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Peet's, Baskets & Italian vs. N. American Blends by Mark Prince
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MarkPrince
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Posted Fri Aug 31, 2007, 11:00pm
Subject: Peet's, Baskets & Italian vs. N. American Blends by Mark Prince
 

Peet's, Baskets & Italian vs. N. American Blends
by Mark Prince

State of Coffee this week has a look at the legacy of Alfred Peet, a huge call out for manufacturers to improve filter baskets and dispersion screens, and some discussion about the recent Italian vs. US blends reviews on Coffee Review.
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harrymanback
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Posted Sun Sep 2, 2007, 8:08am
Subject: Re: Peet's, Baskets & Italian vs. N. American Blends by Mark Prince
 

yay!  the kid gloves are off!  very funny and informative article.  i'm a big proponent of the ability to be critical without being insulting.  i love coffeegeek for the reviews and the forums, but the honest, unfettered opinions of mark and the other featured columnists was lacking.  kudos for the courage in taking this step.

one of the great things about a really great coffee shop is the ability to create community -- places where friends and strangers can gather not only to hang out (ie, third place) but converse about controversial topics, even the quality in the cup.  my favorite cafés are the ones that not only serve up quality shots, but encourage honest criticism of coffee, even their own.

*raises his cup of yerg to mark and pete*

harry.

 
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MarkPrince
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Posted Sun Sep 2, 2007, 1:45pm
Subject: Re: Peet's, Baskets & Italian vs. N. American Blends by Mark Prince
 

PS - a small addition made to the article: I asked George Howell for some of his thoughts on Peet and his legacy. George's words have been added to the section about Alfred Peet. Please give it a read.

Mark, raising multiple cups of fine coffee to Alfred Peet this weekend.

 
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GaryH
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Posted Sun Sep 2, 2007, 2:28pm
Subject: Re: Peet's, Baskets & Italian vs. N. American Blends by Mark Prince
 

Here is my 2 cents about Italian vs. US blends. Over the past six years I've visited lots of third wave coffee houses on the West Coast where I've had lots of great tasting ristrettos and I also pulled very good shots at home using US blends.

GaryH: Ristrettos1.jpg
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GaryH
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Posted Sun Sep 2, 2007, 2:29pm
Subject: Re: Peet's, Baskets & Italian vs. N. American Blends by Mark Prince
 

I've never been to Italy but in the town of Palo Alto, California, are two coffee houses that serve espresso using beans imported from Italy (so beans are many days/weeks after roast). This photo shows Caffe Del Doge in Palo Alto whose home base is in Venice Italy (I havent read good things about Venice regarding espressos). But this nice tasting single espresso, pulled using Nero beans, had good body, was nutty with some complexity. It was a nice shot that comes pretty close to a good average shot that I've had at third wave US coffee houses. But unfortunately espressos at Del Doge can also have thin body with carbon and taste worse than Starbucks.

GaryH: Doge5.jpg
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GaryH
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Posted Sun Sep 2, 2007, 2:30pm
Subject: Re: Peet's, Baskets & Italian vs. N. American Blends by Mark Prince
 

Illy espresso at a coffee house in Pismo Beach, California. Tasted the same as a Starbucks espresso but without the carbon taste.

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GaryH
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Posted Sun Sep 2, 2007, 3:19pm
Subject: Re: Peet's, Baskets & Italian vs. N. American Blends by Mark Prince
 

At Douce France, a coffee house in Palo Alto, California, this single espresso was made using Bian coffee beans from Italy. It was a very nice shot with lots of body, some complexity and a very nice nutty taste. Much better than a Forte espresso at Peet's. This shot was also better than an average shot at a third wave US coffee house. It really surprised me. An espresso made with imported Italian beans can be very good and very enjoyable.

So based on my very limited experience with Italian espresso, hence my 2 cent opinion, espressos made with imported Italian beans can be very good, but are a bit boring. Compared to the best Italian espressos I've had in the US, a very good shot at a third wave US coffee house, like Blue Bottle or Ecco, has much more complexity and richness. Even the best Italian espressos I've had fall way short compared to the best US blend shots.

GaryH: Douce_France_Aug06.jpg
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GaryH
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Posted Sun Sep 2, 2007, 4:46pm
Subject: Re: Peet's, Baskets & Italian vs. N. American Blends by Mark Prince
 

The heritage and influence of Alfred Peet is a bit of a mixed bag for me. I actually do go to a Peet's coffee house more often than to a third wave coffee house. That is because of the many nice locations and nice look of the Peet's coffee houses. Espresso Forte is just OK, not realy worth ordering. My favorte is a small, low fat, vanilla latte with a double shot of espresso. They do it better than Starbucks. The non-coffeegeek crowd realizes that too. Peet's milk based espresso drinks are much better than I get at an average coffee house. I've been going to Peet's for about 15 years but only 5% of my knowledge about espresso comes from Peet's. Peet's heritage and influence didn't get me very far. Coffeegeek taught me 95%. Why is it that most people who visit Peet's think they are getting the best coffee? Maybe that's what Peet's wants them to think. Same goes for Starbucks. Coffeegeek continually pushes bounderies and teaches and challenges me so much more than Peet's. But without Peet's there may not have been coffeegeek. From that perspective Peet's does have a great heritage.

GaryH: Peets_3.jpg
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GaryH
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GaryH
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Posted Sun Sep 2, 2007, 5:04pm
Subject: Re: Peet's, Baskets & Italian vs. N. American Blends by Mark Prince
 

Applying coffeegeek heritage and influence to Peet's coffee. This is an Ethiopian SO from Peet's and I used knowledge learned on coffeegeek to pull these shots. Quite nice but they did have a bit of carbon taste. It's good that Peet's introduced high quality specialty SO beans but unfortunately at Peet's they don't pull any SO espressos (not such a bad thing). But if it wasn't for coffeegeek I wouldn't know about darkness of roast, time after roast, grinding, tamping, prosumer espresso machines, pull time, ristrettos, naked PF, brew water temperature, crema, flavor profile, and the possibility of pulling shots with SO beans. I appreciate the heritage and influence coffeegeek has on my life.

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GaryH
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GaryH
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Posted Sun Sep 2, 2007, 5:42pm
Subject: Re: Peet's, Baskets & Italian vs. N. American Blends by Mark Prince
 

Peet's Columbia peaberry SO pulled at home as a ristretto. In this case, using the same beans, press coffee at Peet's tasted better than my ristretto shots.

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