Category Archives: Coffee

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day 2: Win Peet’s Coffee holiday blend

Holiday blend from Peet’s Coffee and Tea

Holiday blend from Peet’s Coffee and Tea

It’s Day Two of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” See end of article for how to win great coffee from Peet’s. And if you haven’t finished (or started) your holiday shopping, here are some items to consider for coffee fans on your gift list.

Peet’s Holiday Blend: An annual tradition, this year’s special blend is spicy, rich and satisfying, slightly bittersweet balanced by notes of ripe fruit to create a smooth and full finish. It’s available at Peet’s cafes, local grocery stores and online ( It can be purchased by itself or as part of several gift packages. For example, if your gift recipient has a sweet tooth, there’s a gift set with a half-pound of 2015 Holiday Blend coffee and a three-piece package of popular Jo’s Peppermint Bark.

Exclusive Single-Origin Coffees in Festive Gold Tins: Peet’s exclusive line of exotic and rare premium coffees – CoopeDota Micro, Kona Peaberry and Jamaica Blue Mountain–are hand-scooped into golden keepsake tins. They’re available at all Peet’s stores nationwide.

DIY Coffee Lover Gift: You can use Peet’s premium coffee beans/grounds to make something creative. Peet’s suggests either 1) a DIY cold brew kit with the Holiday Blend or Peet’s Baridi (a special blend formulated for cold coffee), a re-usable coffee filter and a sampling of sweeteners. Stuff into a large mason jar and tie with a festive ribbon; or 2) a holiday survival kit including Peet’s coffee, bath products, candles, energy bars, a stress ball, and medicine for when you’ve attended one-too-many Christmas parties.




Five lucky readers will each win a pound of Peet’s holiday blend coffee

To enter, email your name to by 9 pm. Tuesday, Dec. 15 and include the word “Peet’s.” The drawing will take place the next morning and the winners will be notified via email.

Employees of are not eligible for the promotion.

Good luck and happy holidays!

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.


National Coffee Day: Peet’s is giving away free coffee with food purchase

Peet's Coffee and Tea (used with permission)

Peet’s Coffee and Tea
(used with permission)

Peet’s Coffee and Tea has a promotion to celebrate National Coffee Day Sept. 29, 2015: all Peet’s across the country are offering a free small cup of Peet’s Major Dickason blend with any purchase of a baked good, Simply Oatmeal or fresh food item. Baked goods may include pastries, cakes, and cookies. In Northern California, the stores’ fresh food selections include cheese boxes, fruit bowls, and turkey sandwiches. To find the Peet’s Coffee & Tea near you, use the Peet’s online store locator.

Major Dickason is the #1 coffee favorite at Peet’s, and one of my favorites too! A blend of coffees from the world’s premiere growing regions, it’s named after a regular customer at Peet’s original Berkeley store. Retired army officer Key Dickason brought the idea for this blend to company founder Alfred Peet in 1969. Peet worked diligently to refine it, and he and his team sampled countless combinations before arriving at what is now the company’s all-time bestseller.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Love Fest at Whole Foods Market: 25-cent coffee and other discounts/prizes

Whole Foods Market (used with permission)

Whole Foods Market
(used with permission)

At Whole Foods Market locations across the country, including our local Santa Cruz and Capitola stores, customers can get 25-cent cups of coffee (just for a few more days) and win a $500 gift card as part of the company’s Love Fest, which began Sept. 9.

Here are the details: Until Sept. 30, all 12-ounce brewed cups of coffee at Whole Foods Market’s coffee bars will cost just a quarter, with no limit per customer. How to win a $500 gift card? There’s no contest to enter; at various points over the next few weeks, stores across the country are randomly selecting a few customers to win these. The Capitola and Santa Cruz stores each have four to give away, and they’ve given away two so far. The local $500 giveaways will be over in early October.

During Love Fest, which runs through Nov. 3, every Whole Foods Market store will be creating their own ways to “say thanks and give back to customers.” These include special events and unexpected giveaways. For example, yesterday the Santa Cruz store announced on its Facebook page that there are 10 “Love Fest Hearts” hidden at the store, and that those who find one can exchange it for a Gift Card valued at up to $50. Other promotions include that the Santa Cruz store will be doing free 5-minute massages for customers on Wed., Oct. 21, from 4 – 6 pm and the Capitola store will be hosting a free breakfast for customers Friday, Oct. 30 from 9 – 11 am.

