Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Goodbye, Mr. Peet
I was enjoying my morning coffee--Peet's, which we have shipped to us from Berkeley--and reading the paper when I learned that Alfred Peet died at the age of 87. Peet was the godfather of gourmet coffee and mentor to an entire generation of coffee entrepreneurs, including the founder of Starbucks.
When I began dating Tony, I was your typical midwestern coffee drinker--that is to say, I drank lots and lots of weak coffee that came out of a can. It was typically brewed in a percolater, and you could let that puppy run all day long, and as far as I was concerned, it was good to the last drop. Tony, on the other hand, mail-ordered this fancy coffee called Peets from Berkeley, where he went to graduate school. I thought it a bit silly, even snobbish, to be honest. Mail ordering coffee beans, which you then had to grind every morning? Sheesh.
But I was pretty fond of Tony, and it wasn't long before I grew to be pretty fond of Peets coffee as well. I even went so far, as few times, as to bring some Peets with me whenever visiting a non-Peets household. (Sorry, Mom and Dad. Talk about a coffee snob!) When Tony was on sabbatical at U.C. Berkeley and we were living in Oakland, I visited the original Peets (pictured above) fairly regularly.
Now, of course, good coffee is fairly easy to come by--and I'm not talking about the Starbucks on every third corner, although even that is better than the stuff we used to drink. And we owe it all to Alfred Peet.