05 September 2007

Well, who did you think Starbucks stole the idea from?

Known as the "grandfather of specialty coffee", Alfred Peet's original store is still located on the corner of Walnut and Vine in Berkeley. HOLLA!

Peet's Coffee & Tea was one of the original coffee hauses. It was actually the original inspiration for now-rival Starbucks.

The three founders of Starbucks knew Alfred Peet personally, founded Starbucks in Seattle, as kindred spirits, and bought the coffee beans for Starbucks directly from Peet's during their first year of business in 1971. I bet you didn't know that shit!

Alfred Peet was born in the Netherlands, where his father ran a small coffee roastery before World War II. After the war, Peet left London, where he had apprenticed with Lipton Teas, and worked as a tea taster for Lipton in the Dutch East Indies and New Zealand before immigrating to San Francisco in 1955.

After becoming dismayed at the poor quality of coffee in the United States, he opened his own coffee store in Berkeley, California in 1966.

Peet is widely credited with starting the specialty coffee revolution in the US. Among coffee-historians (how much does that gig pay?), Peet is labelled as "the Dutchman who taught America how to drink coffee."

Peet's has been much slower to expand than Starbucks, and has maintained (to some extent) more of its focus as a coffee and tea retailer, rather than a coffee bar, a distinction that has long separated Peet's from Starbucks. Peet's is still primarily a California operation, with a few stores in other metropolitan areas (see below) and a short-lived four-store partnership in Tokyo.

I only know about Peet's because we had a friend who worked at a Peet's in Beverly Hills and he used to hook us the FUCK up when we were on tour. I did all my xmas shopping there one year.

After retiring from the coffee business in 2001, Alred Peet moved to Oregon where he still lived when he died from cancer last week. He was 87.

No comments: