Jump to content

Peet's Coffee

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Peet's Coffee
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryCoffee shop
Founded1966 (58 years ago) (1966)
Berkeley, California, U.S.
FounderAlfred Peet (1920–2007)
HeadquartersEmeryville, California, U.S.
Number of locations
200 (2021)
Key people
ProductsCoffee beans, coffee beverages, teas, and food
Revenue$983 million (FY 2019)[1]
Number of employees
ParentJDE Peet's (JAB Holding Company)
SubsidiariesStumptown Coffee Roasters
Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea
Mighty Leaf Tea

Peet's Coffee is a San Francisco Bay Area-based specialty coffee roaster and retailer owned by JAB Holding Company via JDE Peet's. Founded in 1966 by Alfred Peet in Berkeley, California, Peet's introduced the United States to its darker roasted Arabica coffee in blends including French roast and grades appropriate for espresso drinks.[2][3][4] Peet's offers freshly roasted beans, brewed coffee and espresso beverages, as well as bottled cold brew.[5] In 2007, Peet's opened the first LEED Gold Certified roastery in the United States.[6] Peet's coffee is sold in over 14,000 grocery stores across the United States.[7]

As of November 2021, the company had 200 stores in the United States.


Peet's original store in North Berkeley, California

Alfred Peet grew up in the Netherlands, where his father owned and operated a coffee wholesale and coffee bean grindery. Peet trained with his father to roast and grind coffee.[8] In 1938, at the age of 18, he moved to London where he was employed by Twinings coffee and tea company.[9] He also spent time in New Zealand and Indonesia before moving to San Francisco in 1955 where he worked for a coffee and tea importer.[10]

In 1966, Peet opened the first "Peet's Coffee, Tea & Spices" in Berkeley, California, on Vine Street near the University of California, Berkeley, campus. It originally sold coffee beans, not cups of coffee. His coffee beans were hand-roasted in small batches. The company grew to four locations and became known as "Peet's Coffee and Tea."[11] Peet wanted to bring better coffee to the American market and became known as "the godfather of gourmet coffee in the U.S."[12] The original location at Vine and Walnut remains open. The second location of Peet's Coffee was in Menlo Park, CA. [13]

Peet sold his business to Sal Bonavita in 1979, but remained working with the company as a coffee buyer and consultant until 1983.[14] In 1984, Jerry Baldwin, a Starbucks founder, bought Peet's four locations from Sal Bonavita. In 1987, Baldwin and his Starbucks co-investors sold Starbucks to focus on Peet's.[13] Howard Schultz, Starbucks' new owner, entered into a four-year non-compete agreement in the Bay Area.[15]

In 2001, the company was incorporated as Peet's Coffee and Tea Company and had its initial public offering. The company was listed on the Nasdaq under the symbol PEET, and 3.3 million shares were sold at $8 a share. Shares climbed to $9.38 and the company raised $26.4 million.[16][17]

Peet's opened a roasting plant in Alameda in 2007. This new location replaced the former operations in Emeryville, California, and is the nation's first LEED Gold Certified roastery.[6][18]

In 2012, employees at a Peet's location in Chicago formed Peet's Worker's Group to address concerns about compensation, irregular scheduling, sick leave, and working conditions which resulted in frequent wrist injuries. Three representatives from Peet's corporate visited their store, where they attributed workers' complaints to the performance of manager of that location, and declined to discuss further concerns except in one-on-one meetings. The group subsequently lost momentum, and the lead organizer was fired after clocking in late for the third time in one year. Remaining members of Peet's Worker's Group attributed her firing to a selective enforcement of the company's lateness policy.[19]

In 2012, Peet's was taken private when it was acquired by Joh. A Benckiser, a German investment group, for $977.6 million, or $73.50 per share. At that time, the acquisition was one of the largest prices paid for a Berkeley-founded company.[20] JAB Holding (Joh. A Benckiser) also owns minority stakes in the consumer products companies Reckitt Benckiser, Coty and control of luxury brands Bally, Belstaff and Jimmy Choo.[21] JAB Holding later acquired a portion of Caribou Coffee.[22]

In August 2014, Peet's acquired Mighty Leaf Tea, a specialty tea brand based in the Bay Area, in partnership with Next World Group.[23] It was announced in October 2015 that Stumptown Coffee Roasters would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Peet's.[24] Later that same month, Peet's announced that it was acquiring a majority stake in Chicago-based Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea.[25][26][27]

In December 2016, Peet's announced that it was building a second roaster in Suffolk, Virginia. The 175,000-square-foot facility will cost $58 million and was set to open in 2018.[28] At that time, the Alameda roaster was producing approximately 1 million pounds of coffee each week.[7]

Peet's opened its first location in Shanghai, China, in October 2017.[29]

As of fiscal year 2019, Peet's revenue grew to $983 million.[30]

On May 29, 2020, JDE Peet's, the owner of Peet's Coffee and Jacobs Douwe Egberts, raised $2.5 billion by taking the company public on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange in a deal that valued the company at $17.3 billion.[31] Defying the coronavirus pandemic and economic slowdown, it was the largest initial public offering in Europe during the first five months of 2020 and the second biggest IPO in the world.[32]


