Sunday, April 15, 2012

Peet's Anniversary Blend 2012

I can be a bit of a coffee snob which means the supermarket is not necessarily my favorite place to buy beans. For one thing, there isn't a huge variety of whole bean choices and I prefer to grind before brewing every time. One of my favorite days is when a new shipment of my favorite coffee arrives from Beanstock. Their blends and varietals are the high bar I use to measure all coffees.

All that to the side, I have found Peet's Coffee to be a reliable source of good beans in the supermarket. Their Major Dickason's Blend makes a dark, rich and deeply flavored cup of java that has gotten me out the door on many a ski morning when the flesh was less than willing.

So I was understandably happy to see a new blend from them on the occasion of their 46th anniversary. It can be very dangerous to read the copy on a bag of coffee before you drink it as the hyperbole can unduly influence how you experience it, but I carefully scanned the bag to see what made this blend different. The main distinguishing factor is that 40% of the beans come from Rainforest Alliance Certifiied coffee from the Korona Plantation in Papua New Guinea. I wish I hadn't noticed that Peet's is donating 5% of the proceeds to Korona (up to $25,000) to help them establish clean water access for the local community. The fact that they're doing good made me want to like the coffee more, which could interfere with my objectivity.

I was only able to find ground coffee in my local Stop & Shop, but as Peet's prides themselves on the freshness of their product, I figured it would be close enough. While the first pot I made was too strong (I suck at measuring ground coffee), I could tell right away that this was good stuff. The second pot proved it: complex and dark with fruity overtones, each sip revealed new riches. Smooth and well-balanced, but not shy about its considerable strength, this is a great cup of coffee for morning or afternoon. My wife even thought it the equal of my beloved Beanstock. While I might not go that far, it might be the best coffee in the supermarket right now.

According to Peet's, bags of whole bean Anniversary Blend are available in their retail stores, by mail order and in west coast grocery stores. Even if wouldn't pay the shipping premium to get a crack at the whole beans, I would pick up a bag in in a retail store if I was walking by. And for the record, the hype on the bag was right on the money when it mentioned "the rich, vibrant and ripe fruit aromas."

Availability: Varies across channels. Mail order: Order by May 2nd. Retail: Until May 8th. Grocery Stores: Until May 25th.

What's your favorite coffee?


  1. I'm glad you had a good experience with this Anniversary Blend incarnation; I've got some queued up (along with a pound of the "New Guinea Korona" single varietal which is apparently the linchpin of this new blend) for shipment from this coming Wednesday's roast.

    I strongly recommend ordering Peet's beans via for direct shipment - they roast to order and ship immediately after roast, and that's the only way I've found to get the beans truly predictably fresh. You have to work out your own calculus for balancing the value of freshness versus the cost of shipping speed. For me, on the East coast, two-day seems optimal: one-day is punishingly expensive, but ground shipping results in the beans sadly celebrating their days of optimal drinkability in a UPS truck somewhere in the Great Middle.

    It's funny - I've kept trying other roasters from time to time over the decades since I first tasted some Peet's beans a friend had smuggled back from a visit to the Left Coast, but I keep coming back to Peet's as our house coffee for drip and french-press brewing. Their signature roast (not those newfangled underdone beans they're now offering, but what they call the "deep roast") just seems, to my palate, absolutely optimal for those brewing methods. It's a bit too dark and tends to have pre-expressed too many oils to work ideally for espresso, but it's great (a bit of roast flavor balanced well with the beans' intrinsic flavor, but well short of, say, the Starbucks Cinder) for drip and friends.

    Don't miss their Sulawesi-Kalosi, or the intriguingly deep and twisted flavors of the Aged Sumatra.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Jeff! It seems I have more Peet's pleasures in my future.