Archive for the ‘Espresso’ Category

Ernesto Illy – a Really Good Coffee Pioneer

Dr. Ernesto Illy

Dr. Ernesto Illy – a Really Good Coffee Pioneer

In the early nineties, they started Coffee Fest in Seattle and that’s where I first saw Ernesto Illy.

What a class act. This man was such an elegant speaker, a real intellectual, a scientist and what seemed to me to be the “high priest” of espresso. He commanded respect but did not abuse it  – he was gentle and kind in his interaction with others and was particularly tolerant with those who had less coffee knowledge. I was in awe as a newbie “coffee wannabe” in my new store struggling to get the business off the ground.

Here was a man, “THE MAN”, who had spent most of his life in the espresso industry – a PhD in Chemistry – who knew more about the acids in coffee than probably  anybody else in the world – talking about flavor and aroma and the art and “science” of coffee.

He wasn’t just a lab guy either. He was a real gentleman and a supporter of the arts. While most Americans were still under the impression that ‘espresso was that nasty bitter black stuff they made in Italy’, Dr Illy was sponsoring Fellini festivals in New York City and creating designer collectible cup collections, that were art in and of themselves.

Dr. Ernesto Illy was also an innovator and created a brilliant design and engineering team in his production facility – not to mention a group of “cupping” experts at the top of their class worldwide, including himself.

Illy did everything for a reason – like smart scientists with integrity do – a good reason.

The Amazing Illy Cafe Roasting Operation and Production Facility

I remember reading some brochures “about Illy Cafe” when I was first considering using the blend. We did subsequently use Illy Cafe at a mobile espresso cart location we had for a while.

The brochure described the roasting facility – fully automated with CNC controlled roasting equipment and infra red scanners that scanned beans approaching the roasting machine on a conveyor system.

Infra red scanners sent the scanned data to the computer and if the beans did not meet quality control specs, an air jet came on and blew the bean off the conveyor into a “reject” bin, where it would subsequently be sold on the commercial coffee market to another roaster.

Bear in mind this was in full operation in the early to mid 90’s (~92 or 93?).

In addition, each batch of coffee had control numbers for the labels. Into the control numbers were coded all the data collected about actual length of time in the roaster, max temp reached, date and time of roasting, etc… These codes were printed on the labels of every package of roasted coffee for inventory control purposes. In the event of a flaw or a production problem, they could identify and remove all of the rest of the batch from inventory.

They were also roasting 40,000 lbs per shift at the time.

WOW…

Illy and his cupping experts developed relationships with the finest growers and plantations worldwide and developed a 9 bean blend. The reason they did this is because varietals change flavor profiles through different seasons and with 9 beans in the blend they could minimize the flavor variations and maintain a highly consistent flavor profile year round – even though some of the varietals themselves varied considerably.

Dr Illy’s Amazing Packaging Solved the Problem of Keeping Beans Fresh During Worldwide Shipping

As I remember, Illy sent out specs for quote to all the major existing packaging operations – when he was looking for package suppliers – requesting quotes for cannisters that could be pressurized with inert gas to seal in the freshness of the coffee beans after they were packaged and sealed. They were to hold about 5 lbs of coffee.

Apparently none of the manufacturers had the capacity to produce or supply the cannisters to his design. Illy finally called his engineers together and designed, and then built all the equipment they needed to make their own cannisters to spec on demand – right there in their facility.

So they designed the automated cannister fabricating equipment and the built it themselves and integrated it into the overall production process.

Now that’s ingenuity.

As a result of this technology, Illy  Cafe (whole espresso beans) can be stored in their factory pressurized containers in nitrogen for three years without going stale and the amazing thing is that after they breath a while and adjust to the environment, the blend is exceptionally smooth and always consistent.

The crema is rich and sweet and extracts like fresh roasted espresso – because it is – even though it isn’t.

Awesome technology solution.

There are many things about Dr. Illy that made him special. He was a man who truly found his purpose in life and excelled to new heights by establishing precedents in technology, quality and expertise. He set the bar high for future generations to exceed.

He was a great contributor and leader in the industry and the industry will be hard pressed to replace a man of his caliber and excellence. He was a man of singular accomplishments and intelligence.

