(Illustration by Nicole Bullard)
The three most common coffee shop franchises in Southern California are Peet’s, Startbucks, and Coffee Bean, but as an avid coffee drinker myself I set out to find which coffee shop is truly number one.
There is no question that Starbucks takes the prize for the most locations in a one-mile radius. In Southern California, we can always count on a Starbucks to be within five minutes from any location to cater to our daily caffeine fix.
With over 4 billion cups of coffee sold every year, most would automatically grant Starbucks the “best coffee shop” winner, but in my experiences I have found that quantity does not always lead to quality or consistency.
All three coffee shops have a loyal following with many reasons as to why their coffee shop is the best.
“I love Peet’s because it is always so consistent and I know that I will always get a good cup of coffee when I come here,” said loyal Peet’s coffee goer Nicholas Theisen, 19.
“Starbucks is a much more convenient stop than trying to go to any other place, especially in the morning when I’m in a hurry,” said Ximena Mendoza, 23, a daily Starbucks consumer.
“I think that Coffee Bean just has much more variety than any other coffee shop, and I can taste the difference in flavor with the blended drinks,” said Brittany Mcneil, 19, a Coffee Bean customer.
When it comes to convenience, Starbucks is definitely the better choice, but one must be ready to sacrifice quality for the convenience.
It is less convenient to find a Peet’s, but the quality of the coffee at Peet’s greatly differs from Starbucks. Peet’s vows to always have fresh brewed coffee. In fact, they brew a fresh pot every 30 minutes.
I’m not saying that the quality of the coffee at Peet’s is necessarily better than Starbucks, but if one is basing quality on the intensity of the coffee, than Peet’s would be the better choice.
The coffee blends at Peet’s are much stronger than at Coffee Bean or Starbucks, and this may be a reason as to why someone would rather go to Coffee Bean or Starbucks for their coffee and vice versa.
Coffee Bean’s coffee drinks are not as strong as Peet’s, but the company is considered to be the “founders of gourmet coffee in California,” according to its website.
The coffee and the blended coffee drinks at Coffee Bean tends to be much sweeter than Starbucks or Peet’s. This correlates with the intensity of the coffee that is served by the company.
Like Starbucks, Peet’s coffee easily beats Coffee Bean’s cup of Joe when it comes to intensity, but it is also important to note that some prefer Coffee Bean’s weaker roast that is served.
When it comes to the “best coffee shop in Southern California” everyone will have their own opinion and reasons when considering the winner.
Those who prefer convenience will most likely pick Starbucks. Those who prefer gourmet coffee that is low in intensity, will most likely pick Coffee Bean. Those who prefer a stronger blend, will most likely prefer Peet’s over the other two mentioned.
I am one who prefers a darker roast rather than something sweet, especially in the mornings. So if, I had to pick which of the three coffee shops is the “best coffee shop in Southern California,” I would have to go with Peet’s.
Although I prefer Peet’s coffee over Starbucks or Coffee Bean, I still make more stops at Starbucks because of its convenience. I also enjoy the chai tea latte at Coffee Bean more than at Starbucks or Peet’s. When it comes down to the overall quality and consistency of the coffee, Peet’s is the clear winner in my book.