Alfred Peet wanted to provide regular coffee drinkers with a trustworthy, high-end coffee line that wasn’t afraid to roast dark blends, use quality beans, and was known for being equitable and affordable. With Alfred’s first shop opening in Berkeley, Peet’s Coffee now has over 200 coffee shops across the United States and is sold in most major grocery stores.
At a Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Best Peets Coffee
Quick Summary: Best Peets Coffee
Our Top ChoiceMajor Dickason’s Blend
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|Arabian Mocha-Java||Check on Amazon →|
|Kenya Auction Lot||Check Price→|
|JR Reserve Blend||Check on Amazon →|
|Big Bang||Check on Amazon →|
|Café Domingo||Check on Amazon →|
|Luminosa Breakfast Blend||Check on Amazon →|
|Costa Rica Aurora||Check on Amazon →|
|Espresso Forte||Check on Amazon →|
Where It All Started
Alfred Peet began his coffee career in Alkmaar, Holland, where he grew up helping his father run a coffee and tea store. Although it would be years before he opened his first coffee shop, Alfred had quite the journey across the globe learning about all things coffee.
Spending a few years in Indonesia working for a tea company, Alfred then went on to live in New Zealand briefly before making his way to California where he worked in the coffee import field.
Alfred often joked, saying that America might be “the richest country in the world [but it] drinks the lousiest coffee.”
He set out to change this when he opened his roastery and coffee shop in Berkeley, CA, opening April 1st of 1966. With his prior experience and knowledge of the coffee industry, Alfred set out to master roasting dark roasts – and he did.
Peet’s Coffee has since grown exponentially, selling in over 14,000 grocery stores across the US alone and bringing in a revenue of $983.0M annually.
What Makes Peet’s Unique?
Peet’s Coffee is known primarily for its quality dark roasts. Most coffee roasters will perfect 1-2 dark roast blends but primarily stay within the medium roast range.
This is because roasting your coffee beans dark can often extract all the unique and full-bodied flavors of the beans and can lead to a burnt and sour-tasting brew.
Alfred was committed to using quality beans that are ethically sourced and roasting with all the intention and care necessary to get a rich, sweet, and darkest of dark roasts.
Not only did he manage to do this successfully, but Alfred went on to train many others to do the same, including three young entrepreneurs who would later go on to be the founders of Starbucks Coffee.
Alfred also brought in his knowledge and experience in the tea field, and in 2014, Peet purchased Mighty Leaf Tea, making it a leader in both the coffee and tea industry.
Where Does Peet’s Source Its Beans?
Peet’s Coffee is intently invested in creating equity across the coffee industry – from seed to your daily brewed cup of coffee. Peet’s does this by only purchasing from ResponsiblySourced coffee farmers, per Enveritas standards.
These standards consider elements all across the coffee production process, from verifying equitable workers’ conditions to the impact of environmental factors and everything in between.
Peet’s Coffee comes from 24 different countries across the globe, primarily from countries in South America, Africa, and East Asia.
Peet’s is committed to ensuring that the communities it buys from are following Enveritas standards, and also getting the resources and education needed to produce quality coffee that doesn’t drain the surrounding communities of resources.
This is why Peet’s Coffee, along with other forward-thinkers in the coffee industry, together founded World Coffee Research.
This organization aims to advance agricultural processes within the coffee industry and collect data to better create climate-resistant coffee varieties.
Peet’s Coffee Varieties
Although best known for its dark roast coffees, Peet’s does offer medium and light roasts. Peet’s coffee comes in many forms – from K-cups and espresso capsules to whole beans and grounds. Peet’s offers subscription services which is a big hit in the “Peetnik” community (the enthusiastic fanbase of Peet’s Coffee).
We’ve tested and reviewed some of Peet’s best-selling roasts, along with some other hidden gems, to help you find the perfect starting point into the world of all things Peet’s.
Whether you enjoy your coffee brewed in a standard drip pot or a pour-over, or if you’re looking for the perfect espresso, Peet’s has something for everyone!
The Best of Peet’s: Dark Roasts
Peet’s built its name due to its ability to roast very dark roasts that still bring out the complex, bold flavor profiles of the beans, so naturally, we’ve included these blends in our review.
