Yesterday, Peet's had a special event to celebrate it being August ... free iced or blended drinks! This was a great excuse to try out a few more of their drinks, as I'd been meaning to do so for ages. When I was forced to switch to decaf a year or so ago, I declared Peet's Decaf Major Dickason's to be the most reliable decaf I could find, but besides the drip coffee and some baked goods and chocolates in the past, I haven't actually had that many of their drinks. Below is a culmination of a bunch of my tasting notes from the past few years, spanning their hot drinks, cold drinks, baked goods, and candies!
Summary: The best drip decaf I have found (besides cup at a time local stuff - Four Barrel does some great decaf actually), surprisingly good chocolate, mediocre baked goods, and a mixed bag on their other drinks.
Freddos(Peet's version of an icy, creamy, blended beverage, like a frappucino/coolatta/etc).
|Dark Chocolate Mocha Freddo, decaf, skim, whip.|
I actually ordered a chocolate and caramel swirl freddo, but received this instead. Given how crazy the lines were and that it was free anyway, I decided to just try it out. I didn't like it at all. It did have a rich dark chocolate flavor, but it wasn't a particularly good one, and it had a strange mouthfeel. Blended decently, not too icy. It was very bitter overall. Mine did not having chocolate shavings.
The whipped cream was pretty good. They make fresh whipped cream in house, not just generic canned stuff.
Least favorite freddo I tried, would not get again.
|Matcha Green Tea Freddo, soy, whip.|
I really liked this at first and thought it had really great flavors. Good matcha flavor, just enough to give it flavor, but not overpower the soy. Great combination. It was really nicely blended. But ... after a few sips I got really sick of it, and the flavor seemed to just disappear. The whipped cream was again tasty, and went well with it. Tasting notes from an earlier encounter seem to agree: flavor pretty subtle, in fact, just not much flavor.
Second to least favorite of the freddos, probably wouldn't get again.
|Chocolate Freddo, soy, whip.|
Third favorite of the freddos I tried, and if I wanted something chocolately and cold and I was there, I'd order it, but otherwise, I'd just go for a real milkshake.
I really want to try the vanilla coffee-free freddo next!
|Caramel Caffè Freddo, decaf, skim, whip.|
I'm not really sure where they get "subtle sweet" from, this thing was super sweet! It had a great caramel flavor, was not bitter at all, and the coffee flavor was fairly subtle. It was very tasty, well blended, and quite a treat, but very, very sweet and not really much of a coffee drink.
|Vanilla Caffè Freddo, light, decaf.|
After all those crazy sweet drinks loaded with whipped cream, I wanted to at least give the "light" product line a try. The light drinks are made with skim milk, do not have whipped cream, and use syrups and powders with less sugar than the standard versions.
This was the best blended freddo I had, very, very frothy. It had a really nice coffee flavor, with a subtle vanilla flavor, not too sweet.
Second pick of the freddos, and I'd order again if I wanted something that highlighted coffee flavors a little more.
|Vanilla Freddo, soy, whip. $4.30.|
I went for the vanilla coffee free freddo, hoping it would be like a delicious milkshake. I love the flavor of soy and vanilla together, so I picked soy milk.
This did have a nice soy flavor, but there wasn't much vanilla to it. It was kinda just sweet soy milk, blended with ice. It was really nicely blended. It also came with the most generous serving of whipped cream that I've ever received. I couldn't get a lid on it. The whipped cream was the same standard whipped cream.
I wouldn't get one of these again, as it really offered nothing. It also seemed really expensive: $4.90 with tax ... for basically some soy milk and ice? Meh.
|Iced Cappuccino, decaf, skim, SF vanilla.|
Yes, I did obnoxiously order something with that many modifiers. I really loved it.
Most places make iced lattes by combining ice, cold milk, and an espresso shot. Peet's instead starts with cold foam, then adds the standard ingredients. And they also offer a iced cappuccino, which is the same thing, but with additional cold foam on top.
