Thursday, June 22, 2023



Some years ago, during one of our earliest trips to San Francisco, we took a bus wanting to visit Chinatown. We had, in those days, a Clipper Pass which enabled you to go by bus, BART, ferry on any route. We were too distracted talking about something or the other and we ended up in Fishermen's Wharf. After walking for a long time admiring the sights around us, we yearned for a hot cup of coffee. That's when we saw Peet's Coffee on Jefferson Street. We loved the fresh brewed coffee there and that was our  introduction to Peet's Coffee.

Later,  when we visited San Diego our relative, an aficionado  of coffees (  and one who would typically drive miles only to haunt a particular Peets)  took us to his favourite Peet's near his house. Here too we enjoyed the rich brew of the dark roasted coffee. 

With this as background, you can imagine our delight when in our current vacation in Oakland, Ca  we got to visit the first ever Peet's Coffee shop! Tommy told us one day that he would take us to a place in Berkeley that we would find interesting. We parked the car and walked to the corner of Vine and Walnut near UC Berkeley and there we were- in the very place that Alfred Peet founded the firm way back in 1966. 

It wasn't a coffee shop as we know it- when it first started. It sold roasted coffee beans and soon it became so well known that Peet came to be called "the Godfather of Gourmet Coffee" in the United States. A man of Dutch origin in the coffee trade for years, he had then reportedly said, " I came to the richest country in the world, so why are they drinking the lousiest coffee?" 

We got a sense of history in this charming place. It was fascinating to see an old world museum here of memorabilia  and interesting snippets about how the Peets chain of stores- started right here - grew to have  over 200 locations all over the United States.

Interestingly, the three University of San Francisco students who started Starbucks as young entrepreneurs in Seattle in 1971 were mentored by Alfred Peet himself. 

In due course of time Alfred Peet sold his original business -in 1979 though he remained connected with the world of coffee trading and brewing. Peet's changed hands a few times after that retaining its original name. Ironically, today it is owned by Starbucks, the biggest chain of coffee shops in the world, whose founders were guided by Alfred Peets himself! 

For more on the various types of coffee and the numerous ways of drinking it, do check out the blog in Peet's. Very interesting and informative! 

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