As luck would have it, one of the founders was good friends with Alfred Peet — and was able to arrange to have him as consultant to mentor me with my coffee and roasting skills. I was already a huge fan of Peet’s coffee — and to this day I can still remember the first cup of coffee I ever had at Vine street.
Alfred was the Warren Buffett of the coffee world — he was the country’s authoritative voice on all things coffee. That being said, he was not a quiet or soft-spoken man, he knew what he was talking about and was quick to let you know if you didn’t know what you were doing. We had a rep from the roaster company come to our facility and Alfred quickly put him in his place — and reduced the man to tears For a reason unknown to me, Alfred was very patient and helpful with me. My time spent with him was as valuable as it was memorable. He was a very important person in helping me develop my palate.
In my mind, the origins of great coffee in this country start with Alfred Peet and his first store on Vine Street. This is where I had the cup of coffee that will be the yardstick I will always use as the best cup of coffee. It was a cup of Kona, thought secrets be told, Peet’s Kona is not 100% Kona, but that is why their Kona was always so good.