K Cups arrive at Peet's






As further proof that marketing departments even in good companies have an unerring inverse Midas Touch, in my email in-box today (while I was enjoying a quite lovely cup of Peet's Kenya, as irony would have it), was a missive announcing the advent of Peet's Single Cup Coffee:

http://www.peets.com/coffee/single-cups.html

Not only is Peet's very late to a really boring (Keurig K Cup) party, but look at the coffees being offered:

House Bland (I mean Blend)
French Roast ("tastes like burnt toast" - Jim Reynolds)
Café Domingo (a "medium roast" that is the antithesis of everything Peet's used to stand for)
Decaf House Blend (yawn)
Major Dickason's (the one selection that might actually be worth drinking)

For those who haven't read it, Ken Davids has an excellent overview of the Keurig K Cup scene on Coffee Review:

http://www.coffeereview.com/article.cfm?ID=206

Towards the end of this article Davids points out that only the new Keurig Vue system gets the water hot enough to brew a cup that meets professional standards. Getting the temperature right is important for any coffee, but the darker the roast the higher the temperature needed for optimum extraction. The introductory letter for the Peet's K Cups makes it clear that a heavier dose and a filter designed to let some sediment through are part of their package, but water that's ~20 degrees too cold is certainly not going to yield optimum results.

Imagine if the initial offerings had at least been coffees a Peet's fan could actually get excited about: Sumatra, Guatemala, Ethiopian Fancy, Arabian Mocha Sanani (or even Mocha Java), Ethiopian Super Natural (the best Peet's coffee of all time, IMHO), etc. Instead you have a lineup that is guaranteed to yield no coffees that rate any higher than the dark-roasted Green Mountain Sumatra and Starbucks Tribute Blend in the Coffee Review tastings.

I had hoped that Peet's reverting to private ownership after their disastrously un-strategic expansion during their years as a public company might mean a renewed focus on quality and a clearly articulated leadership position in the marketplace. It's really a shame because the green coffee buying, roasting and in-store brewing at Peet's are still first rate. How sad then that now one can buy Peet's in K Cups but you still can't purchase an electric drip brewer that meets standards or even a fricking Aeropress or Clever Dripper in their stores. If Starbucks is the Hertz (market leader) and Green Mountain is Avis (trying harder), what is Peet's position ("we imitate the rest after long after the ship has sailed?"). That's a sad role for the company that started the specialty coffee revolution.

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