A Touching Tribute to the Espresso Giant

Here is a picture of and a touching tribute to Dr Ernesto Illy – a Really Good Coffee Pioneer by Mark Prince, Coffee at the Moment, writing for CoffeeGeek.com. Reading this article brought tears to my eyes because I felt the sincerity and the love Mark had for Dr. Illy. I too share that admiration and respect.  Dr. Ernesto Illy was a scientist, an artist , a humanitarian and an innovator rolled into one.

Truly a great man…

Ernesto Illy – a Really Good Coffee Pioneer

Dr. Ernesto Illy

Dr. Ernesto Illy – a Really Good Coffee Pioneer

In the early nineties, they started Coffee Fest in Seattle and that’s where I first saw Ernesto Illy.

What a class act. This man was such an elegant speaker, a real intellectual, a scientist and what seemed to me to be the “high priest” of espresso. He commanded respect but did not abuse it  – he was gentle and kind in his interaction with others and was particularly tolerant with those who had less coffee knowledge. I was in awe as a newbie “coffee wannabe” in my new store struggling to get the business off the ground.

Here was a man, “THE MAN”, who had spent most of his life in the espresso industry – a PhD in Chemistry – who knew more about the acids in coffee than probably  anybody else in the world – talking about flavor and aroma and the art and “science” of coffee.

He wasn’t just a lab guy either. He was a real gentleman and a supporter of the arts. While most Americans were still under the impression that ‘espresso was that nasty bitter black stuff they made in Italy’, Dr Illy was sponsoring Fellini festivals in New York City and creating designer collectible cup collections, that were art in and of themselves.

Dr. Ernesto Illy was also an innovator and created a brilliant design and engineering team in his production facility – not to mention a group of “cupping” experts at the top of their class worldwide, including himself.

Illy did everything for a reason – like smart scientists with integrity do – a good reason.

The Amazing Illy Cafe Roasting Operation and Production Facility

I remember reading some brochures “about Illy Cafe” when I was first considering using the blend. We did subsequently use Illy Cafe at a mobile espresso cart location we had for a while.

The brochure described the roasting facility – fully automated with CNC controlled roasting equipment and infra red scanners that scanned beans approaching the roasting machine on a conveyor system.

Infra red scanners sent the scanned data to the computer and if the beans did not meet quality control specs, an air jet came on and blew the bean off the conveyor into a “reject” bin, where it would subsequently be sold on the commercial coffee market to another roaster.

Bear in mind this was in full operation in the early to mid 90’s (~92 or 93?).

In addition, each batch of coffee had control numbers for the labels. Into the control numbers were coded all the data collected about actual length of time in the roaster, max temp reached, date and time of roasting, etc… These codes were printed on the labels of every package of roasted coffee for inventory control purposes. In the event of a flaw or a production problem, they could identify and remove all of the rest of the batch from inventory.

They were also roasting 40,000 lbs per shift at the time.

WOW…

Illy and his cupping experts developed relationships with the finest growers and plantations worldwide and developed a 9 bean blend. The reason they did this is because varietals change flavor profiles through different seasons and with 9 beans in the blend they could minimize the flavor variations and maintain a highly consistent flavor profile year round – even though some of the varietals themselves varied considerably.

Dr Illy’s Amazing Packaging Solved the Problem of Keeping Beans Fresh During Worldwide Shipping

As I remember, Illy sent out specs for quote to all the major existing packaging operations – when he was looking for package suppliers – requesting quotes for cannisters that could be pressurized with inert gas to seal in the freshness of the coffee beans after they were packaged and sealed. They were to hold about 5 lbs of coffee.

Apparently none of the manufacturers had the capacity to produce or supply the cannisters to his design. Illy finally called his engineers together and designed, and then built all the equipment they needed to make their own cannisters to spec on demand – right there in their facility.

So they designed the automated cannister fabricating equipment and the built it themselves and integrated it into the overall production process.

Now that’s ingenuity.

As a result of this technology, Illy  Cafe (whole espresso beans) can be stored in their factory pressurized containers in nitrogen for three years without going stale and the amazing thing is that after they breath a while and adjust to the environment, the blend is exceptionally smooth and always consistent.

The crema is rich and sweet and extracts like fresh roasted espresso – because it is – even though it isn’t.

