Where Did Peet’s Coffee Start? Answered

This article will answer your questions about “where did Peet’s Coffee start?” with a comprehensive insight into the company’s history and recommended products.

Where did Peet's coffee start?
Peet’s coffee empire marked the first chapter in 1966

Peet’s coffee is a Californian staple, but you might be wondering, where did Peet’s Coffee start? After years of setting sail around the globe to discover excellent coffee beans worldwide, Alfred Peet settled on the West Coast in the 1960s, where the iconic chain took flight. 

The year 1966 marked the first chapter in the epic novel of the Peet’s Coffee empire. His very first brick-and-mortar store started in Berkeley at Vine and Walnut, a working-class neighborhood near the University of California campus.

Peet redefined the coffee culture in America with an affirmation of using only high-quality beans and manually roasting his coffee beans. Let’s learn more. 

How Alfred Peet Changed The American Coffee Culture

Alfred H. Peet was born in 1920. He was a Dutch-American entrepreneur who was regarded as one of the most notable pioneers in the US coffee industry.

His reputation and coffee empire are tied to the third-wave specialty coffee revolution in the US. Long after he founded his first location, he met Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker, three young men who were later known as the co-founders of Starbucks. 

Peet learned the coffee trade by helping out in his dad’s business growing up. He decided to turn down pursuing a third-level education and instead was an apprentice at Twinings before becoming a tea taster in Indonesia, where he discovered the beauty of darkly roasted coffee. 

He eventually moved to San Francisco in the 1950s, working for a coffee importer. Upon arriving in the US, Peet found himself dissatisfied with the quality of American coffee and set out to change it. 

Where did Peet’s coffee start in the early days

Peet first came to the States in the mid-1950s. At that time, he simply couldn’t take American coffee seriously. Nourished by the rich European coffee culture, Peet was unimpressed by American coffee at the time.

People in America were able to consume up to 10 cups a day of what Peet deemed to be watered-down, poor-quality java. This is believed to have been a hangup from when coffee was rationed during World War II. The birth of instant coffee made things even worse, partially deterring Americans from enjoying the purest form of coffee made from fresh whole beans for optimal extraction.

Grey hair charming woman drinking coffee  sitting at a table in a street cafe
People in America were able to consume up to 10 cups a day

Peet decided to change things up and opened his own coffee shop. With the skills and roasting techniques he gained after decades of traveling the world, he carefully roasted coffee beans by hand. America was introduced to a higher level of coffee, a cup of robust, dark-roasted Joe they had barely had before.

Peet’s Coffee rapidly took off, and the rest is history. While Starbucks might have overtaken Peet’s in terms of popularity and coffee shop locations, Peet’s has a loyal, enduring customer base. That said, Starbucks is a global enterprise, and Peet’s is primarily a West Coast institution. 

Today, Peet’s Coffee has 181 stores in California and over 200 locations throughout the country. Peet’s Coffee serves traditional drip and espresso coffee along with a curated collection of blended drinks, cold brews, and baked goods.

Peet’s Coffee Offers The Freshest, Fullest Flavor

So, what’s a big deal with Peet’s Coffee, anyway? Peet’s cares about its coffee so much that it developed an elite team to focus on vetting the beans. The team tastes the coffee samples three times before the beans even arrive at the roastery based out of California.

Peet’s coffee is processed and roasted in small batches. Everything takes place at their LEED Gold-certified roasting plant in Almeda, California. They value the freshness of the beans as much as their customers do.

Small batches and carefully sourced beans allow Peet’s to stay aligned with their specialty coffee mission and the roast-to-order process. Other than that, Peet’s also developed highly-trained baristas who are known to pull every single espresso shot by hand. You might be wondering why is Peet’s Coffee so expensive

What Does Peet’s Coffee Taste Like?

If you’re a newcomer to Peet’s coffee, note that their drinks are generally bold, with an espresso-forward taste. While the exact tasting profiles vary per blend, it is typically rich and full-bodied. Although you can find lighter roasts if you so desire, Peet’s is best known for its dark roast coffee.

Unlike Starbucks, whose ambiance inclines towards a fast-paced coffee culture, Peet’s locations deliver a cozy and inviting atmosphere that’s less modern and chic. Caffeine-wise, Peet’s coffee is on the lower end of the spectrum compared to other heavyweights. It contains from 100 to 200mg of caffeine in every six ounces and 70mg in every shot of espresso.

The Best Peet’s Coffee Blends To Take Home

Peet’s French Roast

Peet’s French Roast is a complex dark-roasted java. It’s a 100% Arabica blend made of coffee from Guatemala and Colombia.

