Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Caffeinated news: Bay Area coffee company sells itself

The Golden State native has been bought by Germany. One billion dollars. Cash.

I have a fond attachment and longtime love affair with Peet's Coffee.
Not only were they the only coffee spot where I could get a kick in the butt from Major D before starting school or after a long all-nighter during my college days. Before smaller roasters and boutiquey coffees (which I am a huge lover of) were a solid and present equation in the avid coffee consumer's eye such as myself, Peet's was the go-to spot alongside with many places that sold Illy and Mr.Espresso, as well as Grecco and Trieste.

Regardless of their company size and how rapidly they have expanded in the last few years, this West Coast company and their workers have always treated me well and I have had a sustainable good connection with numerous local baristas throughout San Francisco and California for the past decade. For example, most recently running into an old barista buddy of mine in their Santa Monica location.

Peet's was one of the pioneers of Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto, alongside Alice Water's Chez Panisse and the Cheese Board. Known among coffee historians, Peet is labeled as "the Dutchman who taught America how to drink coffee."[5]wiki – Alfred Peet passed away in 2007.

Peet's Coffee is also a place where I have been able to take my mother and older friends+relatives for a cup, and not have them feel somewhat technology or age uncomfortable (not until recently they have open wi-fi connections, limited to one hour I believe) and they can also avoid the random rude young barista correcting them on how to properly pronounce chemex. Classic and jazz music are often played in the background and the majority of their San Francisco stores, including one of their original 5 locations dating back to the late 1960's on Chestnut street in the Marina, are mostly not remodeled (yet), so they have somewhat of a dark, woodsy feel to them.

To this day, I often get beans from them. I do an extensive amount of consuming coffee from a majority of local roasters and small independent coffee shops, so my french press is one of the best $30USD investments I've made to date. It is also nice to recognize history in general, and recognize those who helped paved the way.

At the moment I am rather unsure of what these news will mean to the future of a Bay Area icon in the black gold industry. Will it reconnect with the company that was once its apprentice, Starbucks? The Seattle global titan seems to be interested in regaining the look and feel of the small boutique experience as it recently acquired for $100 Million San Francisco's local sweetheart chain La Boulange bakery.

Not only is the Bay Area the hottest nest of big-fish high roller companies for tech, taking for instance Facebook's recent gazillion deal with Instagram, because it obviously seems to be pretty hot with all-things gourmet as well.
Will Peet's go global next? Will one be able to get a cup of Peet's with a La Boulange sandwich+salad combo in an airport while being delayed in the near future, or the ultimate absurdity: across the street from one another.
What are your thoughts/feelings? Do you have any Peet's stories to share? Do tell.

Read the complete article:
Peet's Coffee to be taken private in $1 billion deal

Here are some images of Peet's in the last few years, including the one above: one of the limited-edition gift cards I designed for them while working for a small design studio, amongst other fun projects, many coffee moons ago.

Get your Peet's coffee
Get your Peet's coffee - donation from Peet's coffee for Bike To Work Day San Francisco, 2008.
Duckie drinks Peet's
Having coffee with Declan, my favorite coffee partner-youngster.
Met a happy blog reader. Ferry building, 2008.
Not me, my bike.
Met a young blog reader, and fellow butterlap rider. 2010
on a very, very early morning before a long ride to Marin, 2009.


  1. wow. this bums me out ...but i'm also not sure what it all means.. they just better not fuck with what i'm used to.

    what i do know for sure is that i've certainly contributed my fair share of that billion dollars since i've lived in the bay area the last 16 years. :)

    1. and on a cycling related side note, i just got back from a ride and realized I was wearing my Peets jersey after i wrote my above post..

  2. Peet's will always have a special meaning for me.

    Peet's was my first coffee 22 years ago- went to the California St. location in the Laurel district (I think that is what it's called). Did not drink the stuff until I started working a career job. They hooked me. Started with a delicious mocha.

    Consistently bought beans from them - New Guinea is my bean of choice.

    Always had good service from them - and most importantly good coffee.

  3. I had Peet's running through my veins instead of blood when I was at Cal. Particularly the Ethiopian blend. When I lived in Oakland after college I used to go to the one on Grand Avenue like it was my JOB. I think they tried to (or still do) have one here in NYC, but I've never been. It's been a pretty huge company for a long time now and it hasn't seemed to change the quality of both the coffee and the good feeling atmosphere. I hope the Germans don't fuck that up.

  4. major d has always been my favorite coffee from peet's too. can't live without peet's as they have always been my go to coffee for an ass kick before class or work. i'm curious to see what comes out of this.

  5. I've never gone to Peet's all that much, as I've always lived in areas of Portland where small, local roasters were closer (or local shops that served Stumptown or something). But I've always appreciated them for making a good cup, and for not going the way of profit being the only consideration, like other well-known chains from the West Coast. Here's hoping whoever bought them lets them operate more-or-less autonomously still.

    Also, this reminded me that, if you ever come to Portland again, you really need to go to Sterling Coffee, which happens to be in the ground floor of the apartment building we just moved into :) Seriously some of the best coffee I've ever had in my life. Nom.


with coffee in hand, sincere thanks for your readership ×