Also, each Wednesday through Tuesday, several featured products will be specially priced, many discounted by 50 percent. These sales are in addition to other discounts and promotions throughout each store.

Whole Foods Market Santa Cruz is located at 911 Soquel Ave. Call (831) 426-9901 for more information.
Whole Foods Market Capitola is located at 1710 41st Ave. Call (831) 464-2900 for more information.

On Twitter? Please follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Peet’s Coffee and Tea adds Javiva beverages and partners with Mighty Leaf Tea

One of the new Javiva options at Peet's Coffee and Tea

One of the new Javiva options at Peet’s Coffee and Tea

Peet’s Coffee and Tea recently added a new line of Javiva drinks that’s available in retail locations, including all of its Northern California stores in cities like Santa Cruz, Capitola, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Monterey. It also announced that it now offers Mighty Leaf Tea in its stores.

First, the details on Javiva. If you’re curious about the name Javiva, it means “coffee and life.” I had a chance to try one the other day, selecting coffee-flavored Javiva Light, and greatly enjoyed it as a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up. Javiva is one of the only made-to-order blended iced coffee drinks in the country that is made with fresh brewed coffee—specifically Peet’s Baridi Blend, comprised of East African coffees from Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Rwanda. When Peet’s was working on the new product, they did extensive research over the course of a year, and found out that most of the leading blended iced coffee drinks are made with rehydrated instant coffee, packaged coffee concentrates, or coffee-flavored syrup. Peet’s sister company, Caribou Coffee, is an exception and also uses fresh brewed coffee in their blended iced coffee drinks.

With Javiva, customers can select from several flavors (such as mocha or chocolate), and it can be made regular, light, or decaf. “Peet’s Javiva continues to be a go-to option for coffee lovers, especially as the weather warms up for spring and summer,” said Lisa Giles, Regional Manager for Peet’s Coffee. “Many of our customers love that Javiva is made with our fresh brewed coffee and is extremely customizable. You can also select from various non-dairy and even tea options,” added Giles.

As with all of Peet’s beverages, if people are ordering one of the Javiva selections that include dairy, they will receive fresh, hormone-free milk. Javiva can also be made with GMO-free soy or almond milk.

Next, the tea news: fans of Mighty Leaf Tea will be happy to know that they can now purchase a cup (or box) of this tea at any Peet’s location—this was just announced last month. I have loved this tea since first trying it years ago; the tea always tastes hearty and I think that’s due to Mighty Leaf’s special silken pouches filled with tea leaves. My favorite variety is Organic Breakfast.

To find the Peet’s Coffee & Tea near you, use the online store locator.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Starbucks Coffee’s newest blends including K-cups

Seasonal Tribute Blend from Starbucks Coffee

Seasonal Tribute Blend from Starbucks Coffee

I recently got my first K-Cup brewer, so I’ve started trying out many different coffee varieties including a few from Starbucks.

So far, my favorite K-Cup from Starbucks is its Tribute Blend. I need to stock up on some because it’s only available for a limited time! I noticed when browsing the Starbucks web site there are others who feel the same way and wish it was available more often. It’s a rich, full-bodied blend with hints of cherry. I like it first thing in the morning, and as an afternoon pick-me-up. Originally crafted for Starbucks’ 40th anniversary, it was so popular that the coffee company now releases it once a year during the spring. When it sells out, that’s it until next year. You can find the Tribute blend online at or at Starbucks retail shops, and in addition to K-cups it comes in whole bean packages, Verismo pods, and VIA instant packs.

I had the opportunity to sample a couple coffees from the Starbucks Blonde Roast line. In case you’re wondering, the Blonde Roast was developed due to a customer demand for something milder than Starbucks’ standard offerings. So now, there is a “Starbucks Roast Spectrum” which divides the coffee into three profiles: Blonde Roast, Medium Roast and Dark Roast.

The Blonde Roast coffees I tried were the new Bright Sky and Aria Blends. Aria is formerly known as Willow Blend (it was re-branded this spring), and it’s available in both regular and decaf. It’s a blend of Latin American and East African beans that includes lemony notes. Bright Sky contains Latin American beans, and it has a subtle nutty flavor.