Awesome technology solution.

There are many things about Dr. Illy that made him special. He was a man who truly found his purpose in life and excelled to new heights by establishing precedents in technology, quality and expertise. He set the bar high for future generations to exceed.

He was a great contributor and leader in the industry and the industry will be hard pressed to replace a man of his caliber and excellence. He was a man of singular accomplishments and intelligence.

A Touching Tribute to the Espresso Giant

Here is a picture of and a touching tribute to Dr Ernesto Illy – a Really Good Coffee Pioneer by Mark Prince, Coffee at the Moment, writing for CoffeeGeek.com. Reading this article brought tears to my eyes because I felt the sincerity and the love Mark had for Dr. Illy. I too share that admiration and respect.  Dr. Ernesto Illy was a scientist, an artist , a humanitarian and an innovator rolled into one.

Truly a great man…

For Really Good Coffee In Seattle – Have You Tried Lighthouse?

Did you try Lighthouse Roasters while in Seattle for Really Good Coffee because if not you better go back to Seattle ASAP!

My partner, in this coffee lovers romance, has his own tale to tell about Lighthouse Roasters in Seattle but I am getting the jump on him and telling you mine first.  It’s one of those love affair stories that one tells over and over for the sheer satisfaction of the memory.

It’s like this; we pulled into Seattle after driving across country from the east coast about three weeks earlier.  We had worked two back to back week long events in L.A. for a T. Harv Eker seminar called Train the Trainer II and it had been a grueling but life changing two weeks. After that we drove up the coast to San Francisco then on to Washington via Mount Shasta. We had been on the road all night and  I was really excited and looking forward to my first sight of Seattle.  I didn’t know what to expect but I felt like a seven year old in anticipation of Disney World.  Just for the record, I was not disappointed. My first sight of Mt. Rainier was orgasmic.  I am a mountain loving woman. 

Now everyone knows that Seattle is synonomous with coffee.  It’s a fact.  Like many people from the east coast, when I think Seattle and coffee I usually think Starbucks, right?  That’s a tale for another time, but on this occasion I got my comeuppance from a real self made barista. He started driving the back roads of a neat old neighborhood that led us to the smell of coffee roasting that made my body leap for joy in anticipation. 

"Wow!  I smell coffee and I can’t wait to get my hands around a cup!", I all but shouted as we got nearer to the Lighthouse Roasters.  " How do they make it smell so good from blocks away?" I asked. 

"Lighthouse is a microroaster." he said,"you’re in for some really good coffee." Thus began my coffee education in February of 2006.  I think that must have been about two centuries ago. 

Anyway, I was craning my neck looking for an impressive, large, Starbucks type structure when we pulled up to this little coffeehouse that looked like a small neighborhood bar. The scent of the coffee lured me out of my car and into the building where we promptly got into a long line of highly educated caffeine addicts.   I was drinking with my nose as I stood in that line soaking up the scent of freshly roasted coffee beans.  This is heaven, I thought. 

The place wasn’t much to write home about. At that time, it was actually kind of funky to this patron of a hundred Starbucks who was spoiled by big comfy leather chairs and hip coffee art and coffee supplies of all sorts to choose from.  I like Starbucks and I count on Starbucks but this was something different and unique.  I wanted to buy this place and move to Seattle immediately!  I do have love affairs with places and I was in love! 

I felt as though I had discovered – well been led to – a secret treasure hidden in the heart of Seattle for real coffee aficionados and my Honey had just brought lucky me into the loop of the secret inner circle.  I felt really good as I stood there checking out all the people in the packed coffeehouse and waited impatiently for my cup-a-joe. 

Actually it was a rather large latte that they placed in my hands and the first taste was something to write about in my travel diary.  In fact, as I sat there making love to that latte, I wrote in my journal about Lighthouse Roasters and how I would never ever forget this first latte there.  True to my word I have not. 

Sadly, I have yet to get back to Seattle for a rendezvous at Lighthouse on the corner N.43rd and Phinney Ridge in the Fremont District. When you are in Seattle I beg you, dare you, to take the time to check out Lighthouse Roasters and their special brand of espresso, latte, coffee anyway you like it cup of joe.  Oh my. 

