Peet’s Coffee Review: A Complete Guide to the Top Products

peet's coffee review
Source: Jack Morton

Although you may not realize that Peet’s Coffee is not exactly your average American brand, it has grown into a global powerhouse that can be found everywhere.

Because of Peet’s original blends, they outrank significant brands like Starbucks for obvious reasons. Here is our Peets Coffee review that covers their top blends and what makes them so unique.

Peet’s Coffee Review: Rating the Top Products

It’s not easy to compare apples to oranges, but when it comes to Peet’s Coffee; their coffee beans include authentic flavors you can’t find anywhere else. We’ve been given the task of reviewing 11 top blends from Peet’s Coffee and providing our findings that might just surprise you.

Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend

  • Item form: Ground
  • Flavor notes: Incomparable world blend, rich, complex, and full-bodied
  • Diet type: Kosher
  • Roast: Dark
  • Type of coffee: 100% Arabica

Here’s a blend that’s been around since 1969 and was also sold at Starbucks back in the good old days. This is specifically a dark-roast blend that was supposedly inspired by an actual retired U.S. Army officer. It’s a stiff cup of Joe that isn’t pulling any punches with a very robust richness and strength.

Major Dickason’s mix is a bold, powerful dark roast that manages to pack a punch of taste while remaining bitter-free. This is the best blend for you if you want bold, full-bodied coffee.

I don’t have many issues, and the price is the only thing that dampens my enthusiasm slightly. It isn’t outrageously priced, and the price isn’t high enough to prohibit it from being my favorite, but it isn’t the cheapest coffee available.

These are sold as whole and ground beans that make an excellent espresso blendThis coffee flavor is not weakened with milk and sugar
This features a traditional dark roast where the flavor is prominentThose who are looking for a mild blend will find this flavor too intense
The intensity that comes from this blend is a must for dark roast coffee fans

Peet’s Coffee House Blend

  • Item form: Ground
  • Flavor notes: Spice, Citrus, Toast
  • Diet type: Plant based
  • Roast: Dark
  • Coffee processing: Washed
  • Type of coffee: 100% Arabica
  • Suitable for: Pour over, French press, espresso

This is another dark roast coffee bean that has a generous oily sheen that covers these beans. While this flavor is perfect for espresso, many brewers love to use this brand for making French Press coffee.

This mix of carefully picked, quality beans from favored Latin American origins, first developed by Mr. Peet, produces a cup that is exceptionally rich and accessible, with a nice spiciness. To get the maximum taste and aroma, it’s deep-roasted by hand in small amounts.

This is one of the signature coffee, the one that Mr Peet called a starter coffee and recommended to anyone interested to try one of the Peet’s coffee.

These flavors will include a rich nutty flavor that is not overly bitterNot everyone will enjoy dark roast coffee that features a strong bold flavor
This version comes in decaf for those who are looking to avoid caffeineK-cups that are sold for this can be pricier than using reusable K-cups
These beans can be ground up and used in reusable K-cups

Peet’s Big Bang Coffee

  • Item form: Whole bean
  • Flavor notes: Fruit Cup, Milk Chocolate, Graham Crust
  • Roast: Medium
  • Coffee processing: Washed and natural
  • Coffee beans origin: Ethiopia, Latin America

This is a new blend that emerged in 2016 and is not named because of the Big Bang Theory. It was actually released on the 50th anniversary of Peet’s Coffee which feels that Albert Peet was the Big Bang of craft coffee.

Big Bang adds the sweet and aromatic citrus notes of Ethiopian Super Natural to an old classic, crafted with Latin American and East African beans, including some of the same quality coffees as the Major Dickason’s mix.

