Baldwin learned the coffee trade from Alfred Peet, whose store Peet's Coffee & Tea was the inspiration for Starbucks. Starbucks purchased roasted coffee beans from Peet's during its first year of operation. In 1984 Peet's was put up for sale; Baldwin led a group of investors that purchased the company. In 1987 he sold his interests in Starbucks. Baldwin was Chairman of Peet's until 2001 when Peet's became a publicly traded company; he now holds the title of Director.
Baldwin has also served as director and founding chairman of Technical Standards Committee of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, president of Association Scientifique International du Cafe (ASIC), and chairman of Coffee Quality Institute. He was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Specialty Coffee Association of America. He is a director of TechnoServe, a non-profit NGO working in Latin America and Africa.
In 2001, he established Baldwin Wines, a Zinfandel grower and producer in Sonoma Valley, California.
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