CoffeeBeer >> Double Shot Buzz >> Previous Coffee Columns >> Peet's Coffee and Tea
On my California visit in May of this year, Mistah Rick and I ventured out of the Bay Area up to the state capitol of Sacramento to visit my Unkatom, a retired bizzarreal artiologist. On the way we stopped in Davis for a coffee.
The largest city in Yolo County, Davis started life in 1868 when a Southern Pacific Railroad depot was built in the area. Named after local farmer Jerome C. Davis, "Davisville" was shortened to Davis in 1907, and the city was incorporated in 1917. Today Davis is known for liberal politics, bike paths, and the University of California at Davis which specialises in agricultural and veterinary studies.
Like many of the Northern California cities, Davis's streets are laid out on a grid of numbers and letters. Rick had remembered a coffee place he'd visited here before, but he couldn't remember which letter or number street it was on. We ended up parking the car on 2nd Street near D Street and then took a walk. We never found the cafe Rick was looking for, but just as we were about to succumb to caffeine withdrawal we stumbled upon Peet's Coffee on E Street.
Peet's has been a coffee institution in the Bay Area for decades. When Dutchman Alfred Peet moved to America after World War II he opened the first Peet's in Berkeley in 1966. By 1969 "Peetniks" were congregating around the coffee shop, heralding the birth of the artisan coffee movement. In 1971 Peet instructed Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegel, and Gordon Bowker as to his method of roasting beans, and they took the knowledge to Seattle where they opened the very first Starbucks in Pike Place Market. Whereas Starbucks eventually exploded into the global entity it is today, bent on taking over not only the world's coffee venues but also the solar system's, the Milky Way's, and eventually the entire multiverse's, Alfred Peet is humbly remembered as the grandfather of the speciality coffee industry.
So we were content to stumble upon this Peet's, located across from the E Street Plaza. The cafe was crowded on this surprisingly cool and very sunny day in the ol' university cow town. We were served by an extremely friendly barista. There was a gorgeous heart rosetta on Rick's cappuccino, and my double macchiato was gorgeous as well, capped with a coffee-coloured ring around a lovely white disk of a milk cloud. And the coffee itself is lovely and robust. My croissant could have used a bit of heating up and perhaps a little pat of butter on the side, but that doesn't happen much these days. (My philosophy is if you're having a croissant, do it right and don't worry about the fat content.) Rick had his favourite Peet's snack: a cranberry walnut scone crusted with brown sugar. We sat at a table next to a baby on the back of a standing laptop user. We talked about the University of Davis, psychotic relatives, and seductive tea kettles, as there was one such seductive tea kettle offered for sale in front of the counter, a Hario Buono V60. I felt so attracted to this tea kettle; it was breathtaking beauty on the burner. Even though I rarely drink tea, I do have a leisurely cup of cafetiere coffee on weekend days, and our current kettle is rusting into an oblivion of slaglike matter, so maybe...
Speaking of kettle dreams reminds me of a completely unrelated Facebook posting session with a former programming colleague who, like myself, hasn't had a programming job in years: