by hannahBENSON, 15

Peet’s Coffee & Tea on Lane Avenue bears a striking resemblance to the Caribou Coffee it recently replaced.

It has the same stone floors, brick walls, syrupy smell and peaceful atmosphere. The counters and condiments stand are still in their places. The tables have only shifted a bit— spindly wooden two-chair affairs have replaced sturdy, rectangular desks. Colorful wall hangings proclaim that this is, in fact, Peet’s Coffee & Tea. The staff is friendly and cheerful. With quiet guests, classical music and free Wi-Fi, it has the same vibe as Caribou.

Unlike Caribou, Peet’s has a stand full of coffee bean bags by the entrance. Peet’s offers five types for $15.95 a pound: Costa Rica, Cafe Solano, House Blend, Cafe Domingo and the limited edition 2013 Holiday Blend. While Peet’s does sell tea, no tea boxes are available at the Lane Avenue location. However, exotic teas and a wide range of coffees are available at Peets.com.

The Peet’s menu— with a broad array of coffees, teas, freddos and pastries— does not shy from whipped cream. The white mochas come without lids and are buried under mountains of it. Even so, it has 40 less calories than the exact same Starbucks drink. The taste is less syrupy and overpowering than that of the Starbucks white mocha, and it has considerably less foam.

Peet’s black coffee is dark and rich, and its hot chocolate is thick and milky. All drinks come freshly made and scaldingly hot.

Peet’s offers a wide range of pastries, from cupcakes to cookies to cinnamon rolls. The chocolate croissant is flaky and sweet, but a bit heavy. Customers would do best to ask a barista to microwave the pastry for a fresher taste. Under the pastry case is a shelf of cold drinks (milk, Naked Juice and water) for customers not yearning for caffeine.

Overall, Peet’s was enjoyable. The coffee didn’t taste as artificial as Starbuck’s occasionally does, the pastry was sweet but heavy and it had a similar ambiance to Caribou.

Aside from the abundance of whipped cream, Peet’s does not stand out against other popular coffee shops. Its seasonal drinks (pumpkin lattes, peppermint mochas, eggnog lattes, etc.) are fairly generic and similar— if not identical— to Starbucks’. The pastries and cold drinks served are typical for a coffee shop. However, Peet’s is quiet and peaceful, and it has decent prices. Stop by if you need a serene atmosphere or cheap coffee during a study break.