Posts Tagged ‘air quality control’

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.




Worthwhile Links
February 2018
« Jan