Since I tend to prefer darker roasts in general, these were enjoyable but I like the Tribute better. I ended up liking both blonde ones more when I chose to brew an 8 oz. cup as opposed to the traditional 10 oz. cup I brew. That made the coffee bolder (I have to thank my husband for this suggestion). People that like lighter roasts should definitely try both Bright Sky and Aria; they do have nice flavors. If you prefer darker but happen to live with someone who prefers a lighter roast, you could buy one of the blonde varieties and try the adjustment I made—see if it works you! They are available at Starbucks retail stores and grocery stores, but not online. Bright Sky was made available in grocery stores beginning in January 2014. In addition to K-cups, Aria and Bright Sky come in ground coffee form.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Green Mountain offers Island Coconut Coffee as a springtime treat

Seasonal Island Coconut Green Mountain Coffee

Seasonal Island Coconut Green Mountain Coffee

The first day of spring was March 20, and just four days later Green Mountain Coffee released its newest seasonal coffee: Island Coconut. Available only for a limited time, it comes in K-cup packs and in bags. I had the opportunity to sample it for free—as a K-cup—and it’s mild and smooth. The exotic flavors are slightly sweet yet fairly subtle. In fact, I am NOT a huge coconut lover, yet I enjoyed this! It’s a light roast, and there are no bitter notes.

Like all of Green Mountain’s seasonal varieties, Island Coconut is Fair Trade Certified™. Fair Trade certification gives farmers a fair price for their beans with a guaranteed minimum, which means they can invest in their crops and their communities. In 2000, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters became one of the first roasters in the US to offer Fair Trade Certified™ coffees, and in 2012, the company was named the world’s largest purchaser of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee by Fair Trade USA for the third consecutive year.

Don’t yet have your own K-cup machine? Keurig’s Elite brewer works fast and makes great coffee, and it comes in Coconut White if you want to keep up the tropical theme inspired by Green Mountain’s Island Coconut coffee. Actually, I happened to notice on the Keurig web site that it’s on sale through 4/17, for $100 (discounted from $120) — I checked the Green Mountain site and it is offering the same deal. On both sites, there’s also a “mini” system on sale for $80 from $100.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Peet’s Coffee and Tea adds fresh food including healthy salads and sandwiches


Turkey sandwich and quinoa salad among new fresh food options at Peet's Coffee and Tea

Turkey sandwich and quinoa salad among new fresh food options at Peet’s Coffee and Tea

Peet’s Coffee and Tea recently added a full line of healthy, fresh salads, snacks and sandwiches to its 126 Northern California stores, including the Bay Area, Santa Cruz, Capitola, and Monterey. The line includes vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options (see below for selections). Food is made locally and delivered daily.

The “Fresh Grab & Go” menu was developed in partnership with Bay Area chef Arnold Eric Wong and his local bakery Raison d’être. The chef’s career has included highly acclaimed restaurants such as EOS Restaurant and Wine Bar (Wong’s first restaurant), Café Kati, and E&O Trading Company. “I’m thrilled to be working with Peet’s as they share my deep passion to quality, freshness and using the finest ingredients. And, it’s important that we give Peet’s fans a locally sourced, artisanal food experience that matches the quality of their coffee,” said Chef Wong. “We have carefully crafted these recipes to be health conscious and flavorful, and are making them right here in the kitchen at Raison d’être.”

I haven’t had the opportunity to sample the new menu yet, but with condiments like pumpkin seed pesto aioli and combinations like beluga lentils and Greek feta, I can’t wait to taste a couple items next time I visit Peet’s!

Menu highlights:

Herb Roasted Turkey Sandwich ($6.95): Made with turkey that is slow cooked and complemented with Monterey jack cheese and a homemade pumpkin seed pesto aioli.
Applewood Smoked Ham Sandwich ($6.95): Aromatic applewood smoked ham, Swiss cheese and homemade roasted garlic aioli.
Super Greens & Kale Salad ($6.95): A healthy assortment of kale, greens and fresh Greek feta paired with fig balsamic vinaigrette.
Black Lentil Salad ($4.95):  Fresh black beluga lentils, sweet Greek feta with a tangy red wine vinaigrette.
Quinoa Salad ($4.95): A delicious combination of rainbow quinoa, chickpeas, roasted red peppers and herb vinaigrette.
Fruit Bowl ($4.95): An assortment of fresh, seasonal fruit with an emphasis on berries.
Cheese and Fruit Box ($5.95): Aged Dubliner Irish cheddar, Monterey pepper jack and Danish brie with crisp apples, roasted almonds and organic rice crackers.
Hummus & Carrots ($2.95): Flavorful house made hummus with fresh carrot chips

To find the Peet’s Coffee & Tea near you, use the Peet’s online store locator.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Green Mountain Coffee and Lindt Sweets for Christmas Treats

Spicy eggnog coffee from Green Mountain Coffee

Spicy eggnog coffee from Green Mountain Coffee

There are lots of sweets and special coffees available for Christmas treats, including a few selections from Green Mountain Coffee and Lindt Chocolates.