I can only say you are in for a treat and you will need to take some home.  In fact, I am due for a shipment of Lighthouse Roasters brand of Really Good Coffee and I am antsy with anticipation.  

 

For Really Good Coffee In Seattle – Have You Tried Lighthouse?

Did you try Lighthouse Roasters while in Seattle for Really Good Coffee because if not you better go back to Seattle ASAP!

My partner, in this coffee lovers romance, has his own tale to tell about Lighthouse Roasters in Seattle but I am getting the jump on him and telling you mine first.  It’s one of those love affair stories that one tells over and over for the sheer satisfaction of the memory.

It’s like this; we pulled into Seattle after driving across country from the east coast about three weeks earlier.  We had worked two back to back week long events in L.A. for a T. Harv Eker seminar called Train the Trainer II and it had been a grueling but life changing two weeks. After that we drove up the coast to San Francisco then on to Washington via Mount Shasta. We had been on the road all night and  I was really excited and looking forward to my first sight of Seattle.  I didn’t know what to expect but I felt like a seven year old in anticipation of Disney World.  Just for the record, I was not disappointed. My first sight of Mt. Rainier was orgasmic.  I am a mountain loving woman. 

Now everyone knows that Seattle is synonomous with coffee.  It’s a fact.  Like many people from the east coast, when I think Seattle and coffee I usually think Starbucks, right?  That’s a tale for another time, but on this occasion I got my comeuppance from a real self made barista. He started driving the back roads of a neat old neighborhood that led us to the smell of coffee roasting that made my body leap for joy in anticipation. 

"Wow!  I smell coffee and I can’t wait to get my hands around a cup!", I all but shouted as we got nearer to the Lighthouse Roasters.  " How do they make it smell so good from blocks away?" I asked. 

"Lighthouse is a microroaster." he said,"you’re in for some really good coffee." Thus began my coffee education in February of 2006.  I think that must have been about two centuries ago. 

Anyway, I was craning my neck looking for an impressive, large, Starbucks type structure when we pulled up to this little coffeehouse that looked like a small neighborhood bar. The scent of the coffee lured me out of my car and into the building where we promptly got into a long line of highly educated caffeine addicts.   I was drinking with my nose as I stood in that line soaking up the scent of freshly roasted coffee beans.  This is heaven, I thought. 

The place wasn’t much to write home about. At that time, it was actually kind of funky to this patron of a hundred Starbucks who was spoiled by big comfy leather chairs and hip coffee art and coffee supplies of all sorts to choose from.  I like Starbucks and I count on Starbucks but this was something different and unique.  I wanted to buy this place and move to Seattle immediately!  I do have love affairs with places and I was in love! 

I felt as though I had discovered – well been led to – a secret treasure hidden in the heart of Seattle for real coffee aficionados and my Honey had just brought lucky me into the loop of the secret inner circle.  I felt really good as I stood there checking out all the people in the packed coffeehouse and waited impatiently for my cup-a-joe. 

Actually it was a rather large latte that they placed in my hands and the first taste was something to write about in my travel diary.  In fact, as I sat there making love to that latte, I wrote in my journal about Lighthouse Roasters and how I would never ever forget this first latte there.  True to my word I have not. 

Sadly, I have yet to get back to Seattle for a rendezvous at Lighthouse on the corner N.43rd and Phinney Ridge in the Fremont District. When you are in Seattle I beg you, dare you, to take the time to check out Lighthouse Roasters and their special brand of espresso, latte, coffee anyway you like it cup of joe.  Oh my. 

I can only say you are in for a treat and you will need to take some home.  In fact, I am due for a shipment of Lighthouse Roasters brand of Really Good Coffee and I am antsy with anticipation.  

 

Where Did Really Good Coffee Come From?

Who is Really Good Coffee dot Com?

Maybe you’re asking yourself:

Who are these guys?

What do they know about coffee anyway?

Maybe they’re just coffee snobs who think they know what’s going on.

Actually, this website is one of those warm and fuzzy projects I’ve had in mind for years because I love really good coffee and have since 1966.

In the 90’s, I was co-owner of a little espresso shop called The Morning Shot for 3.5 years in Seattle. That experience taught me a lot about the specialty coffee business and espresso. We also had an espresso cart at two different locations.