By 2018, Peet's operates over 200 retail locations in 11 states: California, Washington DC, Virginia, Tennessee, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland,[33] and has expanded to China, opening a location in Shanghai.[34]

Peet's formerly operated in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan, but Peet's shuttered these stores in 2014 to focus on the areas where it is growing.[35]

By December 2016, Peet's coffee was sold in 14,000 grocery stores, universities, and wholesalers across the United States. They had over a dozen coffeebar locations in Chicago and Boston as well as 23 in the Washington D.C. area at that time.[36]


In June 2023, workers at the Southside Berkeley, Temescal and Piedmont locations filed petitions to hold union elections in an attempt to join the Industrial Workers of the World IU 460 chapter.[37]

Licensed partnerships[edit]

Peet's has outlets at many transit centers, including several airports.[38]

Peet's in Northeast Portland, Oregon

In 2003, the first full-service Peet's coffeebar on a university campus was opened within the Clark Center building at Stanford University.[39] Peet's coffee is also currently served at all Stanford dining locations. In 2005, UC Berkeley opened its own Peet's franchise on campus in Dwinelle Hall and as a campus restaurant near its existing dining area. Similarly in 2009, coffeebars opened at the UW–Madison's Memorial Union, Villanova University and UC San Diego.[40]

Peet's donated $250,000 to the University of California, Davis, to launch Coffee Center, a research hub dedicated to a multidisciplinary study of coffee, in September 2016. UC Davis is the first university in the world to dedicate a rigorous academic focus to post-harvest coffee. The program worked with the Specialty Coffee Association of America to get prospective graduates access to grants and fellowships.[41] In April 2017, Peet's signed an agreement with UC Berkeley's University Partnership Program to help fund student programs including student travel grants, scholarships, and paid internship opportunities.[42][43]


In September 2015, Peet's announced that it was adding all-day breakfast options to its menu. The change would be implemented in the Chicago market, and eventually, would be added at all locations.[44]

Peet's Coffee started formulating the blend in 2014 and first added it to its coffeebar menu in summer 2015. In July 2016, Peet's released a complementary line of bottled cold brew coffee to 400 locations in the San Francisco area including Peet's coffeebars and grocery stores. Peet's coldbrew was initially offered in three flavors: Baridi Black, Coffee au Lait, and Dark Chocolate.[45] Almond Milk was added to the line of bottled cold brew in May 2017.[46]

In December 2016, Peet's added a Slow Bar to its newest D.C. coffeebar, featuring French press, pour-over and siphon brewing methods.[47]


When the three founders of Starbucks were looking to start their company, they contacted Peet, who "became like a father mentor" to them. He allowed the three young men to copy the layout of his store and shared his suppliers.[48][49][50]

Peet's has a devoted following, sometimes known as "Peetniks", a portmanteau of Peets and beatniks.[51]

Peet's was one of the first coffee bean and brewed coffee retailers to offer specialty grade coffee, and to roast the beans longer, producing a liquor that is darker, more bitter, with less of the sour taste of the coffees offered in the US at the time. Peet's is commonly regarded as one of the founding businesses in the gourmet coffee trade.

