Filed under: Dining
Starbucks may be America's best-known purveyor of coffee, but Peet's Coffee & Tea has been around even longer. Though it has grown considerably in its day, Peet's remains focused on its craft through 188 retail outlets in six states and distribution to grocery stores, restaurants, homes and offices around the country. No surprise, then, that Peet's is a nominee for a Luxist award in the best coffee house category.
Peet's was founded in 1966 by Alfred Peet, a Dutch immigrant outraged by America's coffee-drinking habits upon arriving in San Francisco. He opened his first shop in Berkeley, focusing on making smaller batches, using better beans, and roasting darker coffee than those to which his Californian compatriots were accustomed. Peet's gained a loyal following of "Peetniks," including the founders of Starbucks, who turned to Peet's as a supplier in their early years.
As the millennium turned and Peet's continued to grow, the company went public on the Nasdaq stock exchange in order to help finance further expansion. Wall Street drank it up – shares of Peet's have risen nearly 200% since the initial public offering nearly ten years ago, bolstered by the company's expanded retail locations and robust online presence.
Meanwhile, Peet's continues to follow a philosophy aimed at ensuring it will never lose its old world charm: all beans are never more than a few days old; coffee is brewed fresh every 30 minutes; milk is never re-steamed. Some things do stick around – the original Peet's location still sits on Vine Street in Berkeley.
Vote for the coffee house that you believe is the best of breed. The voting period runs through April 30 and winners will be announced on May 1.