Despite his status as a cardinal figure in the world that we now call specialty coffee, Alfred Peet’s legacy has largely been confined to the hearts and minds of those who knew him, and to written anecdotes that have been oft repeated from publication to publication.
Many of those anecdotes resurfaced when Peet passed away in 2007 at his home in Ashland, Oregon, 41 years after he founded his eponymous coffee company in Berkeley, California. By then, Peet had been lionized as the “godfather of specialty coffee,” the Dutch immigrant who at long last taught Americans how coffee was supposed to taste.
To this point, however, the authoritative biography on Peet’s life has been credited to fellow Dutchman Jasper Houtman of the financial daily newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad. In March of 2016, Houtman released the Peet biography, “De Man Die de Wereld Koffie Leerde Drinken.”
Now Roundtree Press, a division of Cameron + Company, is preparing to release an updated, redesigned version of the book, written by Houtman in English. “The Coffee Visionary: The Life & Legacy of Alfred Peet” officially hits the real and virtual shelves on Tuesday, Aug. 7.
Based on more than 40 interviews with Peet’s friends, family and business associates, the book is being pitched as “part biography, part history of the coffee industry,” and a means to “look behind the curtain at this unique, captivating beverage.” At 209 pages, the hardcover, 6-by-9-inch book also promises numerous photos of Alfred Peet, many of which have not been published before.
See the book’s website for more details.