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Peet’s Coffee Review (2020 Update) – Is it Worth The Money?

Many big coffee companies sell stale coffee! Coffee tastes best about 3-14 days after it’s roasted, but some coffees sit around a warehouse for months before your purchase. .

Peet’s Coffee roasts to order and ships whole bean or ground coffee to your door!

Peet's San sebastian Guatemala review

Here we try one of Peet’s highest rated top sellers on their website several ways: v60, french press, even “cowboy coffee” style. 

Read on to learn what a big difference fresh coffee makes!

Major third wave player

You know Peet’s Coffee & Tea-- the Berkeley, California native shop that became super popular with the rise of Silicon Valley. They eventually bought out cult coffee favorites Stumptown and Intelligentsia in a merger that rocked third-wave coffee.

Oh, you didn’t know that? It’s just your local drive through that for some reason serves coffee that’s inexplicably better than Starbucks? Fair. You prefer your morning cup without industry drama.

In good company

Peet’s has been roasting coffee by hand for over 50 years. After gaining popularity in the Bay Area with the rise of Silicon Valley, Peet’s became large enough to buy cult favorite coffee roasters, Chicago-based Intelligentsia Coffee and Portland-based Stumptown Coffee.

Peet’s has expanded across the U.S. in recent years, offering local specialty coffee products at Starbucks-level efficiency and precision. Peet’s is known for having extremely fresh, high quality coffee, and those new to the chain will recognize the superior quality on first sip.

It’s no surprise that one of their top sellers is a single origin coffee from Guatemala. Guatemala is a favorite for Arabica coffee, that sweet and delicious varietal often bragged about by roasters.

Arabica coffees tend to be sweet and rich, and Guatemalan Arabicas tend to share qualities with the country’s other big export, cacao/chocolate. So what makes this coffee a top seller? 

Obsessive perfection

Legend has it that Mr. Peet was an original coffee supplier to Starbucks, as well as an inspiration for coffee roasting to generations to follow. Alfred Peet, a dutch immigrant, was surprised to find that “the richest country in the world” was drinking such terrible coffee. This was an issue of sourcing (after WWII, Americans had settled for low coffee quality, watered down) and lack of roasting knowledge.

Luckily, Mr. Peet was the son of a coffee roaster!

Freshness has always been an important aspect of the company and is without a doubt what set Peet’s apart in the beginning. Coffee tastes its absolute best in the 3-14 day window afer its roasted. After that it degrades rapidly. This does not mean it will taste bad, just that it will taste quite different. That je ne sais quoi of Peet’s was certainly its freshness.

What’s in a Single Origin

For a bag of coffee to be “single origin”, it means that every bean in the bag comes from the same location. Sometimes this is even the same plot of a coffee plantation. In this case, the San Sebastian coffee farm in Antigua.

Single origin coffees will usually be seasonal, which can be “limited edition” because once all the crop is harvested, that’s it for the year. Coffee roasters with significant purchasing power, such as Peet’s, are able to buy the entire year’s crop in order to offer it year round.
Peet’s has been working with this particular farm in Antigua for nearly half a century. That suggests a few things- a healthy working relationship between buyer and producer, a consistent product worth continuous purchase, and steady consumer demand!

Ideal climate

You’ve heard Guatemalan coffee is some of the best coffee in the world, but aren’t sure why. You may not even know if you like the taste of Guatemalan coffee.

Or, maybe you love Guatemalan coffees but are skeptical of Peet’s “best farm in Antigua” claim. Guatemala is a top exporter of specialty coffee, which means basically every specialty roaster offers Guatemalan coffee.

Antigua is Guatemala’s most famous coffee region. Why?

  • Lots of sunshine
  • Low humidity
  • Good volcanic soil

These conditions yield some of the most delicious coffees in the world. So, calling San Sebastián “the best farm in Antigua” is a serious statement.

Many factors go into being “the best farm” but the main one is, of course, the coffee.

Even then, the best coffee in the world can be ruined by overzealous roasting. Luckily, Peet’s has learned a thing over the last 50 years in business. You’re right to be thinking about buying coffee from these freshness fanatics.

Does Peet’s top selling single-origin offering live up to such a lofty claim?

We were not disappointed 

So, what does a top seller from a top roaster taste like? We ordered a bag and tried it a few different ways.

For this review, this coffee was taken on a cross-country road trip. The coffee was brewed many ways, such as:

  • french press
  • V60
  • cold brewed in a glass bottle and strained with a coffee sock
  • a hotel Mr. Coffee carafe
  • Cowboy Style-- in a pot over a campfire. Let’s just say they were well acquainted by the end of the trip! 

This coffee does what coffee does best, provides a rich source of comfort (and a caffeine boost!) in a chaotic world. It does so by being simple, versatile and immensely satisfying. It’s exactly what you want coffee to taste like at the moment you’re desperately craving coffee. 

peets coffee review

Deliciously Versatile 

In the bag: vacuum sealed for freshness means you get the full aroma after opening the bag. This coffee has a strong, comforting aroma. Nutty, chocolatey with hints of honey-wheat toast. Smells quite fresh.

Coffee grounds dry fragrance: even richer! You start to wonder if the coffee can possibly taste as good as it smells, which is basically like a chocolate nougat bar.

Brewing/wet aroma: coffee takes on a slight mesquite smell, but otherwise it’s brownies all the way. The box kind, with walnuts. You’re already salivating!

In the cup: as we mentioned, this coffee was brewed quite a few different ways and proved to be very versatile. Across the board, we got notes of rich chocolate and fruity nuts. Brewed hot in a drip machine, some pleasant citrus acidity shined through (think sweet oranges).

The overnight cold brew was definitely our favorite as it took on a super fudgy character with zero bitterness. Note: paired exceptionally well with coconut milk.

Things We Like

  • Delicious in many forms, including cold brew, french press and drip machine 
  • Strikes perfect balance between nuanced and approachable
  • Fresh roasted to order
  • Feel good vibes: direct trade, in line with Peet’s commitment to “People & Planet

Things We Didn't Like

  • A little on the pricey side
  • Single origin coffee fluctuates season-to-season
  • Quite mild for a “dark roast”, if that’s what you’re looking for 
peets san sebastian review

The Verdict: Single Origin Goodness is in the Roast

While Peet’s offers many blends, the Guatemala San Sebastian is a unique single origin offering that’s been a favorite for over forty years. This coffee is specially harvested in Antigua for Peet’s. The beans reflect their terroir with rich cocoa notes and elegant acidity, but the coffee becomes truly excellent because of Peets’ expert roasting.

You may not find this to be a dark roast

That’s really where things get divisive-- there are only 2 negative reviews for this coffee and they suggest this is not a proper dark roast. This reviewer would certainly agree-- the light color and lack of oil on the beans suggests something closer to a medium roast. If you’re looking for a thick, burnt-toast flavor, you might want to look for something darker. 

What Peet’s has done is taken a high quality, well-loved coffee and roasted it to bring out its best characteristics. It’s so good that roast becomes irrelevant! 

Especially great for an afternoon pick me up.


Something about this fudgy, nutty flavor profile urges you to drink it in the afternoon when you get a sugar or sweet treat craving. This coffee would make an excellent espresso. Pairs well with walnut chocolate chip cookies or a croissant. 

If you’re curious about Peet’s sourcing practices, head to their website to learn more.


Have you tried this coffee? Leave a comment with your brew recipe. Or, let us know your favorite coffee from Guatemala. Thanks!

Dennies is the founder and editor-in-chief of Dripped Coffee. He is a trained barista who knows coffee like the back of his hand. When he's not brewing coffee, you can find him fishing or swimming.

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