After the sale of the shop, I pioneered Oscar’s syrups and the Cappucine line in the Seattle market as a broker – calling on espresso operators to drive distributor business.

Peets Was a Very Good Business Model

Prior to that, my interest in the specialty coffee business was prompted by a 1988 article in Fortune or Forbes (can’t remember which). As I sat in front of the Peets Coffee (across the street from the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, California), drinking a cup of Joe from Peets, I read that in 1987 Peets had been the most profitable retail operation in the United States – on a

[ $ / square foot ]  basis. That really got my attention.

In 1990, I began researching the espresso business in earnest and creating a business plan. And believe me, I did my homework. In addition, as a retail owner in the business (and later a broker) I got to know a lot of other operators and vendors in the business – primarily Micro Roasters and independents.

Over the course of thousands of hours on the espresso bar – with diligence as well as trial and error – I figured out how to make really good coffee. But not before chasing a lot of good customers away with bad coffee – first.

There’s a lot that goes into producing a good cup.

Of course the blend and the roaster is where it all starts.

But it’s amazing how many "espresso operators" can take a perfectly good bean and ruin it. This isn’t really a reflection on the people personally – and most of them really want to do a good job – like I did. But the difference is that I stuck with it until I figured it out. Lots of operators just don’t have a clue and the simplest way to verify that statement is to taste their coffee.

Today, I can tell what’s going on in an espresso shop about 2 minutes after I walk in the place.

Trial by Fire

As an espresso bar owner – on the commuter flight path into downtown Seattle during rush hour – I learned how to survive first and then thrive in a highly competitive market. The pinnacle accomplishment of The Morning Shot was being written up with a full page in the Sunday Seattle Times Pacific Magazine by the food critic, John Hinterberger.

BTW, a lot of the accolades go to my co-owner, a classically trained French chef, an incredibly hard worker, an all around fantastic lady and my best friend for 15 years, Lori Taylor. Her culinary expertise, hard work and exceptional customer service skills made the place what is was – day after day.

But I was the coffee guy…

The espresso business, by the way, is a blast. I’ve often said it has all of the best elements of owning a bar without the drunks.

Over the course of 3+ years, 6 days a week, 10-14 hours a day working on the espresso bar, I learned a lot about:

  • people
  • how to make really good coffee
  • how people think about coffee
  • perceived value

My intention is to create a really interesting blog and to inform people in a manner that appeals to the intellect. There are a thousand and one stories that I can tell as I dust off the mental archives and tell my espresso story.

And we’ll be reporting live from around the country (in our travels) about:

  • neat little places we find and
  • things we learn about coffee along the way

We’d love to get your feedback and we’d love to be know it if we make a mistake. My other half, Alexandra – the love of my life – is my co-author. She has risen rapidly from the ranks of a Dunkin Donuts coffee fan to a quasi-virtual coffee snob, in a mere two years (under my tutelage).

Besides that, she can write.

Together, with your feedback and participation, we are going to create a great blog and resource.

Look forward to hearing from you.

And we hope you enjoy your really good coffee today.

Where Did Really Good Coffee Come From?

Who is Really Good Coffee dot Com?

Maybe you’re asking yourself:

Who are these guys?

What do they know about coffee anyway?

Maybe they’re just coffee snobs who think they know what’s going on.

Actually, this website is one of those warm and fuzzy projects I’ve had in mind for years because I love really good coffee and have since 1966.

In the 90’s, I was co-owner of a little espresso shop called The Morning Shot for 3.5 years in Seattle. That experience taught me a lot about the specialty coffee business and espresso. We also had an espresso cart at two different locations.

After the sale of the shop, I pioneered Oscar’s syrups and the Cappucine line in the Seattle market as a broker – calling on espresso operators to drive distributor business.

Peets Was a Very Good Business Model

Prior to that, my interest in the specialty coffee business was prompted by a 1988 article in Fortune or Forbes (can’t remember which). As I sat in front of the Peets Coffee (across the street from the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, California), drinking a cup of Joe from Peets, I read that in 1987 Peets had been the most profitable retail operation in the United States – on a

[ $ / square foot ]  basis. That really got my attention.

In 1990, I began researching the espresso business in earnest and creating a business plan. And believe me, I did my homework. In addition, as a retail owner in the business (and later a broker) I got to know a lot of other operators and vendors in the business – primarily Micro Roasters and independents.

