John Vukasin arrived in Oakland as a Yugoslavian immigrant in 1920, with a dream of establishing a gourmet coffee roaster that would offer traditional European style richness combined with guaranteed freshness and artisan blending. In 1924 he opened the first Peerless Coffee Company at Washington and 9th Streets, and began a family operation that reflected his unwavering insistence on product excellence and outstanding customer service. It was this business model that formed the foundation of our deep, personal relationships within the Bay Area’s hospitality and retail industry today. In 1957 his son, George Vukasin, joined the company. With on-the-job experience, a strong work ethic inherited from his immigrant father, and a decided talent for management, George helped the business grow exponentially, taking over operations after John retired.
Original Store: Washington & 9th St.
Oakland, CA From 1924 to 1975
Founders and Yugoslavian immigrants
John and Natalie Vukasin, 1920
George Vukasin and his wife Sonja,
with children George Jr., Michelle, & Kristina, 1975
George’s wife Sonja and children George Vukasin Jr. and Kristina Brouhard worked alongside him, helping to capture a piece of the American Dream from what began as a humble family business. In fact, the demand for our small batch artisan coffees grew to the point that George moved our facilities to much larger quarters – encompassing almost an entire city block – on Oak Street near near Jack London Square, where we remain to this day.
Today George Jr. and Kristina are the 3rd generation to run our company, expanding our range of home and hospitality coffee equipment and enlarging our coffee and tea selection.
They understand, like their grandfather before them, that each varietal of coffee bean needs the same extensive knowledge, decades of experience and an artisan’s demand for excellence, in order to reach perfection – just like fine wines. With us, roasting and blending exceptional coffee isn’t just a business. It’s a labor of love, and our family legacy.
The process of creating a world class coffee museum began 40 years ago, with Sonja Vukasin’s global travels and her long-standing passion for coffee. With the help of Oakland Museum designer Ted Cohen, she created an exhibit of her family’s personal coffee and tea artifacts as well as a carefully curated collection of rare and antique coffee memorabilia – including traditional coffee grinders from around the world and equipment that the founder used to roast peanuts!
As extensive and thorough as the permanent collection is, you’ll also find changing installations that may feature anything from exotic coffee equipment and unusual roasting tools to advertising designs or a stunning assortment of modern, coffee-inspired jewelry.