Green Mountain’s two holiday coffees are Gingerbread and Spicy Eggnog. They are both light roasts, and the eggnog variety features cinnamon and nutmeg. Both are good on their own to make cups or pots of coffee, but they also make flavorful additions to baked desserts if you like experimenting in the kitchen.  You might consider them for stocking stuffers or hostess gifts for your next holiday party; they’re available seasonally until supplies run out. They come in bags or K-Cups, online or at stores nationwide.

Lindt has released its newest truffle variety, LINDOR Sea Salt truffles, in time for the holidays but it’s actually available indefinitely (not just for the winter season). These yummy treats can be found online  and in Lindt stores across the country. Although these also make a great gift, once you taste them you might just decide to keep them for yourself. They come in 25-piece and 75-piece bags.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Delicious holiday offerings and gifts from Peet’s Coffee and Tea

Peet’s Holiday Blend 2013 Gift Package for $25

Peet’s Holiday Blend 2013 Gift Package for $25

If you haven’t done all your Christmas shopping yet, and you have gift recipients who are tea or coffee lovers, Peet’s has some great ideas including special holiday packages.

Holiday teas include Holiday Breakfast Blend ($11.95/tea tin, $9.95 tea bags), a strong black tea that features Darjeeling and other varieties, and the flavorful Good Hope Spice Blend ($6.95/tea bags, only available during the holidays) which includes South African honeybush, orange peel, and allspice.

Peet’s uses “the best of the best” crops each year to create its holiday coffee blend. The 2013 Holiday Blend ($15.95/lb.) features beans from Indonesia, Kenya and Panama. It’s bright, rich and sweet without any one flavor overpowering another: a fabulous blend. Holiday Blend is available in Single K-Cups for the very first time this year ($13.99/box of 16).

Peet’s has put together many holiday treats plus gift packages in a variety of price ranges. Some are available online only, like “A Taste of the Holidays Gift Box” ($49) with tea, coffee, and various sweets. Many items are available at stores, like peppermint bark and snowflake-decorated mugs. Below are details on two packages available online; one is quite affordable and one is a splurge for that special someone!

$25 Peet’s Holiday Blend Gift Package—see photo above—includes a one-pound bag of Holiday Blend and a festive limited edition holiday mug.

$250 Peet’s Ultimate Holiday Convenience Package—includes the one-touch Cuisinart single serve brewer and an array of Peet’s Single Cups including the 2013 Holiday Blend, Café Domingo®  and Major Dickason’s Blend®, as well as two limited edition holiday mugs.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Peet’s Coffee and Tea offers two limited edition peaberry coffees during August 2013


Peet's Coffee and Tea limited edition India Peaberry coffee

Peet’s Coffee and Tea limited edition India Peaberry coffee

Peet’s Coffee and Tea recently released two very-limited-edition coffees, Kenya Peaberry and India Peaberry beans. I had the opportunity to sample both, and can recommend them.

Both are $18.95/lb. and available by ordering online through August 20, and you can buy the India Peaberry beans at at your local Peet’s (including the San Francisco Bay Area). The end date for purchasing at local stores varies depending on location.

The Kenya peaberry grows at an elevation of 5,000 feet. The coffee bean results in a cup of coffee that is full-bodied and features subtle hints of caramel and vanilla. The India peaberry, from Elkhill Estate in India, brings bold, sweet flavors to coffee brewed from these beans.  Elkhill Estate is UTZ certified, meaning coffee produced from there meets strict environmental, social, and economic criteria. This gives Elkhill Estate employees access to housing, healthcare, a living wage and a crèche (day nursery) for working mothers.

After the peaberry beans come from India and Kenya, they are roasted at Peet’s LEED Gold Certified Plant in Alameda, California. There are only three roasting dates for these very limited editions: August 7, August 14, and August 21. After roasting, the coffee is packed and shipped on the same day.

To find the Peet’s Coffee & Tea near you, use the Peet’s online store locator.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.