Peet’s Coffee introduced a new take on the coffee shop experience when it added its first retail location in Georgetown, located on the corner of 33rd and M Street, on Dec. 20.
From an interior design that exhibits pictures depicting historical moments and current features of the Georgetown area — including the construction of the Key Bridge and Gaston Hall — to the inclusion of the first “slow bar,” an exclusive one-on-one experience that engages customers with the barista while providing an education on the specific type of bean used in the roasting process, in the chain and in the area.
District Manager Mieke Fonteyne took pride particularly in the addition of the “slow bar.”
“It’s a real opportunity to engage what’s around and what makes Peet’s different from a roast perspective but also from a service [perspective],” Fonteyne said. “The slow bar is an opportunity for customers that are really passionate about coffee to get an education and it’s also an opportunity for tourists to feel a real part of the Georgetown community.”
Fonteyne said both the unique history of Georgetown and the store’s design make this Peet’s Coffee a very special location amongst all of their stores.
“I have about 50 stores in my region and you definitely are not supposed to have favorites, but whenever I walk into the Georgetown location, it’s hard not to love it,” Fonteyne said. “We took a lot of care to make sure that we represented the history of the community that we were joining.”
According to the Assistant Manager of the Georgetown Peet’s Coffee retail store Rebecca Williams, the “slow bar” represents a new concept not only for coffee shops at Georgetown, but for the whole company as well.
“There’s not another slow bar at any other Peet’s coffee retail in the nation,” Williams said. “It’s separate from our service up front where you get drip coffee and espresso. At the slow bar you come down and enjoy more of a restaurant experience.”
The aim of Peet’s Coffee, according to Williams, is to provide a refined and personalized coffee house experience.
“We wanted to create something a little more personal in case someone wanted to take it slow and actually talk to someone. We like to describe it to our customers as a similar feeling you’ll get at a wine tasting except it’s with coffee.”
Williams said they hoped to add to Georgetown’s vibrant food scene by offering a products and services of a quality unseen in other conventional coffee chains.
“We have the freshest beans and the freshest pastries. That’s kind of what we wanted to incorporate here and, moreso, we wanted to create a customer connection,” Williams said.
Customers who visited the “slow bar” would be allowed to choose the way their coffee is brewed, as well as the type of bean it is made out of. There are also three options for how the coffee is to be brewed: a pour over, a siphon or a press pot.
Williams said while employees are preparing the custom coffee order they plan to walk customers through how the coffee is made and how the beans are cultivated.
“They’ll start the pour over while answering any questions you may have, and they walk you through the process so that you may repeat it at home if you choose,” Williams said. “They will talk to you about the farm, the soil, why the specific bean tastes the way it does.”
When it comes to potential partnerships between Georgetown University and Peet’s Coffee, Fonteyne said she and her team could not come to any final conclusions since the opening was so close to the University’s winter break. However, Fonteyne said there are plans to engage with more students and the administration to form a partnership for the University.
“My local district team, my local team leaders and my store manager have been sort of waiting for the school to get back in action ,and then they are going to partner with the school to figure out what is the best service for Georgetown students,” Fonteyne said.
Regardless, Fonteyne and Williams said they hope students come out and explore the new setting to familiarize themselves with Peet’s comfortable ambiance, versatile menu and retail bay, where coffee brewing equipment can be purchased.
Jennifer Yates (MSB ’20) said that while she has not visited Peet’s shop at Georgetown, she has had good experiences with the chain in the past and looks forward to coming to the new Peet’s Coffee.
“I haven’t been to the Peet’s here, but I have been to one at home, and I’ve really enjoyed their coffee in the past and their breakfast sandwiches look really good,” Yates said. “I’m excited to try something new.”