Peet’s is a very well-known coffee company that pretty much has a similar reputation as some of the other major players in the game… Starbucks, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Caribou, Costa Coffee, etc.
Some people love it and some people… just don’t!
I personally enjoy Peet’s Coffee, but I can talk more about that later, along with some great recommendations below.
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Whether you love it or hate it, or you haven’t given it a try yet, in this article I’ll give you some fun info and background of this famous coffee company as well.
And without any more jabber, let’s look at some fun background in Peet’s Coffee, followed of course by their best roasts!
Some History Of Peet’s Coffee
Alfred Peet grew up in the Netherlands, where he learned from his father about the business of coffee grinding and wholesale.
When he was 18 in 1938, he moved to London and worked for Twinings Tea.
And in 1955, he moved to San Francisco where he worked for a coffee and tea importer.
In 1966, Peet opened his first “Peet’s Coffee, Tea & Spices” shop in Berkeley, California, close to the university campus.
At the start it only sold coffee beans, not cups of brewed coffee.
He vowed to use only high-quality beans and manually calibrated the roasting system to get a darker, sweeter roast from his coffee.
Proud of his accomplishment, he sent a batch to his mother who replied that it was “too dark”, but he wasn’t too fazed by it and thankfully kept going.
The location of the original Peet’s Coffee is still open in Berkeley.
In 1969, retired army sergeant Key Dickason brought the idea for the ever popular Peet’s roast, Major Dickason’s Blend.
After trying countless combinations, they arrived at what is their best-selling roast.
So Alfred Peet also decided that simply naming it after his friend wasn’t enough… Dickason’s rich, complex blend earned him a promotion from sergeant to Major.
He worked hard for it, after all.
Peet sold the business to Sal Bonavita in 1793, and in 1984 a certain Jerry Baldwin who is a co-founder of Starbucks Coffee bought the four existing Peet’s locations at the time.
But, Starbucks does not own Peet’s Coffee, if you’ve ever wondered that or that questions comes to mind.
Jerry Baldwin temporarily owned both companies, yes, but he ended up keeping Peet’s and sold Starbucks in 1987 to focus on Peet’s.
Howard Schultz, who was Starbucks’ new owner at the time, entered into a four-year non-compete agreement in the Bay Area of California.
Peet’s has continued to grow and throughout the 2000s it has acquired Mighty Leaf Tea, and Stumptown Coffee Roasters… a roaster that I can say I practically hate, actually.
But that’s a whole other story.
Peet’s Coffee is sold in more than 14,000 grocery stores, universities and wholesalers throughout the US.
My Top Recommendations
Ok enough of the history lesson for today.
Now I’ll give you my top recommendations for some Peet’s coffee roasts!
So here they are, with my top recommendation first, the others in no particular order…
#1 – Major Dickason’s Blend
Yes, you may have seen this coming.
Or if you don’t know much about Peet’s, you might look and think, “Yeah sure he says it’s number 1… it’s their most popular coffee!”
But I do try to always be honest in my reviews, and it is in fact my favorite (even though it’s their most popular).
There’s a reason why it’s so popular.
Major Dickason’s Blend is a rich dark roast coffee, complex and well-balanced.
It has a nice robust dark roast taste. It’s a quality coffee, with a well-balanced, dark flavor.
It also makes a great espresso roast if that’s what you’re after.
This coffee is pretty similar to a French roast in some ways… it’s a dark, bold brew.
But Major Dickason’s Blend has a little more floral flavor and balance to it.
It’s an all-around great coffee, and a nice start if you’re new to Peet’s Coffee.
#2 – Big Bang
Another one of Peet’s best-sellers, Big Bang is a medium roast that brings out some of the best of South American and African coffee.
Big Bang combines washed and natural processing methods to bring a smooth and balanced richness in this brew.
It has a fruity flavor profile as many of the South American coffees do, also chocolate and graham crust notes.
It’s great when brewed with pour over or in a French press.
Like all Peet’s coffee, this one has a quality flavor to it.
I love African coffees, and I love good quality South American coffees.
As I’ve stated plenty of other times before, I conversely hate bad quality South American coffees, but it’s usually just the insanely cheap and huge companies like Folgers and stuff that make nasty South American coffees.
Big Bang has Ethiopian coffee that has that delicious citrusy flavor that marks many delicious African coffees.
So if you’re looking to try a great medium roast, give this one a go!
#3 – Cafe Domingo
Another great choice from the legendary roaster is Cafe Domingo.
A three-bean blend that’s all from South America, this medium-bodied java is another medium roast.
Giving flavor notes of toffee, nougat and sweet tones with subdued acidity, it’s a very enjoyable coffee that’s also somewhat straightforward.
The bag describes it as “Smooth, balanced and medium-bodied” and it’s a safe coffee but boasting a quality blend of beans from origins where the coffee is usually, sweet, fruity, light and nutty.
It’s balanced and bright and ideal for a relaxing afternoon.
I didn’t really say this in the beginning of the article, but in truth Alfred Peet is the Godfather of quality coffee roasting in the States.
And unlike many of the other early pioneers of coffee roasting who ended up compromising quality for profit and mass production, companies like Folgers, Maxwell House, and others, Peet stayed true to his commitment to quality coffee.
So for Peet’s sake, we’ve got to give him some good credit there.
Even if today, Peet’s Coffee isn’t the best coffee on the market necessarily, it’s still very good in its own right and deserves credit what it is and its history.
I hope that if you try one or both of these delicious roasts from this article that you really enjoy it!
And if you think there should be more or different coffees on this list, feel free to let me know in the comments section!
I’d love to hear from you if you have any kind of comments or questions.
So thanks for reading, and coffee cheers!