Roast Magazine Roaster of the Year 2019
Roast Magazine Roaster of the Year 2019

Our Story

Family strong and Oakland proud since 1924. We are one of the original coffee & tea purveyors in the San Francisco Bay Area and the oldest specialty bean shop in the western United States.

As one of the very first craft roasters in the Bay Area, we’ve offered premium coffee and tea to local restaurants and hotels since our beginning in 1924. Fast forward 95 years, three generations and many awards later, to today when we received the coveted 2019 Roaster of the Year award. This is a one-time only recognition, shared with just a handful of the best known craft coffee roasting names in America. Roast Magazine, a leading resource for specialty coffee, created this award to highlight our industry’s best and most innovative roasters – those who show a lasting commitment to exceptional quality, innovative industry leadership, staff education and environmental sustainability.

And while our company has been a traditional Bay Area icon in Oakland for generations, we’re proud to say that our products and processes are always evolving. The founder’s grandson and our current President and CEO, George Vukasin, is a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef who has a passion for the creative art and exact science of coffee roasting. A self proclaimed “coffee geek,” George has an industry-wide reputation for bringing out the best in each varietal of bean. He then partners with his clients, roasting small batches of custom developed blends to create rich, multi-layered flavors. All our single origin and blended coffees have to rank a minimum quality score of 84 out of 100 as the Peerless standard – well above specialty market quality. It’s this meticulous craftsmanship, creative blending and adherence to quality that has earned us the enduring loyalty of top Bay Area restaurants.

As an industry leader, we understand the importance for innovation in our processes as well, and we recently became recognized as one of the first hospitality craft roasters to perfect nitrogen infused cold brew coffee on tap. It’s just one of many “firsts” that began with our grandfather and founder, John Vukasin.

He was one of the first roasters in America to create long lasting, farm-direct relationships with coffee growers in the world’s premier high elevation regions from Costa Rica to Ethiopia. We were also among the first to encourage organic certification among our partners, and one of the very first in California to receive green certification in our business, sourcing the finest graded Arabica beans at premium fair trade pricing and earning our organic certification in 1980.

Our Oakland headquarters contain a roasting plant where beans are roasted every day starting at 5AM, a sophisticated cupping and sample room, plus a training area to ensure that our hospitality clients can help their staff deliver the very best cup of coffee every time. Add to that, a retail store designed with reclaimed wood and metal – a reflection of our decades-long commitment to sustainability – showcasing the newest equipment for home use. And no visit would be complete without stopping by our coffee & tea museum, one of the most extensive on the west coast!