alternative to peets
I've been drinking Peet's Major Dickason, ground #6, made with an Aeropress, for years.
Recently it has come to my attention that since Peets was bought out in 2012, their labor practices have gotten to be something that I don't want to support.
Anybody got an idea of (a) something similar to Major D, (b) what #6 translates into in the language of, say, Santa Cruz Coffee Company or Philz, and/or (c) what questions to ask when I'm talking to baristas in order to help them help me?
PQ in Oakland
I haven't heard anything bad going on with the retail side of things, but as a customer, I've lost whatever nostalgia I had since the stuff rarely tastes the same.
I'd think Coffee Bar (owned by Mr. Espresso in Oakland) has flavor profiles you'll like.
If any of the two Bernie's locations are convenient to you, I'm pretty sure they use beans roasted by the old Spinelli's owner, and it leans towards a dark roast that's a throwback to the old Peet's style.
Both are independently owned and operated, family business type places.
re: talking to coffee house owners
1) you're going to have to get lucky about someone who has time, skill, inclination.
2) Saying exactly what you said - what you like, what you've been doing, Major D, Aerospress, is great. Everyone knows Major D.
3) Say what you've tried and don't like. I don't like .... light roast africans because the winey taste doesn't do it. Whatever.
4) Say whether you use milk & sugar, and if so how much.
5) Say the price range you're willing to deal with.
Honestly, the grind numbers are easy to figure out. Peet's uses one of the standard grinders, so a #6 in peet's should be translatable. You can increase the odds by bringing in some of the grind you like and say "grunt, like this, grunt". I bet they would even grind a little and show it to you and you can see if it matches up.
Oddly, I've been coming back to Major D because it's a dark enough roast, and it's very easy to get, at a reasonable price point. I haven't come, yet, to being OK with $20/lbs, even though I am quite happy with some of the FourBarrel & Barefoot offerings in that price range. BlueBottle I liked some of their espresso roasts back in '07-ish, haven't really tried it seriously since '09.