Coffee guru Alfred Peet opened his first coffee bean shop in Berkeley, California just over 50 years ago, effectively launching a caffeine-fueled revolution. Considered the grandfather of the American gourmet coffee movement, his eponymous coffee shops are now found across the country.
FOUNDER ALFRED PEET WAS INVOLVED IN THE TEA AND COFFEE BUSINESS SINCE HIS CHILDHOOD.
Born in the Netherlands in 1920, Peet grew up assisting his father at the family’s small coffee roastery. In his teens, he worked in London as an apprentice at a coffee and tea company, and he later traveled to Indonesia as a tea taster in the early 1950s.
PEET WAS AGHAST AT WHAT AMERICANS CONSIDERED “COFFEE.”
Seeking new grounds, Peet moved to San Francisco in 1955. At the time however, America was known for drinking coffee that tasted like “dishwater,” according to Jim Reynolds, a longtime ambassador for Peet’s brand (he holds the title of Roastmaster Emeritus). “I came to the richest country in the world, so why are they drinking the lousiest coffee?” Mr. Peet asked himself, and he set out to do something about it.
Hoping to replace the black sludge in Americans’ mugs with premium, imported coffee beans, Peet opened his first store on the corner of Walnut and Vine streets in Berkeley, California in 1966.