View Full Version : Another coffee thread: Why do all Pete's beans taste better to me than anything else?

09-25-2012, 10:59 AM
After several months (a year?) of buying whole bean and doing french press, I've bought dozens different brands and roasts, at chain stores and local roasters.

I've found a decaf I like quite a bit at a local roaster.

But for "regular" whole beans, I've found that Pete's beans are smoother, richer and more full flavored than anything else I've tried. I have no explanation for this and I was hoping the 'dope could help me. I've spent up to $40/pound on coffee as well making Pete's is smack dab in the middle of pricing, so I can't imagine my mind's leading me to enjoy it more due to price. My uneducated mind guesses that Pete's uses a technique that I can then go forward and ask about/seek out.

The Pete's roasts available to me in my local Target are the Major Dickason's blend (my all time favorite), and Cafe Domingo and Colombia.

09-25-2012, 11:13 AM
They just seem to be slightly more serious about coffee than Starbuck's and don't overroast, even for their darker stuff. I remember going to the Peet's in Berkeley back in the day and they concentrated on provided a variety of high quality coffee and tea from all over the world. They seem to have carried on that commitment to a pretty good degree even while addressing the demand for frou-frou whipped and frozen things.

Typo Negative
09-25-2012, 11:55 AM
We used to get Starbucks here at the office. Now we get Peets.

As a punishment for something, I guess.

09-25-2012, 12:46 PM
... the Major Dickason's blend (my all time favorite)...

As I often tell the ladies, "Big Dick is best!"

(I still think that would make a great commercial.)

09-25-2012, 02:47 PM
I discovered Peets when I lived in LA. It has also become my favorite brand. Even though I have been drinking coffee for many years, though not heavily, the cup of Peets coffee was the first cup of coffee I ever had that really fired me up, caffeine-wise. It was a revelation on several levels.

I also learned that Peets is the original source of Starbucks beans. It seems that the founder of Peets wasn't interested in expansion and a couple of employees set out and founded Starbucks. Initially, the got their beans from Peets.

Starbucks became famous for their dark roasted beans. But, as others have mentioned, compared to something like Peets, I'd characterize the Starbucks taste as "burnt" rather than dark.

09-25-2012, 08:56 PM
I don't drink coffee but I've been in Peet's (for the tea) and overheard the explanation from an employee that their beans tend to be much fresher, especially compared to Starbucks. I think they implied that a reason for/effect of Starbucks' darker roast lets them use older beans without much change in the flavor. Of course that's only as much as what Peet's employees know.

China Guy
09-25-2012, 10:22 PM
I can't help you but Peet's is sooooooo much better. I'm from around the Bay Area so maybe I'm biased. Starbucks to me is always over-roasted/burned. Try the Sulawesi versus Starbucks - gah, one is divine and one is dreck.

09-27-2012, 02:38 PM
I still don't understand how Peet's (just realized I spelled it incorrectly in the thread title, whoops) can compete with a local roaster.

If it's freshness, they should win hands down. If it's sourcing -- why is a blend superior to me than any single sources I've purchased.

It (clearly!) bothers me, if only because I can't pinpoint *what* precisely I like about every Peet's bean I've tried.


Doctor Who
09-27-2012, 03:02 PM
Ummm... Tully's (http://tullys.com/) for the win!

teela brown
09-27-2012, 03:11 PM
Peet's shines as an exception to the rule that chains usually suck. I don't know how they do it, either - I'm just happy that it's so. We buy our whole beans (Arabian Mocha Sanani - yum!) from Peet's every week. And Peet's makes a brilliant decaf; I always get a triple decaf espresso when I'm in the store buying my whole beans.

China Guy
09-27-2012, 09:54 PM
I still don't understand how Peet's (just realized I spelled it incorrectly in the thread title, whoops) can compete with a local roaster. A lot of local roasters just aren't that good.

There's a guy in Boulder that roasts in his espresso bar next to McGuckins. He's good.

09-27-2012, 10:16 PM
We love Pete's. We're Peetniks; we have 3 lbs delivered every 4 weeks. The Kiddo has started drinking coffee and we ran out before our next delivery. Suburban Plankton ran out to Starbucks and bought a pound to tide us over. The difference was immediately noticeable.

And of course, living in Northern California, Peet's is practically local.

09-28-2012, 08:27 AM
Yeah, I have to get Peet's from my local grocery store as there are no locations here in middle-of-the-state Ohio. Major Dickinson's is all I've had and I love it. A local roaster has opened in our neighborhood and as I prefer to support local businesses, especially in an economically disadvantaged neighborhood such as mine, I've started buying all my whole bean there. They do a very good job but I do love my Peet's.

12-01-2012, 07:47 PM
I liked Peet's fine as it was head and shoulders better that the burnt stuff Starbucks put out, but I have to tell you that drinking Ingelligencia Celebration Blend is AMAZING. Sure, it's a mighty hipsterish spot, and hella expensive, but their coffee is fantastic.

12-01-2012, 08:07 PM
I think the answer is simple enough, and on their website (http://peets.com/who_we_are/difference_roasting.asp):

We roast by hand, not by computer. We roast in small batches, paying close attention to the individual characteristics that each coffee or blend requires. We roast all 32 of our coffees every day. And we roast to taste, not to color.

12-02-2012, 11:29 AM
I just found Peet's at my local Kroger! I think I'd heard it mentioned here somewhere, and grabbed a couple of bags to try. Nice stuff. I'm not faithful to any particular brand so far (all depends on my mood), but it's definitely going to be a regular in my coffee cabinet.

12-02-2012, 12:53 PM
A lot of local roasters just aren't that good.

There's a guy in Boulder that roasts in his espresso bar next to McGuckins. He's good.

I thought maybe that was it too, but upon review this is *the* best local roaster (Pittsburgh's actually pretty coffee crazy) and I asked for their best / most popular roast, still can't hold a candle to Peet's.

I also really like 49th Parallel's Latitude blend.

I'm wondering about the "hand vs computer" thing. Wonder how I could find out more?

12-02-2012, 02:25 PM
I can't get to the website from work to get you a specific link, but williamsbrewing.com has a book for sale about home-roasting coffee, as well as several coffee roasters which are probably WAY too expensive for the first-timer (lots of people use a hot air popcorn popper, which you can pick up used at a thrift store if you don't mind your first few batches of coffee tasting like popcorn).

Johnny Angel
12-02-2012, 09:16 PM
I hadn't even heard of Peet's having their own shops. I've found it the best coffee available at my local grocery store, but since usually Starbucks is a little cheaper, and more often on sale, we used to get that. But then we discovered that the bulk bean coffee at a local chain called Sprout's is actually pretty good and cheaper even when it's not on sale, which it often is. Apparently, the get their coffee from an outfit called Volcanic Red or something like that.

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