how Peets beats Starbucks

Last week I stepped into a Peet’s Coffee and Tea for the first time at Bella Terra (Huntington Beach/ Westminster). I know Peet’s is nothing new to you Californians, but it was a new experience for me and it won me over. They’ve got a first-class act with their classical-music-laden ambiance and everything squarely featuring gourmet coffees and teas. I didn’t find it exorbitantly high-end, but accessible to a self-perceived middle classer like myself. That is, prices weren’t all that different from Starbucks.

As a publicly traded company, I didn’t readily notice how Peet’s was growing their profit bottom line to appease the shareholders, and they’re not aggressively starting up new stores all over the place. I think many a good thing doesn’t scale and replicate like weeds.

Now, if only they’d get rid of the obstructive embedded pseudo-pop-up screen for email signups on the Peet’s home page.

So where I can find a Peet’s for a meetup, that’s my new preferred choice. And for the times I need to wire up to work or get to an easier to find location, it’ll be tried-and-true Starbucks.

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  1. Reyes-Chow says:

    You know that do have independent coffee houses too 😉 I am just saying.

  2. djchuang says:

    yes, Bruce, I know dat.. but those indy coffee houses have been hit or miss for me, a few of them wow me every now and then, but most of them are too local or niche for me, and I can’t finda my groove.

    I’ve actually got an indy coffee house right across the street from where I live now called The Neighborhood Cup, which is a good place with free wifi and lots of local character and even events, but not enough seats and not enough outlets.

  3. Jenn says:

    Hi DJ! I just tried Peets last weekend, while in San Fran for a wedding. I actually found their coffee to be smoother than s-bux (I had an iced mocha). I loved it! I wish Peets was on the east coast.

    I once heard that the owner of Peets and the owner of Sbux used to be partners, but I’m not sure if that’s true. I haven’t found proof to support it.

  4. Rachelle Chuang says:

    Peet’s wins me over visually for their overall lighter atmosphere than dark Starbucks, their cool blue straws that match the border design on the cup, framed textile art and quality mugs.

    Had a orange-cranberry muffin twice, all by myself (Dj doesn’t share my food!). Yummy!

  5. Alex Moy says:

    Peet’s has been my favorite ever since I first moved to San Francisco. When I moved down to SoCal I missed it so much I had to stock up on pounds of Peet’s every time I could get up to SF. There were only a few Peets shops down here in Pasadena, Santa Monica and Manhattan Beach but now there are more throughout the area. Here is a link to an article published in the LA Times which describes the history of Peets and Starbucks in which the founder of Starbucks got his start learning to roast while working at Peets.

    My major complaint for a long time has been the hours of Peets shops. Most of the time they closed at 6 pm making it hard for me to get my fill after work. Now Peets is widely available in grocery stores and Cost Plus but it doesn’t make up for the experience in a Peet’s coffee shop.

  6. Jenn says:

    Thanks, Alex, for the LA times article! I appreciate the shed light on the 2nd hand information I heard 3 years ago. 🙂