Even post-IPO, Peet's celebrates its bohemian upbringing with dark-roast beans..
Since its Berkeley beginnings in 1966, the chain has swapped its beatnik spirit for corporate glory. Cool flagstone floors and rich mahogany-colored paneling make for a sleek stop, but not a haunt in which to linger. Once the den of intellectuals and fringe artists, Peet's went IPO in early 2001 and is now frequented almost exclusively by people who want the conveniences of a franchised coffeehouse without kowtowing to Starbucks.
The coffee is robust without being overbearing. Strong but not bitter, Peet's "deep roast" beans make for a fine cup of joe. Straight up or in a latte, its dark, full-bodied character carries through. Oft eclipsed by the coffees, a wide array of teas are also available. Oolongs, blacks and greens of all ilk can be enjoyed in a cup or by the pound to go. You can always nab a blueberry muffin or an orange scone, but why not opt for one of the fine French pastries? Almond creme croissants, buttery apricot bars or eggy pain crème fraîche studded with fresh blueberries pair well with the brews.
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