Over the course of thousands of hours on the espresso bar – with diligence as well as trial and error – I figured out how to make really good coffee. But not before chasing a lot of good customers away with bad coffee – first.

There’s a lot that goes into producing a good cup.

Of course the blend and the roaster is where it all starts.

But it’s amazing how many "espresso operators" can take a perfectly good bean and ruin it. This isn’t really a reflection on the people personally – and most of them really want to do a good job – like I did. But the difference is that I stuck with it until I figured it out. Lots of operators just don’t have a clue and the simplest way to verify that statement is to taste their coffee.

Today, I can tell what’s going on in an espresso shop about 2 minutes after I walk in the place.

Trial by Fire

As an espresso bar owner – on the commuter flight path into downtown Seattle during rush hour – I learned how to survive first and then thrive in a highly competitive market. The pinnacle accomplishment of The Morning Shot was being written up with a full page in the Sunday Seattle Times Pacific Magazine by the food critic, John Hinterberger.

BTW, a lot of the accolades go to my co-owner, a classically trained French chef, an incredibly hard worker, an all around fantastic lady and my best friend for 15 years, Lori Taylor. Her culinary expertise, hard work and exceptional customer service skills made the place what is was – day after day.

But I was the coffee guy…

The espresso business, by the way, is a blast. I’ve often said it has all of the best elements of owning a bar without the drunks.

Over the course of 3+ years, 6 days a week, 10-14 hours a day working on the espresso bar, I learned a lot about:

  • people
  • how to make really good coffee
  • how people think about coffee
  • perceived value

My intention is to create a really interesting blog and to inform people in a manner that appeals to the intellect. There are a thousand and one stories that I can tell as I dust off the mental archives and tell my espresso story.

And we’ll be reporting live from around the country (in our travels) about:

  • neat little places we find and
  • things we learn about coffee along the way

We’d love to get your feedback and we’d love to be know it if we make a mistake. My other half, Alexandra – the love of my life – is my co-author. She has risen rapidly from the ranks of a Dunkin Donuts coffee fan to a quasi-virtual coffee snob, in a mere two years (under my tutelage).

Besides that, she can write.

Together, with your feedback and participation, we are going to create a great blog and resource.

Look forward to hearing from you.

And we hope you enjoy your really good coffee today.

Dunn Bros Is Really Good Coffee

We are coffee lovers and Dunn Bros really is Really Good Coffee.

Incidentally, while on a first time business trip to Kansas City, Kansas, we set about locating a place worthy of our coffee palates and much to our surprise on Metcalf Street aka Hywy. 635, we stumbled upon a sweet and cozy little shop called Dunn Bros

Here is a video of a store opening in Minnesota.

Mind you, in all our travels neither one of us had ever heard of Dunn Brothers Coffee before.  We thought we’d found a rare gem of a coffee shop and it was everything we’d hoped for.  The moment we walked in we knew we were in for a treat. Our eyes lit up as we gave each other a knowing smile. 

You can’t fool coffee connoisseurs.  

The Crema Was Superb and the Aftertaste Sweet and Exceptionally Tasty

The staff was college age and well trained. They were friendly, helpful in answering our questions about the area, and knew how to make a great cup of joe!  My latte was perfect and creamy, and the espresso perfecto. They took pride in telling us that they roast their own coffee beans which  come from all over the world (divine French Roast) and we knew it because the smell was heavenly.  I was ready to move in and set up an office there.

I loved the ambiance and the KC(Overland Park), KS store truly had an inviting one.  The large multisided brick fireplace in the center of the store was surrounded by really comfy, seductively inviting, oversized arm chairs and lots of little tables with newspapers, magazines, etc… They had WIFI which we really  needed  in order to maximize our time there.   We had a few different cups of coffee just to check them out because we love it.  On one of our visits I even ate a sandwich which I never eat in coffee shops because I go there for the coffee but I just didn’t want to leave to go eat lunch.

All the furniture was arranged around the fireplace and I felt as though I were a guest in someone’s home so I really relaxed (short of putting on my jammies and slippers).  There were also plenty of tables and chairs along the large storefront windows so the natural light was excellent for reading. Honestly I didn’t want to leave and we went back several times during that trip in November. 

