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Peets Coffee Review

There are only 200 retail locations of Peet's Coffee and Tea houses in the US (plus one in China). Compare that to a household name like Starbucks with over 14,000 locations in the US alone. However, you might be more familiar with their selection of coffee being available in the aisles of your local grocery store.

Maybe you've been adventurous and tried it, or you're waiting to read a Peets Coffee Review before pulling the trigger. Wait no longer. In this post I'll cover their three, top-selling blends and talk more about the company itself.

Right off the bat, Peets is best known the bold flavor of their dark roasts and carrying on the legacy of Mr. Alfred Peet (I'll be referring a lot of him throughout this post).

Let's start with who owns them today.

Is Peet's Coffee owned by Starbucks?

Starbucks does own several other companies in the beverage space including Teavana, Seattle Coffee Co., and Ethos Water. Because of this, it's not a bad guess that they might also own Peet's coffee too. This isn't the case though.

JAB Holding Company (a German conglomerate, headquartered in Luxembourg) has the majority stake in Peets Coffee. They're also big in the food and beverage market, although more so in Europe. As a reference, they also own Espresso House (coffeehouse chain in Nordic countries), and Baresso Coffee (leading chain of coffee bars in Denmark, specifically).

Peet's Coffee Reviews

Ok, let's get into detail on how their coffee tastes.

In the late 60s, retired army Sergeant Key Dickason worked with the owner, Mr. Peet, to come up with a new blend. Why? This is unknown but a good guess is a personal, vested interest in coffee. Out of the original Peets store in Berkeley, CA, they refined and sampled many combinations before landing on what is now their all-time bestseller. For his contribution, Key Dickason's name was immortalized, and he received a promotion from Sergeant to Major.

Hint: If you want to sound like the cool kids, you can also call this blend by its nickname of "Major D".

This dark roasted blend promises a rich, complex, and full-bodied taste. Let's see if it lives up to the hype.


  • Rich, "Major flavor without enlisting", No bitter aftertaste that you're more likely to get from Starbuck's darker roasts.
  • A quality, bold flavor showing why it has been their all-time bestseller since the 60s.
  • A lighter dark roast, some might say it's more accurate to call it a medium-dark.
  • Available in whole bean, ground, and K-cup forms. Perfect for no matter which way you decide to brew it.


  • Had a major problem in 2018 with defective K-cup from a bad manufacturer. The problem seems to have cleared up now, but not without losing some customers.
  • Can be difficult to find in store. Order online to avoid disappointment.

Blend Ingredients for Major Dickason's 

The description only says "world's premier growing regions". This could be referring to literally anywhere, as many regions claim to be "world's premier".

So, I contacted the company via email and asked "Where exactly are the beans from?"

When I email companies for more information, not all of them get back to me but Peets did! Here's what they had to say:

Thank you for reaching out to Peet's Customer Experience!

As far as where the Major Dickason is from, we can give you an idea of regions, it is from central America and the Indo Pacific regions of the world, but we cannot give too much information as this is a proprietary blend created by Alfred Peet's around 40-50 years ago.

That's fair, and the approximate regions are appreciated.

Our Joe Rating: 9.6/10

Next up is their house blend coffee.

This is most consumers "go-to" blend. It has been around since the company was established and was the blend the original owner would recommend new customers try to get "a feel" for the brand.

This blend is a mix from several Latin American countries including Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. It promises a pleasant hint of spice with a crisp finish.


  • A very satisfying bold flavor and smoothness.
  • Rich tasting even when brewed from K-cups.
  • Also available in decaf which also has a nice bold flavor.


  • It's a dark roast so some might find it too strong of a flavor.
  • K cup pods are expensive and only come in packs of 10. Look into grounded or whole bean coffee to save some money.

Our Joe Rating: 9.2/10

This is a new blend for Peets coming out only in 2016. It was released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the company. They named it Big Bang because "some had described Mr. Peet as the "big bang" of craft coffee". The name doesn't do it for me and seems a little bit of a stretch in my opinion. Don't worry, my dislike of the name won't steer my review negatively.

It seems like they took their winning formula from Major Dickason's blend by using the same premium coffees but with a twist. They added some of their Ethiopian Super Natural mix which adds the "vibrant blast of tropical fruit". More specifically it adds a fruity, floral, and blueberry taste notes.