The added Ethiopian beans make this bold dark roast coffee fruity and pleasantThis blend is a bit pricier than other blends that Peet’s Coffee offers
Despite the dark roast beans, this is closer to a medium roast blendThose that enjoy dark roasted coffee will not enjoy this version
This blend is not too acidic and has plenty of fruity notes

Peet’s Arabian Mocha-Java

  • Item form: Whole bean
  • Flavor notes: Cocoa, Port, Cardamom
  • Roast: Dark
  • Coffee processing: Natural and rustic
  • Coffee beans origin: Java, Yemen

This is a blend that combines flavors that bring out a bittersweet dark chocolate taste. These are obviously Mocha java beans from Indonesia and Arabian Mocha beans that are dark brown and very oily. This is among some of the oldest coffee bean blends that make a great combo.

Even with beans from other areas being widely available, this mix of rich Mocha coffee from Arabia balanced with estate Java remains a favorite blend around the world.

If you’re looking for a classic mocha blend, this is the perfect blend from Peet’sThis is a dark roast coffee with burnt tones that might not satisfy many coffee drinkers
These beans will produce a rich bodied coffee full of flavor and complexitySome dark roast coffee fans will not like the medicinal flavor
This blend also is available in decaf if you don’t want the caffeine

Peet’s Guatemala San Sebastian

  • Item form: Whole bean
  • Flavor notes: Vanilla Orchid, Bittersweet Chocolate, Guayaba Pastille
  • Roast: Dark
  • Coffee processing: Washed
  • Coffee beans origin: Guatemala

If you’re in the mood for a delicious nutty and chocolate-like flavor with subtle hints of honey wheat toast, this dark roast is for you. This is also considered a single-origin coffee that comes from Guatemala.

The Antigua Valley of Guatemala produces some of the world’s best coffee, nestled between three enormous volcanoes at an elevation of 5,000 feet. Only here does the heirloom Arabica bean variety known as Bourbón produce such a sublimely sweet coffee fruit, with the arid climate stressing the trees just enough to produce the beans’ tantalizingly nuanced flavors.

Finca San Sebastián, a renowned estate in this renowned region, distinguishes out above all others in terms of quality and care. Early morning sun, upper slopes, and plenty of shaded Borbón—everything about this property is ideal for producing consistently superior coffee. This is where Peet’s Coffee buys the beans used for this single-origin.

The overall scent from these beans is a delicious brownie and walnut-like scentFor a dark roast coffee, this tends to taste more like city roast or medium roast
These beans will be excellent from the French press and cold brew recipesThis blend is considered pricy because of the single-origin aspect
These coffee flavors will go perfectly with milk products that enhance the taste

Peet’s Sumatra Batak Peaberry

  • Item form: Whole bean
  • Flavor notes: Sweet tobacco, teak wood, treacle
  • Roast: Dark
  • Coffee processing: Wet-hulled

This is not your average northern Sumatra Indonesian blend that’s made from dark-roasted coffee beans. The biggest difference is that this is very fruity with a distinct grapefruit flavor with berries and chocolate mixed in.

Sumatra Batak, the best coffee on the island, comes from the lush greenery surrounding the South Lake Toba town of Lintong-nihuta—though this sweet-and-spicy heavyweight has a less precise provenance than an estate coffee; it is produced only by smallholders, and its profoundly aromatic impact appears to be sourced only from the area.

To make this fragrant Sumatra, Batak farmers use a wet-hulling process called Giling Basah, in which the coffee is hulled and dried in a sequence of processes that expose each bean to unique tropical influences. It’s a risky and inconsistent procedure, but it’s what gives Indonesian coffees their hefty spice and satisfying finish.

These beans feature a bold earthy flavor followed by fruity notesFor those who don’t like cigar tobacco sweetness, this won’t be appealing to drink
This is a great coffee with a nice and clean finishThis blend isn’t always available at every store and is easier to find online
This coffee has low acidity that isn’t overly bright while drinking it

Peet’s JR Reserve Blend

  • Item form: Whole bean
  • Flavor notes: Rum, Spice, Cocoa
  • Roast: Dark
  • Coffee beans origin: Africa/Arabia, Americas, Indo-Pacific

This is a dark roasted coffee bean that offers hints of chocolate and spice. It’s a bright and full-bodied coffee that is sourced from Costa Rica. No matter how you brew this coffee, it’s perfect for hot and cold brewing. This coffee is named after Jim Reynolds who created a unique blend using Costa Rican beans.

