[A]lready in the midst of its biggest retail expansion to date, with almost sixty new stores opening in the United States by the end of this year, Peet’s Coffee and Tea announced last month its purchase of Mighty Leaf Tea, a specialty tea manufacturer based in San Rafael, California, known for its signature, compostable mesh tea pouch. In addition to more stores, the purchase (made in partnership with investment firm Next World Group) will bulk up Peet’s position in the US tea market, which most will agree was already pretty solid.
Peet’s will keep its signature tea brand, and its familiar red, green, and purple tea tins, and Mighty Leaf will continue to operate independently, with access to Peet’s resources and scale. The union is poised to push another major coffee company into the high-growth category of specialty tea, similar to Starbucks purchase of Teavana. As with that acquisition, Peet’s is embarking on an evolution from one of the industry’s grandfather coffee businesses (Peet’s was founded in Berkeley, California in 1966 by a Dutch immigrant) to a more modernized and more tea-centric café chain.
—Regan Crisp is Fresh Cup’s associate editor.