TASTE TEST FLASH
Man on a mission for nearest Peet’s
PHOTO BY BILL WILSON
Copyright © 2008
BY PAT MURPHY
The San Francisco Sentinel © 2007-2010
Starbucks has lost this town’s best known fan.
Our nice Gavin Newsom basks only in par excellence aroma of Peet’s Coffee at his home and hearth, the Sentinel reveals.
Freshest Peet’s beans, full throttle grinder, superior French Press purchased at Peet’s on Polk, 2139 C Polk Street at Broadway, deliver the very best.
“Third shelf on the left,” Newsom nods location.
“Grind them, and then use a French Press,” mayoral lips moisten.
“I’m telling you there’s no other way to do it when you get coffee at home.”
Starbucks, one is told, remains a grunt work substitute.
Work-a-day morning coffee is Starbucks, Newsom does confide.
“My weekday morning coffee is Starbucks, I admit.
“Everyone can criticize me for that. I’m ready.”
However, in a special realm with uniquely exquisite neighborhoods, local brews are the afternoon great seducer.
“My afternoon coffee is any coffee shop besides Starbucks, so it’s neighborhood coffee,” the chin rises.
“That’s my one o’clock, two o’clock coffee.”
Even so, during weekdays, it’s half-decaf for this people’s mayor.
On weekends it’s chuck the decaf, full-bodied Peet’s on Russian Hill lair.
Habitate visitors approve, it’s told, including habitue Jen Siebel, who “always drinks nothing but Peet’s.”
Indeed, in the annals of San Francisco savoir faire, Al Peet rode into town wearing the white hat while it was Starbucks which chose the dark side.
First to tap Shining City thirst for the very best was Capricorn Coffees.
Capricorn was founded in his struggling youth by 1950s gay rights bedrocker Herb Donaldson, busted by San Francisco Police at a 1960s Saturday afternoon charity drag show fundraiser (then an illegal gathering of homosexuals), and later appointed Judge Herbert M. Donaldson by California Governor Jerry Brown…
California State Judge Herbert M. Donaldson. Donaldson initially resisted appointment
to the State bench by Governor Jerry Brown. Herb insisted Municipal Court would keep
him closer to street youth providing them a possible model. Brown prevailed,
convincing Donaldson State Court would deliver fuller statewide impact.
Young Herb Donaldson in SFPD paddywagon (apologies to all Paddies, Padraig – Irish language for Patrick)
PHOTO COURTESY LOUISE SWIG
Fresh Capricorn roasting swirled to success, and success brought imitation.
Al Peet called Donaldson to say Peet was jumping into the business, too. Noting Peet’s new company would not compete with Capricorn.
Peet always honored that pledge, Donaldson tells the Sentinel.
Next came Starbucks with obligatory call to Donaldson purporting the same pledge.
A pledge as hollow as cardbord cup holders.
See Related: ON SCENE WITH BILL WILSON ARCHIVE
Bill Wilson is a San Francisco-based veteran photojournalist. Bill embraced photojournalism at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR), The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, SFist, SFAppeal. Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past six years. Email Bill Wilson at email@example.com.