Alfred Peet started a revolution way back in 1966. A Dutchman, Peet was a world traveler who fueled his coffee obsession via stops in England and Indonesia before settling down in wild and wooly San Francisco just before the Summer of Love.

Starbucks? Peet trained their staff and supplied their beans when they opened up in Seattle in 1971.

He was a lion of the industry. In 1972, Jamie Anderson, an understudy of Mr. Peet, opened his eponymous beanery on West 38th Street, and Austin entered the national craft coffee conversation.

On a recent morning, business found us in Central Austin so we decided to pop into Mr. Anderson’s shop and see if the years have been kind to the old gal.

They have.

We’re greeted at the door by Cyrus, a veteran at the shop who immediately, and excitedly, begins walking us through the day’s offerings: Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Columbia, New Guinea, Java, Sulawesi, Sumatra, Ethiopia, Panama and Burundi…among others.

I’ve been obsessed with Peruvian food since the halcyon days of Pachamama’s Peruvian Creole Cuisine (rip) so I vector in on the fatherland while my companion is contented with a big bag of Alfred’s Blend, perhaps the most famous roast the shop puts out.

Cyrus is a walking vault of coffee knowledge; he patiently explains the ethos of the shop: Mr. Anderson roasts fresh, seasonal varietals in small batches out in Manor, Texas, and trundles them to the retail store on an as-needed basis. This ensures that the customer only has the finest coffee in their cupboard.

Need a jolt while you’re shopping? A cup will set you back a buck but you’ll be drinking standing; there are no chairs unless you count a concrete bench down the sidewalk at Russell’s Cafe.

With the rise of craft coffee in USA it’s easy to overlook the old standard bearers. Young bucks like Mike McKimm over at Cuvee are rightly celebrated while we have a tendency to forget about the foundation joints like Anderson’s Coffee.

There’s plenty room for both in our cupboard. We may start the day with a pot of Cuvee or Picacho each morning but once afternoon rolls around we find ourselves often needing a good jolt to carry us through our busy lives; that’s when we lunge for the bag of Anderson’s and take a stroll through the craft coffee history of the United States.

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