Peet's Coffee & Tea doesn't fall under the category of artisan coffeehouses. Yet the Berkeley, Calif.-based company is winning Pittsburgh fans with four new shops that opened last fall in former Caribou Coffee locations.
The stores are part of a nationwide expansion starting in Cleveland, then moving to Pennsylvania and Michigan, with 90 shops to open over two years.
In addition to quality coffee, the growing chain focuses on ethical labor practices, competitive wages and local partnerships. Here in Pittsburgh, Peet's serves food from Mediterra Bakehouse and has donated proceeds to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
Peet's also appeals to customers' quest for artisan in limited-edition coffees such as the full-bodied, herbal Bali Kintamani ($16.95 per pound). The Sumatra Batak Peaberry recently on sale requires a wet-hulling process to separate beans from coffee cherries that makes for a smooth and sweet brew.
Locally, the most popular bar drinks are the toasted marshmallow mocha and the cafe mocha at the Oakland store.
The first Peet's was opened in 1966 by Dutchman Alfred Peet, who roasted small batches to produce dark roasts.
Although Peet's retail shops have just entered the market, the coffee has been sold at Giant Eagle locations for several years.
Peet's Coffee & Tea Pittsburgh locations:
• Oakland: 3619 Forbes Ave., 412-567-8033
• South Side: 2729 E. Carson St., 412-246-8895
• Brentwood: 4100 Brownsville Road, 412-253-2400
• Waterworks Mall, near Aspinwall, 1027 Freeport Road, 412-961-8315