- By Jim Grimes, VP of operations
On Dec. 11,
Eliot started his career in
Twenty-five years, as Eliot reminded me, is over half his life. Read the quotes below from colleagues and friends and you will get a taste (not bitter, just smooth with a hint of grass or fresh mowed hay) of Eliot, his heart, his soul and his accomplishments.
One of the enduring memories I have of Eliot goes back to his days at
Vine Street. Eliot and others tested the freshness of coffee as it flowed through the coffee bin. They discovered that beans in the corners at the front of the bin were not flowing through, and people were not conscious of the need to pull all the beans forward so they were sold while fresh. Eliot brought the problem to me, and their evidence lead to a new process by which at least once a week all bins had to be emptied of coffee and cleaned. Not only did this keep the oils from going rancid, but we ensured that customers were not getting stale coffee. This is an excellent example of staff becoming engaged in maintaining and improving the overall quality of what Peet’s does. And this staff engagement is no small part of Peet’s quality and success. Thank you, Eliot, for that engagement in our quality and for 25 years of attention!
—Jerry Baldwin, member of Peet’s board of directors
When Eliot began buying tea, the lineup had been unchanged for years and was pretty much the way Mr. Peet left it when he retired from the company. Eliot expanded our offerings by developing new relationships with tea producers and exporters in
Jim Reynolds, roastmaster emeritus
Eliot led the training department while he learned the job of tea buyer at the country’s finest coffee and tea retailer. He made sure we kept pace with the evolving needs of the company, and invited me to work with him on our coffee and tea curriculum, which he designed and codified as we grew. Eliot’s influence here is undeniable. Eliot taught us that it’s our job to take care of the coffee and tea while in our care and to help our customers get the most out of it once they’re home. Eliot understands the relationship between well-informed, quality-focused staff and a loyal, growing customer base. No one has taught me more about coffee, tea and helping others develop appreciation for them than Eliot.
Rich Avella, program manager, coffee & tea development
Eliot came to the east coast to visit his family, and while he was there found time to conduct a tea tasting for customers and staff at the
John Poloni, bar operations manager
Two years ago, Eliot and I embarked on the Peet’s Bottled Iced Tea adventure raising the awareness of Peet’s Tea. Eliot quickly became known as the “tea master,” although he was a bit shy using that title at first. Soon after, he embraced his new title and proudly displayed it during his live appearances on Sacramento TV morning shows and radio interviews. He was a natural! Peet’s Bottled Iced Teas became the number two specialty brand in
—Rosa M. Compean, marketing director, new products
Tea is light (by weight) and the chops are smaller; a sample might stand for a single chest. Offers come by the dozen or the gross, half-ounce packets filling FedEx envelopes. Filling a shipping container could mean tasting a thousand teas. Until recently, coffee and tea (Eliot and me), we shared a cupping room. This was kind neither to leaf nor liquorer, and often found Eliot tasting at the tail end of the day. After 25 years, calling it passion almost seems to sell it short. It’s grit, and the result authority. The grandest and the simplest thing we can say about Mr.
Doug Welsh, VP of coffee
As can be seen from the comments above, Eliot makes an impact on those around him and makes all of us better for working with him. He’s known as the tea expert in the industry and every year is in demand as a speaker/educator. I learn from Eliot every day and cannot wait to write his 50th anniversary note.
Raise a cup of Pride of the Port, and join me in congratulating Eliot on his first 25 years.
VP of operations