.
He forgoes college. Moves to London to pursue the importing of coffee and tea. Continues to make things with his hands and fiddle with machines.
I came to the richest country in the world, so why are they drinking the lousiest coffee?
Alfred Peet sitting near a tree with a pipe in his mouthAlfred Peet interacting with a customer in his coffee shopAlfred Peet sitting on a couch with a colleague
Works in the tea business in Indonesia. This pivotal experience eventually inspires him to bring darkly roasted Indonesian beans to an unaware coffee-drinking public.
Temporarily resides in New Zealand. Declares it boring. Sails to the U.S.
Arrives in California. Goes to work in the coffee import business. Soon discovers that the richest country in the world drinks the lousiest coffee.
Alfred Peet posing with a coffee roasting system from the 1960’s
Leaves the coffee import business to start his own shop in Berkeley at Vine and Walnut, a working-class neighborhood near the University of California campus.
Vows to only use high-quality beans and a roasting system manually calibrated to achieve an even darker, sweeter roast.
Proudly sends a batch to his mother, who politely suggests it’s “too dark.” Thankfully, he ignores her.
FIND A STORE
He was the big bang.
It all started with him.
Alfred Peet posing with several stacked bags of coffee beansAlfred Peet tasting coffee with his colleaguesA coffee roaster using machinery
Promotes the belief that there should be the shortest distance possible between the roaster and the customer. Single-handedly helps the American consumer appreciate freshly roasted, dark roast blends.
COMMITMENT TO CRAFT
Alfred Peet interacting with customers in his coffee shopA bag of Major Dickason’s Blend coffee
Retired army sergeant Key Dickason brought the idea for our most beloved blend, Major Dickason’s Blend, to Mr. Peet. Sampling countless combinations before arriving at what is now our all-time bestseller. Alfred Peet decided naming it after his friend wasn’t enough —Dickason’s rich, complex blend deserved a promotion from sergeant to Major.
Alfred Peet showing the front page of the Wall Street JournalAlfred Peet on a boat with a pipe in his mouthThe three founders of Starbucks
With the opening of Chez Panisse around the corner, the “Gourmet Ghetto” officially takes hold.
Three young entrepreneurs approach Mr. Peet to learn the critical roasting and blending aspects of the coffee business. He provides them with training as well as the roasted coffee beans for their new venture, Starbucks.
Peet’s opens its second store in Menlo Park. Soon introduces his special 101 Blend in honor of the highway that joins the two locations.
Alfred Peet tasting coffee with his colleaguesJim Reynolds analyzing coffee beans
Jim Reynolds trains with Alfred Peet as a roaster, later to become the second Roastmaster after Mr. Peet. Now Roastmaster Emeritus, Mr. Reynolds continues to influence Peet’s.
He was the man who taught
the world to drink coffee
Doug Welsh busy working in a coffee shopDoug Welsh picking coffee beans off of a treeDoug Welsh pouring cups of coffee with a colleague
Doug Welsh is promoted to Roastmaster, only the 3rd in the company’s history.
Mighty Leaf teabagsCoffee farmersA pitcher and a cup filled with hot Mighty Leaf tea
Peet’s buys Mighty Leaf Tea, consistently hailed as the premium tea manufacturer.
A bag of Stumptown coffeeA bag of Intelligentsia coffee
Peet’s adds Stumptown and Intelligentsia, both founded by former Peet’s employees, to their portfolio, further adding to their craft credentials.
A bag of Peet’s Big Bang coffee, along with cups of hot brewed coffeeA bag of Peet’s Big Bang medium roast coffee
Peet’s celebrates their 50th anniversary by introducing a blend inspired by Mr. Peet, known as “the Big Bang” of coffee. This new signature blend expanded the horizon of what coffee can be, the perfect coffee to honor the man who still inspires us every day.
The coffee tells my story.