  • Taste is deep, balanced and delicious that's both elegant and aromatic.
  • The addition of the Ethiopian Super Natural gives a flavor profile that's quite pleasant.
  • Being a medium roast, this allows you to appreciate the berry notes in a coffee that's not too acidic or light.


  • Flavor doesn't justify the price. The flavor is nice but can get similar results with a store brand bean.
  • Can turn off some who are used to Peets from traditional dark roasts.

Our Joe Rating: 8.8/10


Now that we've thoroughly covered the top Peet's Coffee blends, here are answers to some common questions we've been getting.

Peet's Coffee Nutrition

According to the US Department of Agriculture, black coffee, across the board has zero calories. This makes black coffee save for most diets. What changes that depends on what you include in your black coffee. For example, if you add in milk, sugar, and/or creamer, you'll have to add in the calories that come from those items individually.

Peet's Coffee Caffeine Content

Judging the caffeine content of a certain cup of coffee is difficult. It all depends on the bean origin and roast, preparation method (like if you used a French press or a coffee maker like a Keurig), type of water used, and grind. Peets does give us some estimates based on their brewing recommendations:

  • 100-200 mg caffeine per 6 oz of coffee;
  • 4-8 mg per 6 oz of decaf;
  • 70 mg per shot of espresso; and,
  • 2 mg shot of decaf espresso.

Which Peet's Coffee has the most caffeine?

If you're trying to squeeze out the maximum amount of caffeine in your brew, try their lighter roasts including their Luminosa Breakfast Blend <link> or Costa Rica Aurora <link>. Lighter roasts generally have more caffeine (contrary to popular belief). Peets is more known for their darker roasts but their two options in the light roast category are also great tasting.

What is the best tasting Peet's coffee?

"Best tasting" is a very subjective measure. What the best for me is might not be the best for you. With that being said, their most popular coffee is their Major Dickason's Blend. Try out their variety pack to sample of their coffees.

Major Dickason is a medium-dark roast with bold flavor. Mr. Peet himself used to recommend new customer try their House Blend as a "starter coffee" to get acclimated to their lineup. I like that idea but it's another dark roast. So, if a dark roast typically is too strong for you, then we suggest Café Domingo. It's a medium roast with a blend from Latin America featuring notes of nutty, sweet toffee.

If you're still on the fence, check out their variety packs here. Now, all you have to decide is if you want a variety of their dark or medium roasts, or their best sellers. A great option to test what you like best!

Is Peet's better than Starbucks?

Is Peets better than Starbucks

Ah yes, the great debate: Peet's coffee or Starbucks. Which one is better? Starbucks is extremely popular and known for high-quality (at least expensive) coffee which makes it easy to measure other coffees against.

Overall, regular coffee drinkers prefer Peet's over Starbucks' coffee. The main downfall is, with only 200 retail locations across the US, finding a location. Hopefully Peets will be able to expand their brand soon.

If there was ever a blind taste test (which I would love to be a part of!), I believe Peet's would come out the winner. Peet's in-house experience is also much more like a "proper" coffeehouse with the scent of fresh beans in the air. Unfortunately, many can't experience Peet's coffeehouses since they only have 200 locations that are localized to the continental USA. Starbucks, in comparison, has an international foothold with 14,000 locations in the US alone.

The case for Peet's:

Peet's, in general, has stronger coffee which may not be for everyone. They also keep their freshly roasted beans in open bins which gives their stores a nice fresh aroma and a more relaxing atmosphere. Some say that their baristas are better trained (although that can be subjective).

The case for Starbucks:

In one word: Convenience. Just like McDonalds doesn't necessarily make the best burger, where they do win is in mass production, speed, and number of locations. They also have the added advantages of having an app and drive-thru.

Do you have a preference? If so, make sure you comment below with yours.

We hope you enjoyed our breakdown of Peet's Coffee and that your questions were answered in our in-depth review. We hope it has inspired you to give it a taste for yourself!


Beans, Coffee Review, Peets

About the author 

Joe Cabot

Joe LOVES coffee. He gets up at 6am every morning grind and brew a cup of coffee using the newest beans on his radar. Seriously! When he’s not experimenting with coffee blends or writing posts, you can find him hanging out with his wife and son in Ontario, Canada. Learn more.

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  • I discovered Peets on Pine St in Berkeley years ago and drove 100 miles round trip every few weeks for their coffee. Wish there was a retail store closer to me – I would never leave!

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