peet's coffee sign and menu

Is Peet’s Coffee Good? A Comprehensive Review

When it comes to coffee, Peet’s has built a solid reputation for quality and craftsmanship over the past 50+ years. Known for its dark roasts and complex flavors, Peet’s has attracted a loyal following of coffee aficionados. But is Peet’s coffee good? Like, actually good?

With so many coffee companies and options on the market, what exactly sets Peet’s apart? 

In this article, we’ll examine the rich history, bean sourcing, roasting process, variety, and Peetnik culture surrounding this San Francisco Bay Area brand, and try to uncover why so many people consider it their favorite coffee.

It’s time to spill the beans on Peet’s.

Is Peet’s Coffee Worth It? Quick Answer

Foremost, it’s important to acknowledge that nearly everyone has a favorite coffee brand that suits their own specific tastes and preferences. So, is Peet’s Coffee good? Is it worth it? That’s subjective, of course.

But with an emphasis on artisan quality and complex flavor profiles, yes, we believe that Peet’s coffee is absolutely worth it. The taste imparts notes you generally won’t find in mass-market grocery store brands, and a richness that simply isn’t attainable with subpar beans. 

While moderately priced as a specialty coffee, Peet’s loyalists argue that no other affordable options offer quite the same level of refinement and nuanced flavor. We tend to agree.

Peet’s Coffee Quality

Alfred Peet opened the first Peet’s Coffee in Berkeley, California in 1966 and introduced custom Arabica coffee blends to the United States. A Dutch immigrant, Peet had a European style of dark roasting, always aiming to maximize a coffee’s inherent flavor instead of roasting lightly and delicately. 

Well over 50 years later, Peet’s Coffee still utilizes traditional artisan roasting techniques to produce its signature complex and full-bodied coffee.

Working directly with farmers and co-ops enables Peet’s to select only the finest 1% of Arabica beans harvested each year. These beans exhibit flawless flavor profiles and roasting potential. 

By sourcing the best raw Arabica beans and carefully hand-roasting them in small batches, Peet’s is able to achieve a superb level of quality.

Whether you prefer dark roasts or lighter roasts, you’ll find notes of chocolate, vanilla, nuts, spices, berries, and citrus shining through in a cup of Peet’s Coffee. 

Peet’s does not use any artificial flavorings or additives. Those who are loyal to the brand relish the pure taste that comes directly from the artistic process that Peet’s uses to bring out the natural essence of their beans.

Taste and Varieties

One reason many coffee lovers believe Peet’s is exceptionally good is the trademark depth and complexity of flavors achieved through proper roasting. Peet’s relies on expert roasters who closely control variables like temperature, timing, moisture levels, and bean rotation to hit the optimal moment when each roast style emerges at its peak. 

Darker varieties like the French Roast and the Espresso Forte develop gradually into bittersweet, smoky profiles, while medium roasts emphasize more brightness balanced with a rich body. 

Peet’s lighter offerings still carry more body than typical light roasts thanks to extended Maillard reaction browning.

In addition to buying ready-to-brew roasted coffee, Peetnik Rewards members can explore a wide variety of pre-ground blends, single-origin, and small-batch roasted offerings, all the while earning reward points. 

Also worth noting is that Peet’s rotates limited editions that showcase exclusive beans not found anywhere else. Each year, fans eagerly await special seasonal brews like the Holiday Blend, available from October through January.

Whether you lean towards dark roasts, specialty blends, obscure single origins, or prized small batches, Peet’s has an extensive portfolio that suits all tastes.

Home baristas can enjoy a gourmet coffee experience by using Peet’s whole beans or grounds which are optimally suited for drip or French press brewing.

Peet’s Café Experience

In addition to buying Peet’s packaged coffee to enjoy at home, you can also indulge in the Peet’s experience at one of over 300 Peet’s coffee bars nationwide. You’ll have the best luck finding a Peet’s in California, which is home to 70% of their locations.