What makes this Peet’s offering special is that it’s roasted intensity for a shorter time to allow its unique flavor profile to develop. It makes a bittersweet brew with hints of smoke and caramel. This coffee is rich and smooth with a little acidity.

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03/07/2024 10:04 pm GMT

Major Dickason’s Blend

If you’re looking for the best blend from the house, don’t forget to check out Peet’s Major Dickason’s Blend. This signature blend goes through the washed and wet-hulled process.

Each cup is soaked in rich, smooth, and complex flavors with an earthy and nutty hint coming forward in the aftertaste. If Peet’s Guatemala San Sebastian is the best seller for espresso, then Major Dickason’s will be the best choice for French press and pour-over style.

Peet's Coffee, Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee - Major Dickason's Blend 18 Ounce Bag
  • Contains one (1) 18 Ounce Bag of Peet's Major Dickason's Blend Whole Bean 100% Arabica Coffee
  • Flavor and Roast: Dark Roast. Flavorful, robust, full-bodied. Developed by Mr. Peet and his most discerning customer, Major Dickason’s Blend epitomizes the rich, flavorful taste of Peet’s
  • Brewing Methods: Use fine ground coffee for espresso at home. Coarsely ground coffee (consistency of coarse sea salt) can be used to make cold brew or a French press. Use a medium grind (consistency of sand) for drip or a pour over in your Chemex
  • Sourcing With Impact: The coffee you buy can impact the welfare of the people and planet. Peet’s is actively engaged in driving positive impact in communities where our coffees are grown.
  • Rich. Complex. Incomparable. Masters of our craft for over 50 years, we hand roast the very best coffees in the world.

Dark Roast Espresso Pods

Last but not least, Peet’s Coffee also taps into the growing popularity of capsule coffee. Its Dark Roast Espresso Pods come in a box of ten; this bittersweet brew is made from Arabica beans.

However, note that this one can only accompany Nespresso’s original machine, not Nespresso Vertuo. Other compatible brewers can include Essenza Mini, Essenza Plus, Pixie, CitiZ, Lattissima, KitchenAid, and Creatista.

Peet's Coffee, Dark Roast Espresso Pods, Nerissimo Intensity 11, 100 Count (10 Boxes of 10 Espresso Capsules)
  • Contains ten (10) Boxes of 10 Peet's Nerissimo, French Roast style Espresso - Intensity 11 Dark Roast Coffee Single Cup Espresso Capsules (100 Espresso Capsules Total)
  • Flavor and Roast: Dark Roast - Intensity 11. A bittersweet indulgence in the French Roast style - black as night, sweet as a brûlée topping. 100% Arabica Coffee
  • Peet’s Espresso Capsules are compatible with the Nespresso Original Machines*, Essenza Mini, Essenza Plus, Pixie, CitiZ, Lattissima, KitchenAid, and Creatista Nespresso Original machines.* Not compatible with Nespresso Vertuo machines. *Peet's is not affiliated with the Nespresso brand.
  • Recyclable: Peet’s aluminum capsules are recyclable through our mail-back program. Each aluminum capsule is sealed to preserve that delicious aroma and flavor for an intense espresso experience
  • How to Brew: Peet's capsules work with Ristretto (0.85 OZ / 25 ml) or Espresso (1.35 OZ / 40 ml) pulls on your brewer.

Where To Buy Peet’s Coffee

Peet's coffee app
Peet’s Coffee can be purchased online directly from their website

Today, you can buy Peet’s Coffee products in their 200 coffee shops across the US. Other than that, Peet’s coffee can also be found in 15,000 grocery stores, universities, and wholesalers in the country.

Besides the coffee shop and grocery store locations, you can purchase Peet’s Coffee online directly from their website and sign up for their subscriptions. The best thing about buying on the website is the ease of navigation, especially for those who don’t know much about coffee. Each product is broken down by roast profiles, capsules, decaf, brewing methods, as well as exclusives for subscribers and online purchasers.

Popular e-commerce pages such as Walmart, eBay, and Amazon also offer many of the brand’s collections for Peet’s Coffee customers. Learn more in our guides on which Peet’s Coffee is the strongest and which Peet’s Coffee is the best.


  • Oanh Nguyen

    Born and raised by a traditional mama-barista, Oanh is a typical Viet coffee aficionado who would spend her entire precious Sunday showing you how to categorize coffee beans just by the looks and smells. She enjoys writing about everything drinks-related while sipping her favorite rosebud tea. Find Oanh on LinkedIn.