Brewing Community: The Heartfelt Journey of Z Street Coffee Roasters

City of Auburn
6 min readMar 25, 2024

By Special Events and Farmers Market Coordinator Amanda Valdez

For Jeff and Diane Pechacek, the journey of Z Street Coffee Roasters is a tale of love, family, and the pursuit of excellence in every cup. With over a decade of experience under their belt, this dynamic duo has mastered the art of custom coffee roasting, catering to each customer’s unique preferences with precision and care.

What began as a humble countertop roaster in the cozy home of Jeff and Diane has blossomed into a beloved local business, fueled by passion, dedication, and a deep-rooted commitment to serving others. Their story is one of grassroots growth and unwavering community support. From experimenting with roasting techniques in their kitchen, to proudly showcasing their craft at the Auburn Farmers Market since 2016, Jeff and Diane have remained steadfast in their mission to provide a local, artisanal alternative to mass-produced coffee.

“Coffee is a challenging business to be in because the ‘hard core’ bigger companies have a huge loyalty,” Jeff explains. “We create custom orders, people can pick the bean, the roast and the grind.”

From garage to market

Roasting coffee beans at home was purely a fun hobby. Jeff & Diane had always enjoyed making things from scratch so, why not coffee? Fun soon turned into gift giving for the holidays. Before long a full-time job and a new business was underway. Starting a business was no easy feat. Lots of trial and error, research, Auburn incubator classes, and help from Green River College. Searching for the right roaster, then a bigger roaster to meet demands, led to Farmers Markets to spread the word about their unique product. And then eventually moving online to make custom orders for people all over the country.

After success at the Auburn Farmers Market, Jeff & Diane branched out to other local Farmers Markets including Maple Valley and Enumclaw. Not only are they the best custom coffee around, they are also wonderful vendors everywhere they go. They strongly believe that word of mouth is the best way to spread their message and share their positivity and coffee with the community.

You’ll see them regularly at local Farmers Markets, giving out samples, talking with customers and referring to other vendors in the area. They actively support their neighboring businesses and thrive off sharing the wealth. They’ve experienced firsthand the power of people and kindness. They love overhearing comments from passersby, regardless if they make a purchase or not. “Those are the people with the coffee”, “Remember them, that was really good coffee” Or another favorite “I was told I should come see you.” Z Street is quick to return the compliment to other businesses. They don’t see other vendors as competition. They believe we’re all in this together and the best way to be successful is to support each other.

An unlikely hero

Beyond the pursuit of business success, the heart of Z Street Coffee Roasters lies in their unwavering commitment to giving back — for no other reason than it’s just the right thing to do.

Back in February 2023, Auburn’s Senior Center Manager Radine Lozier was notified that Catholic Community Services — the center’s longtime lunch provider — would no longer provide coffee as part their program. That meant for the first time in over 45 years, at a place where seniors have come to gather for lunch and converse over something warm, coffee wouldn’t be part of the picture.

Radine explains: “When you come for lunch, one of the unexpected benefits is socialization. Which is crucial to people’s well-being. Enjoying coffee over a meal provides a social connection for this generation.”

The significant cultural impact of coffee for Senior Center participants is immense. Radine knew “I had to find a way to bring coffee back to the lunch meal.”

Knowing the importance of coffee, Lozier reached out to local roasters asking if they could help. Jeff and Diane answered Lozier’s email request within 15 minutes. Jeff replied “You got it. When do we start? We’ll provide our top shelf stuff. We might even join the group from time to time, as both my wife and I are over 60.” Jeff started delivering fresh roasted beans once a week for the lunch program and the seniors love it!

There was no hesitation about providing for the lunch program, Jeff responded with, “Absolutely, seniors need a good cup of coffee too!”

The Senior Center also has a coffee bar in the lobby. For the last 20 plus years, coffee had been purchased from a well-known commercial hospitality company. Coffee was delivered every other month by the case. Lozier noticed that the cost had been increasing rapidly since Covid. She reached out to Jeff for a quote on Z Street Coffee for the Coffee Bar. Their price for weekly delivered locally roasted coffee was substantially less. The Senior Center began purchasing Z Street Coffee in January 2024. It is a hit. Participants love the fresh taste and the fact that it is roasted locally. Jeff is getting to know the seniors as he comes in weekly. Tommy Swanlund, coffee bar volunteer, and Jeff have developed a great relationship.

Radine states, “We are grateful to Jeff and Diane for answering our email and working with us to provide local, fresh roasted coffee at a reasonable price.”

A giving heart

Jeff and Diane’s dedication to community outreach is matched only by their passion for the perfect roast. With each batch carefully curated to meet the individual tastes of their customers, Z Street Coffee Roasters stands apart as a beacon of quality and customization in an industry dominated by mass production.

As they look towards the future, Jeff and Diane remain driven by their shared vision of spreading joy, one cup of coffee at a time. With plans to expand their reach through wholesale accounts and larger customer bases, they remain committed to upholding the values of integrity, compassion, and top-tier customer service that have guided them from the very beginning.

In a world where coffee culture often feels impersonal and industrialized, Z Street Coffee Roasters serves as a refreshing reminder of the power of passion, community, and a really good cup of coffee. As Jeff and Diane continue to pour their hearts into every roast, their legacy of generosity and excellence is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who have the pleasure of tasting their brews.

Jeff and Diane agree: “We hope to leave a ‘good taste’ with people. And hope that inspires others to want to make someone else feel good.”

--

--