The crazy thing is that for months we had no idea it was a coffee chain that started in Minnesota.  Recently I found the above video on YouTube and several others too.  There are Dunn Brothers Coffee shops in half a dozen states in the midwest and it seems that the crowd is all ages.  Apparently there is a growing coffeehouse atmosphere among the Dunn Bros stores and the musicians love to play there adding even more desirabilitiy to the coffeehouse reputation.

Great coffee and inviting ambiance combined with lots of acoustic guitar and folksinger talent.  Unbeatable and winning combination. And if you are traveling the country and want a great cup of coffee in the midwest here is a Dunn Bros store locator.

I have become a real devotee of Dunn Bros Coffee and I am looking for a reason to go to any state that has a Dunn Bros Coffeehouse in it. 

Take it from us-Dunn Brothers is Really Good Coffee.

Really Good Coffee Was the Alfred Peet Legacy

Alfred Peet was the son of a coffee trader in the Netherlands – he grew up in a coffee house.

I remember when he opened his first coffee store – located at Walnut and Vine in my hometown of Berkeley in 1966. It became a success very quickly.

Not long after, the Air Quality Control Board of California came knocking and told him that he could not have a roasting operation in that location.

"What’s the problem with this location?"

"The neighbors are complaining and this is fundamentally a residential neighborhood. You have to move it."

So Mr. Peet had to move the roasting operation to a different location to accomodate them.

At the time, Emeryville (a town adjacent to the south west of Berkeley) was kind of an industrial wasteland with many old warehouses and empty factories – left over from an era when America had been the foremost manufacturing powerhouse in the world. It had not been renovated yet.

Square footage was cheap there and abundent.

So Mr. Peet leased a commercial space in Emeryville, California and set up his roasting equipment. Looking inside the building was this huge warehouse space (relatively speaking) and this little tiny roasting machine way down at the end.

Now he had a roasting facility.

How was he going to pay for it?

He needed a commercial customer to generate the cash flow to accomodate the rent.

Peet’s first commercial roasting customer was a little company in Seattle named Starbucks.

Peets Coffee is a Berkeley icon and has set the standard for really good coffee and quality espresso since.

More about Peets Coffee and Tea.

Peets Coffee Pioneered Really Good Coffee

Peets Coffee Started The Whole Coffee Experience On The West Coast

Flashback: Peets Coffee in Berkeley, California at the original roasteria on the corner of Walnut and Vine – three blocks away from the pediatrician who tended me as a child. It is 1967, I can remember standing in line with 20-50 other people everyday waiting for my cup of java.

Most of us had our favorite ceramic mugs in our hands because they knocked a dime off the price if you had your own cup…

and we were an ecologically conscious group.

Berkeley in the 60’s – Who’d of Thought – History in the Making

Talk About a Piece of Nostalgia. People’s Park and all. Janice and Jimmy and The Dead…

If I remember correctly, it cost $.55 and $.45 if you had your own cup. The dime made a difference but the real reason was the flavor. It tasted better in ceramic.

The coffee was so darn good and the smells coming out of that place were comforting and wonderful. Aroma central…

It generally didn’t matter what time of day it was either, it was always busy – which was cool because the staff was great – friendly, and they obviously loved their jobs and Peets coffee.

 

Fast, Hot, Fresh and Exceptional Coffee

They were pretty fast too, but we didn’t mind waiting. The coffee was worth it. At fourteen, it amazed me how fast they moved and how much coffee they brewed – and how they made it taste so good.

Because it was so busy, the coffee was always freshly brewed. I didn’t drink espresso back then. Drinking doppios was an acquired taste.

Can’t Remember My First Cup…

Thinking back I can’t remember when I wasn’t a coffee drinker – and yet I can’t remember my "first cup" either.

As I write this, that was 40 years ago.

Whether Peets was my first coffee experience – or not – I couldn’t tell you at this point. But it became the standard in my mind and in my palate against which all other coffee has been measured since.

It was the place where I learned to appreciate quality.

This little store on the corner of Walnut and Vine in Berkeley was the birthplace of the modern day espresso company of today and in many repects the origin of Starbucks.

Alfred Peet was a master of his craft.

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