Peet's Coffee & Tea extensive guide to Berkeley and San Francisco area, plus inspiring articles about trips around the world

Berkeley and Beyond

 

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Peet’s Coffee & Tea  2124 Vine St./Cedar St.; Gourmet Ghetto.  It was here in 1966 that now-retired owner Alfred Peet, a Dutch émigré, became the first in the U.S. trade to import specialty varieties of coffees and to dark-roast whole coffee beans--a radical move at the time that touched off a revolution among coffee drinkers.  All other Peet’s are modeled after this one.  A Berkeley institution, this coffee boutique dispenses an impressive variety of coffees and teas and, though it has no place to sit down, is the gathering spot each morning for large numbers of coffee freaks.  Holding their hot cups of java, they spill right into the street.  Professionals in three-piece suits mingle here with blue-collar workers, all chatting happily.  Sometimes it seems that almost everyone in this town, no matter what kind of work they do, has a curious, educated mind.  Perhaps they would like to mull this over:  Starbucks owned Peet’s from 1984 to 1987, but Peet’s is once again an independent company with a plethora of outlets throughout the Bay Area.

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travel writer Carole Terwilliger Meyers