Peerless Wins Major Award

On the brink of its 95th anniversary, the Oakland coffee outfit scored a Roaster of the Year award.


Image courtesy of Pavement

On the verge of its 95th anniversary, Oakland's venerable family-run Peerless Coffee & Tea company has just won what coffee-industry insiders call the nation's most prestigious honor: Roast magazine's Roaster of the Year Award.

Producing a mountainous 3.9 million pounds of roasted coffee per annum, Peerless scooped the top prize for Macro Roaster of the Year. 

“I have no words for the pride my family feels in being recognized as the first hospitality craft roaster in North America to be honored as the Large Roaster of the Year,” said Peerless Coffee & Tea CEO George Vukasin, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris whose training as a chef and highly attuned palate lend his coffee expertise an extra edge. 

John Vukasin founded Peerless in 1924 as a newly arrived Yugoslavian immigrant wishing to create fresh European-style coffees. Hid original store was located at Washington and 9th streets. John's son George Sr. joined the company in 1957; his son — current CEO George Jr. — grew up learning the trade.

Today, Peerless' roasting and retail facilities are located on Oak Street near Jack London Square.

Roast is a bi-monthly technical trade magazine devoted to the art and science of coffee-roasting and the success and growth of the specialty coffee industry. Its ROY awards honor companies that roast coffees of superior quality, demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, advocate employee and community education, and other criteria. 

“It’s amazing to me that a company that has been operating since 1924 has the ability to not only compete in coffee for almost one hundred years but is thriving on creating specialty coffee in a highly competitive industry,” said Roast publisher Connie Blumhardt.

“Peerless Coffee & Tea is a true leader that deserves the Roaster of the Year title for their commitment to specialty coffee, to their employees and their family name.”

Last year, Peerless won top honors in the Golden Bean Awards' "Overall Large Chain" category, along with seventeen gold, silver, and bronze awards in other categories.

The company's latest victory marked the first time in the ROY awards' fifteen years that the Roaster of the Year was one that services the hospitality industry. Peerless Coffee & Tea products are served at such deluxe establishments as the Pebble Beach Resort, Newport Beach's Pelican Hill, and celebrity chef (and multiple James Beard Award winner) Gary Danko's Michelin-rated San Francisco restaurant, as well as many other hotels, restaurants, and coffeehouses.

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