Peet’s vs. Starbucks Coffee and Tea – Where Should You Work?

Have you been considering working for Starbucks vs Peet’s Coffee and Tea? It can be difficult to figure out which is the best option for you.

There’s so much to consider from benefits, salary, treatement, perks, and more.

Let’s jump right in and see the pros and cons of each coffee chain, what’s important to each coffee house, and where you fit in.

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What’s Starbucks all about? 

Starbucks is the largest coffee chain company in the United States and has built a global brand. The founders of Starbucks, Jerry Baldwin, Gordon Bowker, and Zev Siegl, created an iconic brand that has amassed over 30,000 stores in the U.S. alone. 

When the Starbucks coffee company first opened in Seattle, Washington, it sold freshly roasted coffee beans, soothing teas, and exotic spices. 

Millions of people drop by every day for a signature blend, quick bite, or a shot of espresso (or espresso drink). With so much to choose from, it’s easy to see why Starbucks is a beloved chain for it’s coffee.

But in recent years, the workers have been upset about treatment. They’ve been on strike and started talks about creating a union.  

Image on the bottom of barista pouring cream into a coffee cup making a lovely design. Top is blue with text overlay.

Peet’s Coffee and Tea – What’s their deal?

Peet’s Coffee and Tea may not be as well known globally, but it has earned its place within the coffee industry and has a passionate following. 

Alfred Peet opened the first store in 1966. The concept of selling craft coffee was just beginning to get its feet off the ground. 

Over 50 years later, Peet’s has over 200 stores nationwide. Their complex blends make it a great place to chat with friends, That is why people keep coming back. 

Starbucks and Peet’s have totally different vibes 

While both franchises offer several types of drinks made to order (neither uses instant coffee), they each have unique business models. 

The most significant differences are in how they brand, brew, and the choice of coffee beans they sell. Starbucks focuses more on the young crowd. Teens and college students gravitate towards the sweeter specialty coffee offerings that are espresso-centric with base notes of vanilla and caramel. Starbucks stores have a modern design and fast, convenient service 

Peet’s Coffee is the complete opposite. They provide a relaxed, old-world vibe where customers can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee at their leisure. 

They focus on light to medium roasts with dark espresso-like flavors. 

Plus, their dark roast blends are rich yet light on caffeine, providing customers with a warm pick-me-up anytime. 

Pros and cons of each company

Starbucks pros and cons

Starbucks offers (as per their website in 2022):

  • Health coverage
  • Employee assistance program
  • Stock options (retirement savings with a matching option)
  • Paid time off
  • Adoption reimbursement
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • And other perks.  See them all here.

That all sounds like sunshine and rainbows, but Starbucks has been in the news recently for labor violations.  You can see a 2022 article here.

The workers are banding together and trying to create a union.  

When companies become as big as Starbucks, it seems the leaders of the company become detached from the front line workers. 

Peet's coffee and tea sign.

Pros and cons of working at Peet’s 

Let’s start with the pros

Peet’s states they are committed to their employees and their website says they offer:

  • 401(k) with generous matching
  • Medical, dental, vision insurance
  • Paid time off
  • Vacation / sick leave benefits
  • Bonuses
  • Free coffee, baked goods, and employee discount 
  • Opportunities to move up in the company

Cons of working at Peet’s

According to the lowest company review ratings on Indeed some employees say the company, in reality has:

  • Low pay
  • Minimal training
  • High sales expectations
  • No work/life balance

What’s the takeaway?

Corporations are notorious for having high sales and performance expectations of employees and minimal training.  All corporations work for the shareholders, not the employees.  This can cause mistreatment of front line workers.  

Which should you choose? Starbucks vs. Peet’s

There isn’t a clear answer. Both offer great benefits (like paid time off or personal days) that are pretty similar to one another. Both offer quality coffee with a focus on customer service. Each has built a solid brand with loyal customers. 

Starbucks sounds like a bad place to work right now because of labor violations. If they do unionize, it will probably be the best corporate coffee shop to work for because they’ll have a union fighting for the workers. 

What we don’t know is if this is a few select locations or company wide. Labor violations are never okay, but having worked for big corporations, several of the same type, there can be a MASSIVE difference in how you’re treated based on the store manager, assistant manager, district manager, etc. Sometimes it’s the whole company, sometimes it’s the branch. 

As of right now, it seems Peet’s is the safest bet and best place to work.  They have no current labor violations(that I could find) as of the writing of this post (I found this one from 2004, but it’s not current).

