4 impressions of Peet’s Coffee

Peet's On MarketPhoto by Jeremy Brooks via Flickr

Where 88 Caribous now stand, Peet’s will rise.

Minnesota-based Caribou Coffee is closing 80 stores nationwide, and re-branding another 88 as Peet’s Coffee.

Via KARE 11:

The 80 stores, labeled as under-performing, will be shuttered April 14. At this point the locations of those stores have not been identified, and it is unclear whether any of them are in Minnesota or western Wisconsin.

The 88 locations that will be re-branded are located across Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Illinois and Eastern Wisconsin. They will be converted to Peet’s Coffee & Tea locations over the next 12 to 18 months.

Alfred Peet, who moved to the U.S. from Holland after World War II, opened his first coffee shop in Berkeley, California in 1966. His motivation? Disgust with the lousy coffee he found across the land. Peet’s can take some credit for spawning Starbucks. The founders of Starbucks all knew Alfred Peet, and bought beans from him.

I spent a lot of time and money in various Peet’s locations in the San Francisco Bay area, so here are my impressions, for those of you who’ve never been to one.

  1. The coffee is generally darker. Peet’s believes in longer roasting times.
  2. The pastries are better than what you get at Starbucks or Caribou. Peet’s seems to select higher-end pastry vendors.
  3. Wi-Fi is a pain. Stores I’ve hung out in require you to ask for a code from a barista, and your time online is capped before you have to ask for a new code.
  4. The vibe is funkier. Peet’s outlets seems less corporate than Starbucks or Caribou, even though they really aren’t.