Peet’s doesn’t just serve coffee; it provides a “third place” community gathering spot between home and work. 

tables and chair inside peet's coffee

In many Peet’s locations, soft chairs and sofas surround customer tables, making it an ideal place for lingering with a cup of joe, chatting with friends, or plugging in a laptop. Peet’s prides itself on creating quintessential neighborhood spaces in a nostalgic, upscale fashion.

Peet’s baristas demonstrate a high level of skill when preparing made-to-order espresso drinks. You can watch them properly grind beans, evenly tamp grounds, and expertly texture steamed milk into microfoam. 

NOTE: Peet’s beverages don’t sit under warmers but are crafted individually upon ordering.

Peet’s Pricing and Availability

When you consider the specialty grade of their coffee as well as their expert small-batch roasting methods, Peet’s is reasonably priced compared to other premium coffee brands. 

While slightly more expensive than mass-market grocery store coffee, Peet’s fans find that the elevated quality and care justifies the extra cost.

Peet’s Coffee is widely available for purchase online and in-store at major grocers like Safeway and Kroger, in addition to warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club. 

Peet’s has over 300 retail locations in the United States. The brand has also established itself in China and Dubai. Customers can join the Peetnik Rewards program to earn free drinks and redeem member coffee perks.

Major Dickason’s Blend

It’s worth mentioning Major Dickason’s Blend, a signature blend that put Peet’s on the map.

In 1969, one of Peet’s original and most loyal customers, retired army sergeant Key Dickason, brought Alfred Peet the idea for what is now their most beloved blend. After some refining, Peet was astounded by the result – so much so that he decided to name the blend after Dickason.

Peet’s Major Dickason Blend
Developed by Mr. Peet and his most discerning customer, Major Dickason’s Blend epitomizes the rich, flavorful taste of Peet’s brewing methods. Rich. Complex. Incomparable.

Major Dickason’s Blend combines some of the best origin coffees from the world’s finest growing regions. Over the years, it has become Peet’s all-time bestselling blend.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Peet’s Coffee Organic?

Peet’s has a variety of organic coffees, all of which are certified USDA Organic. (Note: Peet’s organic options come in green packaging.) Try the Alameda Morning Blend.

Is Peet’s Coffee sustainably grown?

Peet’s works with organizations across the globe to advocate for social responsibility throughout the coffee production supply chain. As of 2021, Peet’s offers 100% responsibly sourced and sustainably grown coffee.

Is Peet’s owned by Starbucks?

No, but Peet’s and Starbucks are historically interconnected. It’s complicated.

Starbucks was originally founded in 1970 by Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegel, and Gordon Bowker, all of whom were inspired by Alfred Peet. Baldwin had previously worked at Peet’s, and upon founding Starbucks, purchased all his raw coffee beans from Peet. But in 1973, Peet urged Baldwin, Siegel, ad Bowker to start their own roasting operations.

Peet sold Peet’s Coffee in 1979. The company was re-sold to Baldwin in 1984. Baldwin then sold Starbucks in 1987 to focus on Peet’s. Baldwin is still on the Peet’s Board of Directors.

In 2012, Peet’s became private when it was acquired $977.6 million, by Joh. A Benckiser (JAB Holding), a German investment group. In August 2014, Peet’s acquired Mighty Leaf Tea, a specialty tea brand based in the Bay Area, in partnership with Next World Group. In October 2015, Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Chicago-based Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea became subsidiaries of Peet’s.

There’s more to the story, and it’s detailed beautifully in this article from Mashed.

Is Peet’s Coffee mold-free?

Peet’s only uses coffee that has passed the USDA verification tests. The company also has its own standards for taste and quality. Peet’s is committed to providing the finest coffee. You can rest assured knowing that your Peet’s coffee is mold-free.

Is Peet’s Coffee low acid?

Peet’s does not measure the acidity in their coffee, but recommends several ways to enjoy a smoother cup including using coffee beans from the Indo-Pacific and drinking Cold Brew.

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