MAJOR DICKASON’S BLEND
We would be remiss not to start this list with Peet’s all-time best-selling dark roast blend: Major Dickason’s Blend.
Named after a loyal veteran customer and friend from the early days of Peet’s roasting career, this blend comes from South America and Indo-Pacific regions and is processed through a wash and wet hull. This allows the blend to give rich, earthy tones that have undertones of spice and chocolate.
Peet’s Coffee recommends brewing Major Dickason’s Blend in a French Press or pour-over device for the best flavor extraction. Both of these methods will give the full, bright brew that this roast is so famous for.
The second best seller of Peet’s is their delicious Arabian Mocha-Java which lives up to its chocolatey name.
Coming from Africa and Indo-Pacific, these two varieties blend to make a full-bodied and rich blend that boasts a bold, chocolate-centric flavor profile, along with port and cardamom.
This bitter-sweet blend of coffee beans makes a delicious cold brew and pairs deliciously with a sweet dessert if brewed in a French Press. The low acidity and mild brightness make it a cozy blend that can be enjoyed as the weather gets cold and the seasons change.
Kenya Auction Lot
Kenya Auction Lot
Many say Kenyan coffee is the best there is; we don’t think there’s any better than our Auction Lot— juicy, complex, sweet, and dazzling.
Single-origin coffee beans from Kenya are some of the best available in the world, and for good reason. Local Kenyan farmers have mastered the craft of growing some of the most delicious and complex coffee varieties we know.
Peet’s Coffee does an extra service by roasting this coffee to such a dark roast that brings out all the complex juiciness that these beans offer.
The bright, rich sweetness of these beans comes through in a full-bodied brew that gives coffee aficionados citrusy-tasting notes with undertones of Cassis and brown sugar sweetness.
Peet’s Coffee suggests this single-origin roast is best enjoyed as a cold brew, or if desired hot, brewed in a French Press or pour over to enjoy the flavors of this delicious roast.
JR Reserve Blend
Jim Reynolds, the second Roastmaster who took over Peet’s after Alfred’s passing, was claimed to have one of the most discerning palates within the coffee specialty world. He was even recognized by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) with the “Alfred Peet Passionate Cup Award” in 2016.
Before he passed, JR selected some of the most exquisite beans available and roasted them to the exact specifications to create the most complex and tasteful blends.
His Dark Roast Blend from the “JR Reserve” series is praised for its bright and full-body taste that brings out strong notes of rum, spice, and cocoa.
This bittersweet blend is bold but smooth, making it delicious when brewed in a pour-over or French Press. Although it’s on the much higher price end and is only sold in ½ lb quantities, this delicious dark roast is worth the occasional splurge for a truly fantastic cup of coffee.
The Best of Peet’s: Medium Roasts
Although Peet’s is best known for its unique dark roasts, this brand doesn’t disappoint with its medium roast coffee. From classic smooth and balanced blends to more full-bodied and complex taste profiles, Peet’s has a medium roast for every type of coffee lover.
Being one of their best sellers, Big Bang is the classic medium roast that brings us back to the basics of coffee. Sourcing from America and Africa, this signature blend combines washed and natural processing methods to bring a smooth and balanced richness.
With fruity flavor profiles, along with graham crust and milk chocolate, this even blend is delicious when made in the pour-over or French Press brewing styles. It’s also highly enjoyable as a cold brew in the summer as it’s the perfect, classic iced coffee taste.
Inspired by the Latin American cultures where this three-bean blend originates from, Café Domingo is a medium-bodied blend that is meant to be lingered over and enjoyed with friends.
Peet’s is very invested in community building – between suppliers and roasters, to roasters and consumers, to customers and baristas inside cafes.
Peet’s Coffee values the relationships that are built within coffee circles and Café Domingo enraptures this community culture.
With tasting notes of toffee, toast, and nougat, this signature blend is balanced and bright to bring a consistent and even brew. Recommended brewing methods are French Press and pour-over, but many enjoy this medium roast brewed in a drip coffee pot or as a cold brew.
The Best of Peet’s: Light Roasts
Peet’s isn’t scared to try their hand at light roasts, despite their love for the darker roasts. And they certainly don’t miss the mark.
Their light roasts are made with precision and intention and the quality and knowledge shine through in some truly delicious blends. Check out their top two light roasts.
