1849 James A. Folger gets a carpentry job at age 15 at the Pioneer Steam Coffee and Spice Mills in San Francisco, helping build California’s first mill for ground roasted coffee. He carries its samples to the gold fields, eventually buys the company, and renames it J.A. Folger & Co.―which becomes a top national brand.
1966 Alfred Peet opens Peet’s Coffee in Berkeley, popularizing a dark-roast style. He later trains Starbucks’s founders and supplies the Seattle company with Peet’s fresh-roasted beans. Starbucks, of course, goes on to become America’s largest coffeehouse chain, with more than 11,000 stores at last count.