Photo by Christie Hong

An ode to the old Peet’s Coffee

I am usually one for change. As the seasons move forward, growth, opportunity and discovery follow in swift pursuit. But is it always the right choice to take the risk and leave behind something that is so loved by the people of the present by altering it completely?

It was a random Tuesday when I stumbled past the marked off, taped area at the heart of Town and Country with construction signs plastered over the Peet’s Coffee logo. I looked at the concealed floor-to-ceiling windows, normally giving a wide open view of the entire store, and wondered what upgrades the remodel would bring.

Two weeks later, I stood in the same place, gaping at the transformation –– a once warm, dynamic interior had become minimalistic and ultramodern, reflecting the clean-cut Bay Area aesthetic. Although I like contemporary architecture and interior design, I could not help but reminisce about the comfortably cluttered space with the smell of freshly baked goods and the aura of sleep-deprived students previously permeating through the air.

The outside remains the same with scattered tables and vivid yellow umbrellas, but stepping inside transported me to a different world. An interior previously similar to a log cabin, had become industrial chic, easy on the eyes yet lacking personality. 

Meanwhile, rustic beams graze the pitched ceiling as if to paint an image of a strangely modern farmhouse and glowing orbs decorate the ceiling while black, industrial hanging lights line the coffee bar service area. Meanwhile, the white tile background behind the coffee machines is jarring and unfit for the rest of the store. 

But worst of all, the ideal study spaces nestled in each corner of the old store are gone. Instead, on the far side of the store, lies a sleek, black and wooden bookshelf adorned with fairy lights and festive decorations. Rather than books, reusable cups and ground coffee for sale sit on the shelves. I have to admit, it does oddly contribute to the coziness of the environment and almost feels like home. 

So, yes, change can bring growth, opportunity and discovery. But here’s to the old Peet’s where stepping in the swinging door felt like an escape from the ongoing modern transformations throughout the Bay Area; to the old Peet’s where the bustling baristas yelling out names of mobile orders heightened chaos, and the cluttered tables next to the corner booths embraced productivity; and here’s to the old Peet’s where I spent many rainy nights studying for chemistry tests and downing countless cups of steaming caramel apple lattes. You will be missed.