Two British men who worked at Peet's in the early 1990s later established Union Coffee Roasters in the United Kingdom.[52]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cheng, Andria. "As Peet's Coffee Parent Shares Surge Post IPO, Expect It To Be A Bigger Contender Against Starbucks". Forbes.
  2. ^ William M. Pride; Robert J. Hughes (January 2010). Foundations of Business. Cengage Learning. ISBN 9780538744515.
  3. ^ Tina Gant (March 2009). International Directory of Company Histories, Volume 100. St. James Press. pp. 333–334. ISBN 9781558626348.
  4. ^ Ian Newton. The Coffee Culture.
  5. ^ McLellan, Michael. "Peet's Coffee & Tea. LLC". D&B Hoovers. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Jones, Carolyn (May 29, 2007). "Peet's moves roasting plant to double output of coffee" San Francisco Chronicle, p. B-2.
  7. ^ a b John Kell (December 9, 2016). "Why Peet's Coffee Is Spending $58 Million on Fresher Coffee for the East Coast". Fortune. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
  8. ^ "Alfred H. Peet". www.newnetherlandinstitute.org. Retrieved 2021-10-07.
  9. ^ Holden, Ronald (December 12, 2017). "How Starbucks Was Born Half A Century Ago". Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  10. ^ "Alfred H. Peet [1920-2007]". New Netherland Institute.
  11. ^ "5 Business Lessons From the 50-Year-Old Company That Made Coffee Cool". Fortune.
  12. ^ "Peets's Wants Customers to Know That Coffee Can Change Lives". TriplePudit.
  13. ^ a b Knobel, Lance (July 23, 2012). "Peet's: Founded in Berkeley, acquired in Germany". Berkeleyside.
  14. ^ Maxwell, Jill Hecht (June 2001). "Alfred Peet: My Biggest Mistake". Inc.
  15. ^ Donker, Anne (1999-08-22). "BUSINESS; On a Coffee Family Tree, an Older Branch Sprouts Anew". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  16. ^ Vrana, Debora (January 25, 2001). "Peet's Coffee, First IPO of Year, Is Priced at $8, Low End of Range". Los Angeles Times.
  17. ^ "Peet's Coffee IPO slowly percolates". San Francisco Business Times. January 25, 2001.
  18. ^ "Campus, Peet's 10-year-partnership will boost student initiatives" (PDF). Berkeley University of California. April 11, 2017.
  19. ^ "Can Millennials Save Unions?". The Atlantic. September 14, 2015.
  20. ^ Hsu, Tiffany (July 23, 2012). "Peet's Coffee & Tea sold for nearly $1 billion, but not to Starbucks". Los Angeles Times.
  21. ^ Merced, Michael J. de la (23 July 2012). "Joh. A. Benckiser to Buy Peet's Coffee & Tea for $974 Million". Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  22. ^ "Caribou Coffee closing Ohio stores?". Archived from the original on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  23. ^ "Peet's Acquires Mighty Leaf Tea, Opens and Closes Midwest Stores". Daily Coffee News. 4 August 2014.
  24. ^ "Peet's Coffee Is Buying Stumptown Coffee Roasters". Willamette Week. 6 October 2015.
  25. ^ Galarza, Daniela (October 30, 2015). "Peet's Coffee & Tea Buys Intelligentsia Coffee". Eater. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  26. ^ "Peet's Coffee Is Buying Intelligentsia. Here's Why Coffee Lovers Shouldn't Freak Out". Slate. 30 October 2015.
  27. ^ "Peet's Coffee & Tea buys majority stake in Intelligentsia Coffee". Fortune.
  28. ^ "Bay Area's Peet's Coffee heads east for expansion". East Bay Times. 9 December 2016.
  29. ^ "Peet's Opens Flagship Roastery Cafe in Shanghai, China". Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. 2017-11-14. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
  30. ^ Cheng, Andria. "As Peet's Coffee Parent Shares Surge Post IPO, Expect It To Be A Bigger Contender Against Starbucks". Forbes. Retrieved 2021-03-29.
  31. ^ Dummett, Ben (29 May 2020). "Peet's Coffee Raises $2.5 Billion From IPO, Defying Pandemic". Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  32. ^ Ziady, Hanna (29 May 2020). "Peet's Coffee owner pulls off speedy 10-day IPO despite pandemic fears". cnn.com. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  33. ^ "Store Locator". www.peets.com. Retrieved 2018-01-06.
  34. ^ "Peet's Opens Flagship Roastery Cafe in Shanghai, China". Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. 2017-11-14. Retrieved 2018-12-19.
  35. ^ "Peet's Coffee & Tea abruptly shutters stores in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved 2018-12-19.
  36. ^ Duggan, Tara (December 9, 2016). "Peet's Coffee to expand with huge Virginia roaster". SF Gate.
  37. ^ Kwok, Iris (2023-06-12). "Union drive brewing at 3 Peet's Coffee locations in Berkeley and Oakland". Berkeleyside. Retrieved 2023-06-30.
  38. ^ Francisco, San (March 31, 2008). "Peet's names BART stations getting coffee shops".
  39. ^ "Peet's Coffee & Tea, Inc. Announces New Licensing and Supply Agreement with Stanford University's Residential & Dining Enterprises"., Business Wire, September 22, 2003
  40. ^ "Peet's Coffee". The Bay Area Press. Archived from the original on December 23, 2014. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
  41. ^ Pereira, Alyssa (8 September 2016). "With grant from Peet's, UC Davis will launch research center for coffee". SF Gate.
  42. ^ "Campus signs $8 million contract with Peet's Coffee & Tea". The Daily Californian. April 12, 2017.
  43. ^ Sciacca, Annie (April 12, 2017). "UC Berkeley, Peet's Coffee team up to boost student programs". The Mercury News.
  44. ^ "Peet's Coffee enters all-day breakfast competition". Chicago Tribune. 18 September 2015.
  45. ^ "Now, Peet's Coffee is Jumping on the Cold Brew Craze". Fortune.
  46. ^ "Peet's Launches Bottled Almond Milk Cold Brew". VegNews.
  47. ^ "Peet's Coffee Introduces 'Slow Bar' at New D.C. Store". Eater. 21 December 2016.
  48. ^ Jessica Wohl (September 2, 2014). "Peet's Coffee taking on Starbucks in Chicago push". Chicago Tribune.
  49. ^ Larimore, Rachael (24 October 2013). "The Starbucks Guide to World Domination". Slate. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  50. ^ "The First Starbucks, Witness - BBC World Service". BBC. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
  51. ^ Eric A. Taub (June 4, 2005). "Rival Moving Beyond Roots Entwined With Starbucks". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-18.
  52. ^ Sheryl Garratt (8 September 2002). "Wake up and smell the money. Cappuccino, frappucino, skinny latte, ..." The Observer.

External links[edit]