I liked this more than any of the freddos. It was sweet, but not too sweet. The vanilla flavor here was stronger than in the vanilla caffe freddo. The coffee flavor was also stronger. The foam top is my favorite part of a standard cappuccino, and it was really fun to have that in a more refreshing, seasonally appropriate, iced drink as well. I'd never seen it done before!
Would definitely order again, particularly instead of an iced coffee, which is what I normally go for when I want a cold coffee drink.
|Iced Matcha Green Tea Latte, Soy, Naturally Sweetened, Small. $2.95.|
The Matcha Green Tea Latte comes in 3 varieties: unsweetened, "naturally sweetened", or vanilla. It is also available hot or iced, with all the usual milk choices.
I told the very friendly person taking my order that I'd never had one before, but was eager to try it. I asked how she liked hers. Without hesitation, she said "iced, soy milk, naturally sweetened". I was actually thinking that it was a shame that I'd picked a hot sunny afternoon to go in, so making it iced was a perfect suggestion, I hadn't even thought of that. And I love soy flavor, and was already thinking I'd go that way. As for the sweetness, I really couldn't pick, so I went with her suggestion.
I loved it. The matcha flavor was just great, and it went really well with soy. It was refreshing yet creamy, just absolutely what I was in the mood for. It was also frothy, which I loved (they threw it in the blender to froth it up). I'd gladly get another!
|Hibiscus Breeze Tea Cooler.|
I wanted to try something other than coffee, so I went for the only ice tea offering they had without caffeine. It was really sweet. The flavor was fairly complex, almost interesting, with some tartness from the lemonade. But ... just too sweet overall, and really not refreshing at all. I likely would not order again.
|White Chocolate Mocha, decaf, soy.|
And to try something totally different, a while chocolate mocha. There wasn't much coffee flavor in here, instead it was mostly just a sweet, warm, milky drink. The foam was nicely done, I liked the sweet flavor, and it was a fairly nice comforting drink, but there wasn't a whole lot going on here. I might not have known there was even coffee in it, easily mistaking it for a steamer. And I couldn't have identified the sweet as white chocolate. But well made.
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This was pretty bad. The milk was not properly steamed (but that is individual barista issue, not judging the entire chain on this ...), the bean taste wasn't great and was totally lost in the milk anyway. Very meh.
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Pumpkin spice latte, whip.
Their description: "Our rich espresso topped with steamed milk and a layer of foam, with pumpkin spice syrup."
Gross. Not very well made latte, super sweet, not even nice flavor.
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Godiva Caramel Pecan Mocha, skim.
This sounded amazing but ... just tasted kinda burnt. I didn’t get real chocolate sense, nor caramel, nor pecan. It was just kinda nasty, not sweet nor bitter. On a later encounter, I had sample size of the regular version of it, with whipped cream. It was super sweet and really pretty tasty. Not sure why it was so bad when I got the full size one!
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Peppermint mocha, skim, whip.
Another one that sounded like it would be great, but was quite horrible. Strong, bitter taste, not chocolatey, not pepperminty, just bitter and gross. Really fake tasting. But the whipped cream was really, really tasty and melted into the drink well.
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Peppermint hot chocolate, whip.
Very sweet, but the peppermint flavor is nice. Much better than the peppermint mocha. Same great whipped cream.
One of the Peet's locations that I most often visit regularly has samples of their baked goods out. I'm a bit of a baked goods snob, and wouldn't normally ever order these, but I'm incapable of resisting a sample, so I've gotten to try a bunch of things! As always, subsequent tastings noted in brackets.
- Chocolate Chip: kinda greasy, hard, nothing worth repeating.
- Peanut Butter: hard, flavorless, not good.
- Sugar: buttery, classic sugar cookie taste, huge sugar crystals on top are nice crunch, cookie itself is moist, basically a good classic sugar cookie. [ nice and buttery, topped with large sugar crystals, yummy ]
- Vegan Oatmeal Raisin: nice buttery flavor, plentiful raisins, fairly chewy, nice! [ meh, not great flavor, too crispy ] [ soft, plentify raisins, really great flavor, buttery, maple flavor in there too ]
- Spicy Ginger: nice chunks of candied ginger inside, great ginger flavor.
