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Jan 26, 2012 07:21 PM

Weaver's Coffee?

Anyone have any opinions?

From my understanding it is a San Rafael company. Acoording to this 2008 Chronicle article

"John Weaver joined Peet's in the early '80s, after Peet sold the company but was still the coffee buyer. The longhaired surfer kid learned to roast and select coffees under Peet's exacting standards ... Weaver stayed with the company for 27 years, the last two decades as master roaster."

Back in 2008 Weaver was located in Emeryville "in one of Peet's original plants, on the same vintage Probat machine - the coffee geek's roaster of choice - that he learned on. "

Cut to 2012 and the company seems to have expanded, selling to markets such as Andronico's and Whole Foods. I was surprised to see that FatApples is now serving Weaver's instead of Peet's.

The first time I tried Weaver's was late last year at Ponsford's Place in San Rafael. I wasn't bowled over by the roast. Today I tried a different roast at Abby's Grill, a new Filipino place in Pinole. I liked that roast a lot more.

It did have the flavor of old school Peet's.

Anyone else have any thoughts about Weaver's?

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  1. a master roaster won't roast two different coffees the same way, so what you preferred in the more recent sample probably wasn't just a different roast. the tricky and challenging part of roasting is making the small adjustments to best bring out a particular coffee's flavours. Coffee geeks who exhaustively sample goods from different roasters probably end up preferring some varieties from one roaster and others they favour from another, with brewing method another variable of course. If an hourly wage earner (+ tips) is brewing your coffee, mediocre technique, stale ingredients, poor water quality can all flatten the flavours in brewed coffee, essentially obliterating the work in a well roasted coffee. John Weaver is probably the last active master roaster who apprenticed under Alfred Peet.

    1 Reply
    1. re: moto

      It was a different blend of beans totally. IIRC, Ponsford's Place was selling the African blend on my visit.

      Looking at their list of coffees, i'd guess the coffee at Abby's was the French roast.

      If anything, Ponsford's would be putting more love in the prep than Abby's

    2. I enjoy Weaver's coffee -- Their "Holiday Blend" this year was particularly nice. They are definitely in the Peet's style -- meaning a darker, richer roast than many of the newer artisanal roasters (for example, Ritual).

      8 Replies
      1. re: SFDude

        Like Moto said, you can't discount the preparation. A clueless barista can destroy a great coffee in an instant. It's totally possible that the first coffee you had had was made with stale beans or had been sitting on a hot plate for an hour and the second was mad with beans ground to order by a knowledgeable barista.

        A winemaker can be reasonably certain that if the wine is properly stored the customer will get the product the winemaker intended. The coffee roaster is totally at the mercy of the person who prepares the coffee. Nothing can save a great roast prepared by someone who doesn't know what he or she is doing, whether we're talking brewed coffee of espresso.

        1. re: TopoTail

          i have no clue why this digression persists. I just did not like the first roast i tried It had zero ... ZERO ... to do with Ponsford's Place in San Rafael which brews it by the cup a la Blue Bottle, Local 123, etc. etc. Not only that, but it is located next to Weavers and those beans were delivered that day to the bakery. They are hardly the type of place to screw up coffee. I just didn't like those beans just like I despise Blue Bottle's Hayes Valley roast direct from the BB kiosk.

          Trust me, a new Filipino restaurant in Pinole has zero barista action. I just liked that particular roast better.

          1. re: rworange

            roasters or retailers who market coffees with an 'African' monniker aren't really giving any useful information about the coffee ; it might even say less about what the coffee tastes like than saying a coffee is Central-South American. Yemeni coffees are often lumped with the African category, and they're among the most distinctive in the world, as are Kenyan and Ethiopian. this last region, the birthplace of coffee consumption as we know it, by itself has as much variation between sub-regions and processing methods (which make a huge difference in flavour profiles) as the differences between coffees in the entire Americas including the Caribbean and Hawaii.

            choosing a coffee to brew at home, one can find a shop/cafe that uses the same technique and artisan roasted coffee, or buy small amounts of beans to try at home.

            1. re: moto

              Actually I was the one who used African, which the bakery identified as Etheopian.

              Seriously, I don't care if it was grown on Mount Olympus and grown by Zeus, it tastes good or it doesn't.

              This is why I hate when discussion gets too serious about coffee. Neither of the people who have digressed about preparation have actually tried this coffee. I have. Twice.

              What I was hoping to get from responses from posters on this thread is others who liked or didn't like Weavers coffees not some sort of guess about the barista ... none at either place ... or guesses about the roasters sincerity. I guess that means Blue Bottles Three Africans or something like that is not giving useful information. I happen to like that the best of any of the Blue Bottle roasts. It just tastes good to me.

              Geez, I just wanted a cup of coffee with my dandelion turnover in the first place and in the second with my crispy flan. Are we no longer allowed to just have a cup of coffee with our meal. Does it have to be a trip to a coffee barista before we are allowed to sip?

              1. re: rworange

                Weaver is a demi-god in the coffee roasting world. Like over 30 years roasting. His coffees do have subtle differences and if you french press the different roasts you really get the true "taste" of the coffee. Most shops may or may not pull a great espresso but their cafe pulls a rocking double espresso with a kick ass crema. I may not be saying it right but I know what I like and I like the coffee. I even turned on my friends to weavers - and they turned on their friends to weavers. They have like 20 something coffee's and killer teas too! There is a cool cafe in San Rafael - hard to find but worth the effort - there is no attitude in their cafe - unlike other roasters who are RIDICULOUS on attitude.

                The antique roaster in the place was Peets. it is super cool and if you can catch Weaver there he can tell you the story about it. He worked with Peet a long time and there is a letter from him in their cafe. You can watch the guy roast the freaking coffee through the window --- I love their coffee and drink it all day. Their House is a good value and their chamomile tea puts me to bed at night.

                1. re: alexander112

                  "I love their coffee and drink it all day"

                  How could we guess?

                  1. re: alexander112

                    John Weaver is about the last person you'd characterise as having 'attitude' [used pejoratively, assuming] . it's great to hear he has his own little place to continue to do what he loves and share it in a small, local setting, thanks.

                  2. re: rworange

                    have personally drunk and enjoyed many gallons of Weaver-roasted coffee, but only once after he started his own company, and would not hesitate to try more if the occasion arose. he worked with Jim Reynolds, longtime right hand of Alfred Peet, nearly his entire tenure at that company, and their collaboration on some limited reserve coffees was extraordinary. after learning how to roast at home, there's little reason for me to seriously investigate other roasters, except when away from home for extended time.

                    no trip to a barrista is needed for a good cup ; the simplest, most basic methods will get great results if everything is done with care, which is why preparing your own at home is a good way to eliminate the other variables.

          2. Another recent post with info about the cafe

            weavers coffee

            1. I switched to Weaver's Coffee when I first heard he left Peet's. I order their beans online and they're delivered within 2 days. I met John at the Sacred Craft surfboard expo in Santa Cruz last year. He said I was one of his first loyal customers and treated me like a rock star. Try "The Blend" it's fantastic.

              1. The mail-order site lists the same price for a 1-lb. bag as I paid for a 12-oz. bag at Whole Foods. Is that right?

                2 Replies
                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Probably. you might give them a call to confirm. there is always someone there.

                  As long as I'm here, Weaver's Coffees I've tried to date in another link. I like the Organic French roast and House Blend the best so far.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    The prices on the website are correct, I just ordered some the other day. I haven't bought any of their coffee at Whole Foods.