How The Peet's Coffee Rewards Program Got Its Name

Americans are drinking more coffee than ever — seven in 10 Americans drink coffee every week, according to the National Coffee Association. Coffee drinkers loved the caffeinated drink so much that they built fandoms behind their favorite coffee shops. California-based Peet's Coffee has an interesting name for its rewards program that comes from its fans. The loyalty program launched in 2017 as "Peetnik Rewards."

Peet's Coffee found a home in Berkeley, California, in 1966 when Alfred Peet opened up the first Peet's Coffee on the corner of Vine and Walnut street. Peet came from a family of coffee roasters in the Netherlands, where his father owned a small coffee company called B. Koorn & Company. In 1955, he moved to San Francisco, where he struggled to find good coffee. It was then he decided to bring premium roasted beans to the Bay Area. Peet famously said, "I came to the richest country in the world, so why are they drinking the lousiest coffee?"

Peet was onto something with his high-quality coffee beans. His success has led to 250 locations across the U.S. and a loyal following of Peetniks.

Why are they called Peetniks?

Peet's Coffee became known for its distinctive deep, dark roasts and fans quickly made the coffee shop a regular hangout spot to drink coffee. At the same time as Peet's establishment, America was also experiencing a pivotal time for social movements. The 1960s saw movements for civil rights, anti-war, women's rights, gay rights, Mexican American activism, and environmentalism (via History). You're probably wondering what this has to do with coffee and Peetniks.

People who participated in social movements were also called beatniks, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Beatniks was more widely used to describe a "young and artistic person who rejects the mores of conventional society." You can probably put two and two together. Peetnik was a play on the words "Peet" and "beatnik," Peet's Coffee told Mashed in an email. Peetniks today are rewarded for their love for the chain with points that can be redeemed for free drinks and baked goods. If you want to join the Peetniks movement, it's free to sign up.