Peet's Coffee(& Tea) is a specialty coffee roaster and retailer. Peet's is especially known for its strong, dark roasted coffee, including its Major Dickason blend.
Founded in 1966 by Alfred Peet (1920–2007) in Berkeley, California as "Peet's Coffee, Tea & Spices", Peet's has a devoted following, sometimes known as the Peetniks (a play on Beatniks) due to their strong customer loyalty to Peet's wide range of varieties and signature blends of coffee and tea.
Peet's was the original inspiration for now-rival Starbucks. The three founders of Starbucks knew Alfred Peet personally, founded Starbucks in Seattle, Washington, and bought the coffee beans for Starbucks directly from Peet's during their first year of business in 1971. Peet sold his business in 1979 but stayed on as a coffee buyer until 1983. In 1984 Jerry Baldwin, one of the original founders of Starbucks and Alfred Peet's former partner, and co-owner Jim Reynolds, the roastmaster, with a group of investors bought Peet's' four Bay Area locations. In 1987, Baldwin and Peet's owners sold the Starbucks chain to focus on Peet's, and Baldwin and Howard Schultz, Starbucks' new owner, entered into a no-compete agreement in the Bay Area.
Peet's has been much slower to expand than Starbucks, and has maintained more of its focus as a coffee and tea retailer, rather than a coffee bar, a distinction that has long separated Peet's from Starbucks. Peet's is still primarily a California operation, with a few stores in other metropolitan areas (see below) and a short-lived four-store partnership in Tokyo. Peets also operated a store in Austin, Texas from 2001 to 2005.