If Starbucks unionized, it would raise standards across all retail coffee chains. 

muslim lady drinking coffee

Where do you find career opportunities?

You can find career opportunities (as well as salary information, benefits, and more) for each of them here:

Starbucks career opportunities

Peet’s Coffee  job opportunities

If environmental impact is important to you… 

Peet’s and Starbucks engage in environmentally friendly policies. 

Starbucks founded the Grounds For Your Garden program in 1995. The program offers leftover pre-ground coffee for sale for customers to use in their gardens. This helps decrease waste and reduce the chain’s carbon footprint. They also use less water so more can go to the local resources. 

Peet’s reuses 90% of its plant waste by recycling every bag, cup, and even leftover beans.

If you just want to know about the coffee, here’s more on what each coffee chain offers

Both coffee shops sell coffee beans (whole, and ground) in-house and online. Most coffee drinkers like to buy a cup of coffee in the store. 

Starbucks employees are meticulously trained to brew and mix each specialty blend coffee drink so every sip is perfectly balanced. Starbucks chooses multi-blend flavors that are more crowd-friendly, with a few single-blend options. 

Peet’s Coffee focuses on blends with one country of origin, especially from Latin America. Bold in flavor and light in caffeine and acidity, each cup of coffee takes customers on a trip around the world. This also gives their specialty blends a bright, toasty profile that can warm customers up or cool them down. 


Starbucks main focus is on sugary coffee blends. People can order a wide variety of foods too. Around 2015, Starbucks completely renovated its food menu when it merged with Le Boulange, a bakery in the San Francisco bay area. They now offer pastries, sandwiches, and sweets of all kinds, brought to tables by a Starbucks barista. There is a protein lunchbox available for health-conscious customers. 

Peet’s puts a greater focus on tea while offering a generous amount of coffee blend drinks. Their large inventory comes from Mighty Leaf Tea inc. Mighty leaf makes each blend from fresh leaves, fruits, herbs, and spices and is enclosed in silk-stitched bags. There is a small menu offering delicious breakfast sandwiches, freshly baked sweets, and on-the-go meals. 

Woman enjoying a cup of coffee while relaxing at home on an orange pillow. Blue wall behind her.

Starbucks and Peet’s most popular coffee blends of these two popular coffee houses

Peet’s House Blend 

This blend uses roasted beans from Latin America. Though it is a dark roast, it has a warm, light body with a dash of spice. This creates a bright, semi-bold flavor that beginners and enthusiasts can enjoy. This blend is best made in machines using a drip and press brew process. 

French Blend 

Peet’s french roast has a deep, smoky flavor. It pairs perfectly with a dash of cream and sugar. Like their house blend, drip and press types of brewing bring out the flavors the best. Customers often regard this as the best french blend on the market. 

Major Dickason’s Blend 

The most popular roast offered is Major Dickason’s. This dark roast has a smooth flavor with earthy, nutty overtones. As an extremely versatile blend, it can be brewed in drip, press, or cappuccino-like machines. it is the easiest to find also, being available at a Peet’s cafe, online, and at nearby grocery stores. 

Starbucks Cafe Verona blend 

This blend is one of the lighter offerings at Starbucks. The dark roast has what most customers call a classic flavor. There are chocolaty, nutty notes mixed with caramel undertones. It is part of the chain’s lower acidity selections, making the blend a hit with customers. 

Sumatra Blend 

This is a great roast for people dipping their toes into the coffee scene and a favorite among enthusiasts. The blend takes customers on a unique voyage with its bold flavor of edgy earth tones. Like most dark blends Starbucks offers, Sumatra is low in acidity. The funky flavor profile is what makes Sumatra a popular choice. 

Brazil Blend 

Starbucks Brazil blend is their take on Latin American roasts. It boasts bold, maple, and vanilla notes with a crisp, fruity finish. Having such a complex taste makes this a fun choice for casual coffee drinkers or enjoyed as a daily on-the-go refresher. 

Pike Place 

Starbucks’ Pike Place blend is named after the small, cobble-stone market where the chain began. It is the go-to choice and most recognized selection. Most people don’t know that Pike Place is a dark roast with Latin American roots. It seamlessly balances a creamy flavor with base notes of chocolate and nuts. It is enjoyed by people with a wide array of palates. 

Try Some Delicious Coffee and Latte Recipes

Try any one of these other delicious coffee recipes today!

Starbucks vs Peet’s

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