Luminosa Breakfast Blend
Combining beans from Columbia and Ethiopia, this bright and light roast gives the fragrance of floras while bringing sweet and subtle layers of stone fruit, cacao, and passionflower.
Alfred Peet’s expertise and knowledge of how beans are affected from region to region can be seen in his selection of these two beans.
Getting the Columbian beans from the Huila region, which is known for its sweet and smooth beans, Alfred Peet knew to combine this with the florally aromatic beans from the birthplace of coffee in Ethiopia.
This careful selection and curation of beans, combined with the skilled roasting techniques makes for a signature blend-level roast that has held its place in Peet’s Coffee as the leading light roast.
Costa Rica Aurora
The other leading light roast at Peet’s is the blend of a Costa Rica-origin and Kenya-origin bean. We know the high-end quality Kenya always brings to the table with their beans, giving a leading taste of black cherry and molasses.
You can also taste the complimenting Lemon Bar that shines through with the beans from Costa Rica, blending to make a very bright and light-bodied roast.
Best enjoyed as a cold brew or pour-over blend, this coffee is truly enjoyable with its bright yet simple flavors that shine through.
The Best of Peet’s: Alternative Roasts
Peet’s Coffee has several great options for whole or ground beans in a dark, medium, and light roast. But we also need to highlight some of the other popular coffee products that Peet’s produces.
Peet’s Espresso: Espresso Forte
Although many of Peet’s dark roasts make a great shot of espresso, Peet’s has delivered a great quality espresso blend. Coming from American and Indo-Pacific regions, this stout and rich espresso is full-bodied and has the perfect crema.
When brewed in a classic espresso fashion, you’ll pick up on chocolate truffle and hazelnut tones, along with the acidic lemon curd that comes through to perfectly balance this espresso roast.
Peet’s Organic Roasts:
Peet’s offers a few select organic roasts. These blends follow the seasonal flavor profile of their origin beans, which means they will alter slightly throughout the year in taste.
This gives you a close look at how the elements of nature can so easily influence the way a single coffee bean can change as the seasons come and go.
Although this eliminates the consistency of taste that is a core element to Peet’s roasting reputation, it does allow the ambitious coffee drinker a chance to enhance their coffee-tasting skills as they track the slight alterations of the roasts throughout the year.
Peet’s Decaf Roasts:
Peet’s caters to all types of coffee lovers, including those who opt for decaf. Offering most of their most popular blends in decaf form allows Peet’s fans to enjoy their favorite roasts at all hours of the day or night.
Alfred Peet can keep the consistency of each unique blend flavor the same while removing the caffeine intake, which is quite a feat, all things considered.
Peet’s Limited Releases:
Whether to match the seasonal mood or because of limited seasonal access to specific origins, Peet’s always has a Limited Release Exclusive Roast available.
During the holiday season, Peet’s offers their Holiday Blend, while summer months will bring in the best roast for brewing cold.
These exclusive roasts are brought out for a short time with limited availability but are always worth the extra effort or price.
Peet’s Flavor K-Cups:
Peet’s offers a few varieties of naturally flavored K-Cup blends. Each of these flavors is a twist on a classic coffee flavor – like Hazelnut Mocha, Caramel Brulee, and Vanilla Cinnamon. Peet’s Coffee K-Cups will also feature seasonal flavors like Peppermint and Pumpkin Spice.
Peet’s Espresso Capsules:
Lastly, Peet’s offers espresso capsules that are compatible with a Nespresso or other similar espresso machines. These are offered in a few different forms and come in packages of ten.
These are great for quick and convenient espresso drinks at home and carry over the same quality as Peet’s whole bean roasts.
Peet’s Coffee Truly Does It All
By now you should have a good idea of the vast range of coffee products that Peet’s Coffee has available and feel confident in the quality of roast and brew that you’ll be drinking.
Being an expert in the field of specialty coffee, Peet’s has taken the time and effort to solidify its place in the coffee world because of the commitment to quality and equity they bring into the roasting world.
Peet’s is dedicated to bringing the freshest coffee to consumers and deeply prioritize the efficiency of their roaster-to-consumer processes. This dedication is apparent in the quality of roasts and their overall consistency.
Which roast will you try first?