Cleona Coffee Roasters, LLC, officially began in the May of 2021, however, unknowingly began to form in 2016. My name is Matt Zechman, and I'm the owner and roastmaster of CCR. 


In 2016, I graduated high school and began working full-time as an EMT on an ambulance. My work partner, Lisa, would stop at Dunkin' about three times a day, and naturally, that meant I also stopped there three times a day. I got hooked on coffee, and as time went on, I started to brew it at home to save money.


Although my interest in coffee started as an act to save money, it quickly turned into a wild fascination and passion. First it was an AeroPress, then a Chemex, then a cheap hand grinder, and before I knew it, several other coffee brewing gadgets made their way into my collection. I became a huge fan of James Hoffmann, Scott Rao, Tim Wendelboe, and many other famous coffee experts.  I enlisted in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, and as I would go away to Army functions, I would be the "coffee guy" that always had a setup. In September of 2019, I deployed overseas to Afghanistan as a CH-47F door gunner. Although very busy at first, our mission set slowed down and another gunner and I, Spears, started the "Gunnerz Lounge Café". Using a Keurig, French Press, my AeroPress, and a water kettle, we brewed coffee for the people in our company. We had a menu, we got donations, and we were ordering up to 5 lbs. of coffee every week given the high demand. During that time, I dove into coffee studies and learned everything that I could about the history of it, coffee origins, coffee growing factors, brew methods, and brewing variables. When I got back from my deployment, I bought a house in my hometown of Cleona, and built my home brewing setup. Although I love brewing coffee, I wanted to explore into the completely other side of coffee that I knew little about: roasting.


I ordered 5 lbs of Burundi Dry Process Kibingo and first tried to roast it on the stove. It worked, but it was inconsistent and made a terrible mess. Then I used a hot air popcorn popper; that burnt up after two roasts. My next roaster was a FreshRoast SR800 with a 12" Razzo extension tube. With this, I was able to make half pound batches, and although I was only roasting for myself at first, friends began to try it and love it. With little time passing, I was getting orders and knew that making a business was an inevitable future. I initially went with the name "Golden Hour Coffee Roasters" to tie in a military medicine theme, however, changed it to Cleona Coffee Roasters in order to target a more local audience. In early March of 2021, my best friend, Maillet, and I drove down to Alabama to pickup my current roaster; a 2020 Buckeye 3.5 lb. propane roaster. We somehow got it to fit in my Jeep, we drove back up, and I assembled it in a small disconnected room in the back of my house, which then became "the roasting room". I had a very sketchy ventilation system and ran it off of a 20 lb. propane tank, but rest assured, I got my use out of that temporary setup. To fast forward, two months later my LLC was formed, and I began to research licensing. In the meantime, I roasted away and learned everything that I could. My renovation efforts were delayed many times due to being sent away to nursing homes with the National Guard, but when there was a break in my schedule, my amazing Dad and I hit the renovations hard for four weeks. New outlets, moving the door to the middle of the room, plumbing, drywall, FRP panels, a new floor, a drop ceiling, ventilation, and furnishing was all done in less than a month. In late November, I got my limited food establishment license with the PA Department of Health, and at that point, CCR became a 100% real coffee roasting business. 


I'm a firm believer in giving back, so in addition to fundraiser blends and product donations to first responders and troops serving overseas, I believe in neighbors helping neighbors, local businesses helping local businesses, and in general, just being there for one another when needed. My coffee can be found at over ten local locations (found under the "Where To Buy" tab above). Roasting is currently performed at 911 Rapid Response, 700 W. Main Street, Annville, PA 17003. Although my roastery is inaccessible to the public (located behind the gun range), I welcome customers to send me an email or text for a personal tour. I am primarily self-employed through the business, although I work part-time as an advanced EMT with Life Lion EMS, serve in the PAARNG as a combat medic, and volunteer with the Annville Cleona Fire Department as a Lieutenant, Chaplain, and Trustee. 


As every day gives something new to learn, roasting is no different. Although I am confident with the current quality of my coffee, there is no doubt that my roasting will improve, and I thank everyone for encouraging this educational growth and yearning for the best possible product by supporting my business.