JR Reserve is only available in small quantities—half-pound bags—and is only roasted once a week. This is done by Peet’s to ensure that it is as fresh as possible when you receive it.

For a single-origin coffee that is dark roasted, added flavors are easy to complimentThis is not a cheap blend and will be pricy due to the country of origin
Depending on the roasting date, you can experience varied flavors that are more definedThis flavor profile may not be good for some dark roast fans

Peet’s Yosemite Dos Sierra Organic

  • Item form: Ground, Whole bean
  • Flavor notes: Apricot, Toasted Almond, Milk Chocolate
  • Roast: Dark
  • Coffee processing: Washed
  • Coffee beans origin: Americas

This single-origin medium-dark coffee that comes from Colombia is offering a crisp and full-bodied flavor that is completely organic. The overall flavor is similar to milk chocolate and nutty flavors. This helps make these coffee beans excellent for adding milk and sugar.

These responsibly farmed coffee beans ripen slowly in the diffused sunlight at the Finca La Cabaa estate on the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta highlands in Colombia, generating a rich, subtle flavor.

Farming without destroying forest (a criteria for Bird Friendly accreditation) helps to preserve important biodiversity and allows birds to survive the winter before their annual migration north.

These beans are best recommended for French Press brewing, Moka pots, and espressoIt will be pricier due to the environmental and certified organic label
The overall taste is heavy bodied with a creamy tasteAny coffee beans ordered online may not be as fresh as you would like them to be
These beans are Rainforest Alliance certified when the beans are harvested

Peet’s Gaia Organic Blend

  • Item form: Whole bean
  • Flavor notes: Blossom, Earth, Cacao
  • Roast: Dark
  • Coffee processing: Washed and Wet-hulled
  • Coffee beans origin: Africa/Arabia, Americas, Indo-Pacific

This is another certified organic blend that is a mix of South American, Indonesian, and African coffee beans. This coffee provides earthy, floral, and cocoa flavors that come from each of these beans.

Gaia Blend is selected by Peet’s for its high quality and is verified for how it is farmed, making it suitable for both the palate and the world.

This blend is a living coffee that changes with the seasons, delicately shifting as extraordinary crops of certified organic beans are collected and introduced throughout the year. In the late fall or early spring, you might perceive the sweetening impact of the new crop in Colombia, followed by a vigorous infusion of coffees from Central America in the spring. Ethiopia, which is floral and exquisite, comes close behind, and Sumatra provides rustic pleasures all year.

A great coffee with a smooth flavor that won’t upset your stomachThis coffee will have a bitter aftertaste if you don’t brew it correctly
A good strong roasted coffee with very light acidityThis can be pricy due to the organic coffee promise where the beans come from
Perfect for making espresso or cold brew coffee recipes

Peet’s Organic French Roast

  • Item form: Whole bean and ground
  • Flavor notes: Dark Chocolate, Smoke, Burnt Sugar
  • Roast: Dark
  • Coffee processing: Washed
  • Coffee beans origin: Americas

This final Peets Coffee review features a dark-roast organic blend that is also a French blend. The satisfying chocolate flavors are similar to chocolate truffle and smoky caramel with a full and rich taste that French roast is known for.

The beans for this dark roast come from leading Latin American origins including Guatemala and Colombia, where high altitudes allow coffee cherries to mature more slowly, becoming denser, tougher, and flavorful. Under the heat of a deep roast, these naturally bright, luscious beans retain their rich character.

