Not to be outdone by Caffé Trieste in the anniversary department, today Peet’s Coffee & Tea kicked off a month-long celebration in honor of its 40th anniversary.

The celebration includes complementary coffee today from 1pm-3pm at all participating Bay Area Peet’s, complimentary cups of coffee with purchases of beans from 1pm-3pm Monday through Thursday, and free 1/4 pounds of beans after 1pm on Fridays. You can read more about their anniversary event calendar online (PDF file).

I’m not one to give a business a shameless advertising plug, but Holland-born Alfred Peet is something of a legend in the American specialty coffee business. His influence not only gave rise to Peet’s Coffee & Tea (initially envisioned as a bean and leaf store only), but also to Starbucks Coffee and many of the specialty coffee buyers and roasters in the Bay Area.

Today Peet’s Coffee & Tea downplays the role and importance of founder Alfred Peet; he sold his interests in the company in 2001. But Peet’s Coffee still helps set the standard for good espresso chains in the U.S.

Peet's Coffee at 2nd & Mission Sts. invites customers to post Polaroids of themselves for their anniversary A 2nd & Mission Sts. Peet's double espresso: love the crema