Monday, January 17, 2005

California Delight #5: Peet's Coffee

My wife, an international traveler of the first order, easily manages the time difference between California and Central Ontario. For me, however, those three hours are a killer.

My internal clock has been set so fixedly, it's practically an element in my genetic coding. I consider a 7:00 a.m. rise and shine "sleeping in," and am usually up out of bed by 6:00. My daughters typically wake up shortly after I do. The first few days of any California visit I and my girls will be awake and ready to go by 4:00 a.m. Consequently I rely on several gallons of coffee to keep me up to speed.

Peet's is the best of the chains. The quality of their roast is easily superior to That Prominent Chain We're All Familiar With - the beans are dark and shiny with oil, and the store-brewed coffee is heartier fare than you are likely to find anywhere, outside of an exceptionally passionate independent. In Northern California, Peet's cafes are easily found, but their frequency tapers off when you leave the San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Cruz triangle. My father tells me the owner was asked why the chain wasn't expanding more aggressively; the owner apparently said this was as big as it was going to get, because anything larger would result in a loss of quality control.

It's also worth noting that Peet's was ahead of the consumer curve regarding fair trade, and organic beans - the latter being an offered choice, the former non-negotiable. Any way you drink it, it's good coffee.

California Delight #4

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