Jennifer Tapper, Dana Bash, and Dave Burwick, CEO of Peetís Coffee & Tea.
If political power is projected based on one's proximity to the Oval Office, then the new Washington flagship location for Peet's Coffee & Tea
commands a considerable amount of (caffeinated) influence.
Located in the shadow of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House
, the newly redesigned cafe takes the place of a former Caribou Coffee as part of a broader national rebranding initiative led by both brands' parent holding company, Joh. A. Benckiser.
Peet's CEO Dave Burwick
was the first to take advantage of such prime real estate on Wednesday evening, as he hosted a private unveiling reception inside the new space that easily drew a crowd despite the dour weather outside.
Guests were treated, naturally, to plenty of frothy coffee and tea blends, as passed sweet and savory bites were circulated by tuxedo-clad staffers.
For those looking for a more adventurous way of getting their caffeine fix, a specialty cocktail bar had been setup for the occasion, which offered various mixtures of coffee, rum, and whiskey. Still, it was the cappuccinos created by Peet's La Marzocco Espresso machine that proved the most popular given the day's slight chill and overcast skies.
Setting aside the gourmet and recreational aspects of operating one of the District's most sought after coffee spots (it opened to the public earlier in the month, although last night served as the official unveiling), coffee as a commodity is big business.
And prices for arabica beans, the kind typically found in gourmet blends, have nearly doubled this year with very real long-term financial implications for large companies like Peet's. Given such macroeconomic importance, it's little surprise that Wednesday afternoon's gathering drew a bevy of Washington heavy hitters.
Spotted mingling about the shop's warmly decorated interior was everyone from Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez
(D-CA) and Congresswoman Jackie Speier
(D-CA) to CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash
to Washington Nationals Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer Valerie Camillo
to various members of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Also in attendance was coffee entrepreneur Jerry Baldwin
who, in addition to now serving on Peet's Board of Directors, notably cofounded the Starbucks
chain back in 1971.