These coffee beans are perfect for pour-over coffee through espresso machinesOrganic coffee beans are often considered pricier due to the organic sourcing
This is an excellent coffee brewed using cold brewing methodsBeware of stale coffee beans that are sold through online outlets older than 6 months
The organic blend will not upset your stomach despite being a dark French roast

What to Consider when Buying Peet’s Coffee

Coffee nutrition

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, black coffee has no calories. As a result, black coffee is suitable for most diets. What makes a difference is what you put in your black coffee. If you add milk, sugar, and/or creamer, for example, you’ll have to calculate the calories from each item separately. Peet’s coffee has nutritional values similar to other coffee. That can change if you add milk or sugar to your beverage. If you want to drink a zero sugar coffee, try to stick to the Americano.

Caffeine content

It’s tough to tell how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee. It all relies on the bean origin and roast, the method of preparation (such as whether you used a French press or a Keurig), the type of water used, and the grind. Peets did provide us some ballpark figures based on their brewing advice:

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


As we have seen, there are many different blends that Peet’s sells on the market. At the end, each one differs for the taste notes that you can find in it. Taste can be subjective and what tastes good for me, maybe it doesn’t taste good for you.

If I have to suggest you one blend to try, I would say Major Dickason. Mr. Peet used to propose that prospective customers try their House Blend as a “starter coffee” to familiarize themselves with their offerings. That’s a good concept, but it’ll be another dark roast. If a dark roast is too intense for you, Café Domingo is a good alternative. It’s a medium roast with a Latin American blend with nutty, sweet toffee overtones.

Roast level

The way your coffee is roasted has a big impact on the flavor you get in your drink. Peet’s specializes in dark roasts, and they’ve mastered the art of producing robust, rich coffee without crossing the line into bitterness. Dark roasts aren’t for everyone, and Peet’s has various options if you don’t like ultra-dark coffee.

Light roasts are characterized by their light body and fruity flavor profiles. They can be hit or miss, and getting them right sometimes takes more effort than it’s worth. Brewing a light roast may be a frustrating process, and when they go wrong, they’re frequently sour and unpalatable, or harsh and astringent.

The Peet’s Coffee Subscription Review

Opening your door to a delivery of freshly roasted beans, especially if they were carefully chosen to suit your tastes, is nothing short of thrilling if you’re a coffee lover.

That’s exactly what you get when you sign up for a Peet’s coffee subscription.

Peet’s coffee has grown in popularity over the last fifty years while preserving its founder’s commitment to quality. As a result, you can find premium beans in a variety of roast levels and flavor profiles in your coffee subscription box.

Peet’s menu consists solely of coffees from the brand. Some coffee subscription boxes, such as Trade Coffee and Craft Coffee, buy beans from a variety of roasters, allowing them to provide hundreds of alternatives. At the moment, you can find around 53 coffees available with Peet’s.

Peet’s subscription box is divided into two types. The first, frequent brewer, gives you the option of selecting your beans, grind, and delivery schedule. If you know what you like and want to make sure you never run out, this is a terrific alternative.

A curated subscription, on the other hand, comes with three alternatives and a useful questionnaire to help you choose.

Because most of Peet’s products come from their normal stock of beans, their memberships are reasonably priced. The most cost-effective option is $16.95 per month.


  • Coffee is shipped within 24 hours of roasting
  • Free shipping
  • Delivered to your door at your schedule
  • Can choose small-batch, single-origin, or blend subscription


  • Not a huge coffee selection
  • You get only Peet’s coffee
  • Deliver only once a month

History of Peet’s Coffee

Peet’s Coffee has a very long history that is filled with ups and downs and is literally a roller coaster ride that founder Alfred Peet was not always proud of. As we commonly see successful entrepreneurs always include a shocking and tragic past. And Alfred Peet was born into a Dutch family in 1920 that sold coffee, tea, and spices in the town of Alkmaar in the Netherlands.

At the start of the Second World War, many Dutch citizens were summoned by Dutch court order to register for work in German factory camps. Alfred was among the few who avoided this registration and was eventually arrested and taken directly to Germany for defying this order. It was from working in this German factory that Alfred learned a valuable ethic that some people can attest to how Alfred settled into a strict and hard-lined working habit.