- Gingerbread Loaf Cake with cream cheese frosting: pretty good! flavors are very strong - gingerbread flavor is very strong in the cake, cream cheese frosting is very creamy cheesy, although I could do without the frosting. [ Cake was fairly moist but nothing special. Cream cheese frosting had candied ginger pieces, the candied ginger gave a nice zing. But overall, generic and forgettable. ]
- Lemon Pound Cake: just sweet, boring, dry, meh.
- Classic Coffee Cake: cake pretty boring, heavy brown sugar topping, not very flavorful, meh.
- Pumpkin Pie Bar: Pumpkin pie layer on top of shortbread crust. Crust really has no flavor or anything. Pumpkin pie layer is laking in spices. Generic and forgettable. [ Flavorless pumpkin layer, flavorless shortbread crust layer, really quite gross. ]
- Peppermint Cute Cake by Donsuemor: “marriage of cupcakes and petits fours”. "A chocolate cake with peppermint infused white chocolate topping and sprinkles". The cake is kinda dry and forgettable, but the peppermint topping was nice. [ Agreed on second try, cake is kinda dry, peppermint topping is good. ]
- Red Velvet Whoopie Pie: dry flavorless cake, cream cheese filling ok.
ChocolatesDuring the Christmas holidays, Peet's was often sampling some of their chocolates. Again, not somewhere I'd normally purchase such things, but theirs were surprisingly good!
- Jo’s Almond Bark: Milk chocolate base, dark chocolate swirl, pieces and whole chunks of almond. Surprisingly good. Milk chocolate is nice and creamy, dark chocolate adds nice component, almonds have good flavor. [ Agreed, milk chocolate is really surprisingly nice and creamy ] [ Agreed, not amazing milk chocolate, but pretty creamy] [ Agreed again, nice flavor in almond, chocolate so creamy. ]
- Jo’s Chocolate Covered Pretzel: milk chocolate covered pretzel stick. Generic, meh, neither component interesting.
- Chocolate Covered Cherries: milk chocolate covered bing cherry with cherry flavored layer. Very flavorful, cherry itself has good flavor, milk chocolate kinda standard, cherry layer fairly thin, doesn’t add a lot. [ Milk chocolate layer very thin, cherry chocolate layer is very thick, 2x thicker than cherry itself. Overall really flavorful. ] [ Layer of cherry flavored chocolate, layer of milk chocolate, dried cherry in center. Pretty tasty. Cherry chocolate layer is super flavorful, and chocolate and cherry are great flavor combo. ]
- Jo’s Peppermint Bark: Dark chocolate thin base layer, lots of white chocolate, candycane topping. Candycane nice, dark chcooalte layer is totally lost in the white chocolate, white chocolate just kinda a lot of sweet but if you are in the mood for it it isn’t bad [ Not very minty, dark chocolate you don’t taste at all, white chocolate isn’t too sweet, but overall, this is pretty lackluster. ]
- Chocolate Toffee Almond: Almond coated with butter toffee, chocolate, and powdered sugar. Very nice, better than most other versions I've had of this. Butter toffee layer is subtle and adds just a nice salty/sweet layer, perfect amount of chocolate (not too much so you lose taste of almond, which happens with many).
This is why I usually go to Peet's. I've been very impressed with Peet's decaf drip coffee (this REALLY surprised me to be honest, but with the policy of not serving coffee more than 30 mins old and no one else ordering decaf, this means I usually get a fresh pot brewed when I order! I love how seriously they take this rule. )
- Decaf Sumatra: My least favorite, acidic aftertaste. [ I've tried this many, many times, and never like it. Too dark of a roast, too much acid. ]
- Decaf Major Dickason's: Milder, always my favorite.
- Decaf Holiday Blend: Decent. Not super complex, but not bad.
- Mocca Java: chocolatey, deeper flavor, not bad.
- Holiday Blend: nothing special.
- JR Reserve: decent, but fairly generic.
- Peabody: yum!
- New Guinea Gold: sweet, nice when hot but bad after taste as it cools.
- Blue Batak: fairly complex, nice.