Peet's Coffee in Walnut Square in Berkeley, California is the first of many locations of Peet's Coffee. During the late 1970s, I was a graduate student at University of California, majoring in biochemistry, and my apartment was on Walnut Street, almost directly across from Peet's. The last time I was at Peet's was a month ago (Sept. 2014). Peet's is distinguished, of course, by the fact that its coffee is of gourmet-quality, and by the fact that it offers a selection of coffees from around the world.
A PLACE FOR ELEGANT GIFTS. Peet's also has a fine selection of gourmet tea, as well as various accessories for brewing and drinking. Peet's is a fine gift shop, and it can be a source of inspiration when one is invited over for dinner at somebody's house. Regarding gifts, I prefer to buy tea, because one cannot always be sure if your host is familiar with coffee as it should taste, or if your host is familiar with the powerful impact of Peet's coffee on the various senses. At any rate, as a gift, I prefer to buy the tea (rather than the coffee).
MY WEEKEND RITUAL. During the late 1970s, Peet's Coffee at Walnut Street was a regular ritual for me, for weekend after weekend, during my 5-year career as a graduate student. The adventure of trying a new type of coffee, e.g., from Sumatra or from Columbia, was my way of being nice to myself. But usually, I always ordered Guatemalan, because it was the least expensive. During the late 1970s, it was the case that a small cup of Peet's gave me the jitters. When I moved to Wisconsin in 1980, to work at University of Wisconsin, my mother sometimes mailed me bags of Peet's coffee. Even before opening up the package, I knew what was inside, because of the pungent array of natural aromas from the roasted coffee, that seeped through the packaging. Eventually, I adapted to the strength of Peet's coffees (perhaps to the induction of microsomal enzymes in my liver), and it is not the case that even a medium cup of Peet's gives me jitters any more.
THE NEIGHBORHOOD. Peet's Coffee at Walnut Street is part of the "gourmet ghetto." Down the block, one finds the Cheeseboard Collective, one of the finest additions to the gourmet scene in San Francisco Bay area, and perhaps in all of California. Also nearby is Chez Panisse (where I've been only once), Cha Am (a Thai restaurant where I went on a dozen occasions), and other distinguished restaurants. Thus, for residents of Berkeley, or for tourists interested in going up the Campanile, or in visiting the university art museum, the "gourmet ghetto" provides a fine place to go before or after visiting the U.C. Berkeley campus.
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