At some point before the end of the war, Alfred escaped from this factory camp and was living on the run for more than 5 years. Alfred then found himself hopping onto a ship to Indonesia in 1948 and learned about coffee while living in Sumatra and Java. After this, he moved to New Zealand in 1950 for another 5 years before he moved to America in 1955. He settled in Berkley, CA where Alfred eventually opened his first coffee shop.

His coffee shop was right down the street from Chez Panisse which was owned by Alice Waters. This was one of the first restaurants that began the famous California Cuisine menu that Wolfgang Puck made famous. In actuality, the head chef that Alice Waters would eventually hire Ed LaDou in the 1970s would become the father of California Cuisine. It seems that Alfred was the big supplier of coffee for Chez Panisse.

His passion for coffee highly influenced Alice Waters to explore new angles on food and wine that helped create the farm-to-table healthy food concept. This was later exploited by Wolfgang puck who later hired Ed LaDou at his famous Spago restaurant in the 1980s. In a similar twist of fate, Albert met with a trio of coffee enthusiasts, where he found the respect he was craving.

Around late December 1970, Alfred hired three students who attended UC Berkley to work at his shop. These new employees included Jerry Baldwin, Gordon Bowker, and Zev Siegl who began to learn the process of roasting coffee. This trio was ambitious and decided to open a new business in Seattle modeled after Alfred’s shop. This location was located at Pikes Place and was originally known as Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spices.

Even though these three owners had little knowledge of coffee roasting by the time they opened their first store in around April of 1971, they directly bought all of their coffee beans from Alfred Peet’s store. The Starbucks store copied everything from Alfred with his approval and taught these young guys how to expertly roast coffee. Because they also included a sample coffee bar to help sell these beans, the concept took-off well in Seattle.

Eventually, Starbucks was able to expand and open more stores around downtown Seattle and could purchase its first in-store coffee roaster. This trio was so invested in Alfred that they offered to buy his company outright in 1979. By that point, Alfred had grown to be a bitter man and sold his business for a little more than 1.5 million. This was a risky move for Starbucks that was becoming cash-strapped and also a target by a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

This wolf turned out to be Howard Shultz who later was hired by Starbucks after 2 years of being pestered since 1980. By 1982, Howard became Starbucks’ regional sales director. He didn’t like the Starbucks model and wanted to turn their coffee house into the same concept that Italian coffee bars followed instead of just selling coffee beans. In 1987, Shultz decided to leave Starbucks to make a chain of Il Giornale all over Seattle.

By this time, Starbucks was hurting financially and was approached by Howard to buy out their Starbucks locations. Luckily, the contract and 4 store locations for Peet’s remained in the hands of Jerry Baldwin who bought the company back (after it was sold to Sal Bonavita) with the money that Shultz paid to the three owners. Even though Shultz rebranded Starbucks along with their signature roasted beans, Howard Shultz owned the rights.

What Shultz did not understand is that the original taste of Starbucks coffee beans was actually Peet’s coffee. He buried the method that the prior owners were using and slipped his own version which was the standard dark-roasted Italian beans. Many people still wonder what happened to that unique Starbucks flavor, but it was Peet’s coffee all along and can still be enjoyed to this day.

Final Verdict

Despite the tragic tale of Alfred Peet, his dedication to roasting coffee beans is still alive and well and wasn’t ruined by Starbucks coffee. And because you can buy Peet’s coffee under different labels including Stumptown coffee, they are currently owned by Jakobs Douwe Egberts. This makes Peet’s coffee a uniquely European coffee that continues to be just as popular as they were back in the early 60s when Peet’s Coffee first appeared in Berkley.

Giacomo is an Italian living in Shanghai since 2016. After working as a barista in Italy, he started to be more interested in the different types of coffee, beans, and the ways to prepare this ancient beverage. He founded Authority Coffee and he is currently on a mission to find the best coffee in China.