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Peet's Coffee Accused of Shorting Customers On French Press Coffee: Lawsuit

By Ariel Cheung | November 5, 2015 5:32am
 When it comes to press pot coffee, this Peet's customer wants to drink to the dregs.
When it comes to press pot coffee, this Peet's customer wants to drink to the dregs.
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COOK COUNTY COURTHOUSE — Being a coffee fiend is practically the norm in Chicago, but one man is so appreciative of the deep richness of press pot coffee that he's suing to get every drop.

On Friday, Robert Garrett filed a class action lawsuit in Cook County against Peet's Coffee and Tea. He accuses the company of defrauding its customers "through false and misleading ... in-store signage and menus" and, as a result, overcharges for its press pot coffee.

Press pot coffee, also known as French press, is brewed "low and slow," with grounds diffusing in the pot until they're pressed down with a mesh filter.

Peet's sells press pot coffee for about $3-6, with 12- or 32-ounce options listed. Garrett, of Winnetka, alleges that, unlike other coffees at Peet's, press pot coffee is labeled based on the size of the brewing device rather than the amount of coffee actually delivered to the customer.

The 32-ounce press pot coffee, for example, comes in 24-ounce cups, the lawsuit claims.

"Customers are actually served at least 25 percent less liquid volume than they believe they received," said Dan Voelker, Garrett's attorney.

Peet's Coffee did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but told Nation's Restaurant News that it was "committed to full transparency."

 Peet's Coffee
Peet's Coffee
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The California-based Peet's Coffee operates in nine states and has 10 locations in Chicago. On Friday, it announced its purchase of a majority stake in Intelligentsia Coffee, which first opened in Lakeview 20 years ago.

Voelker likened the case to a lawsuit against Subway claiming its famed footlong sandwiches were coming up short, at 11 inches. Last month, the company cut a deal to pay offended customers up to $525,000 and ensure the sandwiches measure up in the future.

The lawsuit seeks to force Peet's to change how it represents its volume of press pot coffee sold and award compensation to anyone within its class.

Peet's now has 30 days to respond to the allegations.

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