On the day Alfred Peet opened his first coffee store on the corner of Walnut and Vine Streets in Berkeley, CA, he quietly began a revolution in the way Americans experienced the taste and quality of their coffee – a revolution that persists to this day.
Born in Holland, Alfred Peet grew up in the coffee trade and moved to America after World War II. Appalled at the poor quality of coffee being consumed by Americans, he became inspired to open the first Peet’s Coffee & Tea store on April 1, 1966. His style of coffee was a radical departure from what was then available, emphasizing smaller batches, freshness, superior quality beans, and a darker roasting style that produced coffee with richness and complexity.
By 1969, Peet’s Coffee & Tea became a gathering place for coffee devotees, and this success attracted other artisan food purveyors to the neighborhood, which soon became known as the Gourmet Ghetto. Alfred Peet further catalyzed the specialty coffee movement when he mentored and inspired a generation of coffee entrepreneurs, including the founders of Starbucks, whom he supplied with Peet’s roasted beans during their first years of operation.
Over the past four decades, Peet’s growth has been fueled by ever-increasing numbers of coffee lovers in the San Francisco Bay Area and across the nation. With each generation of Peet’s leadership, we have remained true to the quality tenets of our founder, inspired by the same unrelenting pursuit of quality. Our purpose has not changed since 1966 – to seek out opportunities to raise the expectations of American coffee drinkers by attracting and serving those who truly love the taste of coffee, for whom a cup of coffee could only mean a cup of Peet’s.