Coffee Wars: Starbucks challenged by Peet’s new presence on campus


Students brace a long line at the Starbucks in the Student Center on Wednesday. In spite of the opening of a new Peet’s in the portable village, many students remain brand-loyal to the long-established Starbucks. (Photo by Kameron Schmid)

John Ferrannini and Ashley Nanfria

By John Ferrannini and Ashley Nanfria

As caffeine-loving students may have noticed, there is a coffee war brewing at American River College.

Peet’s Coffee & Tea, which recently opened a new location in ARC’s portable village, will be hosting a taste test on Wednesday at 9 a.m. to promote their brand and encourage students to ditch the lines at the long-established Starbucks in the Student Center.

“We’re going to have a tent and give away coffee to attract more customers,” said Santa Singh, the food service director at American River College.

Singh said that she has to make sure advertisements for the tasting will not be too close to the Starbucks.

“I can’t have posters too close to the Starbucks, because they’re rivals, but they will be in the food court,” she said.

During the first week of school, Starbucks remained the coffee shop of choice for most students on campus, with the lines particularly busy in-between classes.

“Starbucks is so convenient because I study here,” said Nicole Skrinnik, an accounting major. “I know that Starbucks gives a 50 cent refill for iced coffee.

“I usually prefer Peet’s, to be honest.”

Convenience was diminished by long lines, however.

“Usually the Starbucks line is busy and takes a really long time,” said Shohreh Ebrahimian, an economics major, who was buying Peet’s. “They raised the prices in the Starbucks. There’s less of a line here.”

Singh said that the Peet’s was opened on campus to provide access to coffee and food for people far from the Student Center.

“In the (southeast) corner (of the campus) they needed something,” said Singh. “It’s far away from the student center and they needed food service. Peet’s serves coffee, so they would be best there.”

Both the employees who work at the Peet’s and Starbucks shops on campus are employed by Aramark, the food service provider for the campus.

Another place to buy coffee on campus will be opening again in September. The Oak Cafe, a student-run restaurant on the northwest corner of campus, will be serving brews from the Boyd Coffee Company.

Still, in the Student Center, business major Ana Azad remains brand loyal.

“I come here because it’s Starbucks,” Azad said.