The Man Who Taught Starbucks How to Make Coffee

Alfred Peet, founder of Peet's Coffee and Tea, showed Starbucks the roasting method still used in his stores today.

Alfred Peet grew up immersed in his family’s coffee and tea business in Holland. After World War II, he perfected his craft in Indonesia. He eventually moved to the Bay Area and in 1966 opened Peet’s Coffee and Tea next to the University of California, Berkeley campus, where his high-quality beans and hand-roasting technique soon developed a loyal following of “Peetniks.”

A few years later, the founders of Starbucks hired Peet as a consultant. Peet trained them and taught them how to roast coffee. “Without Peet, we would have gone nowhere,” says Starbucks co-founder Jerry Baldwin.

While Starbucks has taken off, becoming the world’s biggest coffee chain with 11,000 stores, Peet’s has remained relatively modest, with just over 100 stores in the U.S. But loyal customers still insist it does coffee better than anyone else, because its beans are still roasted carefully by hand, while rival stores rely on computers.

But great taste and caffeine aren’t the only uplifting reasons to drink Peet’s. One cup of coffee we feel especially good about is Peet’s Fair Trade Blend, which delivers a livable wage to members of the Costa Rica cooperative that grow it. In addition:

-Peet’s coffee is UTZ certified, meaning it adheres to social and environmental standards.

-Customers get a discount for using their own cup or re-using their coffee bags.

-It supports Coffee Kids and Grounds for Health, dedicated to improving quality of life and providing health care to people in coffee-producing nations.

So go ahead. Be a Peetnik. Click here to support free trade and get superior coffee.