San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Journeyman Coffee: Serving community in a cup

Third-year transfer student Elias Tchapadarian founded his own coffee roasting company with the goal of opening a coffee shop in southern California
Photo by Fernando Martinez
Elias Tchapadrian poses with the coffee roaster where he roasts in San Diego on Friday, Apr. 21.

From early-morning lectures to late-night study sessions, coffee is an essential part of the day for many San Diego State students. One student, in particular, is on a mission to redefine the importance of coffee.

Elias Tchapadarian, a third-year transfer student, has spent five years working in the coffee industry. He obtained an in-depth understanding of the industry by working as a barista, a production and operations assistant and an intern at numerous coffee shops.

While studying business management with a specialization in entrepreneurship at SDSU, Tchapadarian realized that combining his passion for coffee with his entrepreneurial endeavors would be an ideal scenario. 

“I felt like I was more so on a coffee journey throughout my years,” Tchapadarian said. “I’ve never worked in another industry, and I just like that idea of progressing and telling my story through my brand.”

As a result, Journeyman Coffee was established in December 2022. 

Elias Tchapadrian poses with a coffee bag of his brand on Friday, Apr. 21. (Photo by Fernando Martinez)

Journeyman Coffee specializes in selling 12-ounce retail coffee bags with air-tight valves to preserve the freshness of coffee beans. These coffee beans are specially selected from Ethiopia, Columbia and Brazil, which offers a diverse range of flavors for customers. They are available for sale in both whole or pre-ground beans. 

Besides selling coffee bags, Journeyman Coffee has merchandise available for purchase, such as black and cream-colored tote bags. Future merchandise, including t-shirts, sweatshirts and hats are expected to launch this summer and fall.

Tchapadarian has also taken the initiative to establish connections with local San Diego companies, such as Bottlecraft North Park. He has been able to sell his products wholesale and further integrate himself into the San Diego community.

“I like to go to these places and deliver samples myself and try to network and talk to a lot of owners,” Tchapadarian said. “There’s probably five shops that I can name the owners and I know them personally and I’ve sat down with them… it’s a good community.”

Tchapadarian continues to navigate through the saturated coffee market by finding new ways to creatively market his brand. Through the use of TikTok and Instagram, he offers an inside glimpse into the daily operations of running a small business and uses popular trends to engage his target audience. 

Despite Tchapadarian’s efforts to grow his business, being a lacrosse student-athlete could pose its challenges.

“I made a day of my life video (for TikTok) and there was just so much that was going on,” Tchapadarian said. “I would wake up… couple of days I would have an 8 a.m. (course). So I’d go to that. I’d respond to emails, or if I had orders, I’d have to get that placed. And then I’m studying, I’m going to classes, I’m meeting friends for coffee and then we practice super late at night. So I don’t go home until 8:30 p.m., and by the time I’m home, it’s 11 p.m.” 

Elias Tchapadrian sits in his room where he keeps his business items on Friday, Apr. 21. (Photo by Fernando Martinez)

Although it can be challenging to balance school, athletics and Journeyman Coffee, Tchapadarian is fortunate to have supportive friends who are willing to offer their assistance.

Tchapadarian’s roommate, Matthew de Heras, a third-year recreation administration major with an emphasis in outdoor resource management, has witnessed firsthand Tchapadarian’s dedication to Journeyman Coffee.

“I think starting a business in college is an extremely respectable thing,” de Heras said. “(Tchapadarian is) always busy doing something, whether it be for the business or for school, and I don’t think many people could do that.”

Being one of many entrepreneurs at SDSU, Tchapadarian felt that he was ready to start his business and learn along the way.  

“I think that you kind of just have to go for it,” Tchapadarian said. “I’m a transfer and I’m not in any business fraternities. I’m not in the entrepreneurship program through the Lavin Center. I’m not really in any of that and it’s still possible.”

Tchapadarian is brewing something special. In the near future, he plans to expand Journeyman Coffee by opening a community-oriented shop in southern California. He envisions a redefined coffee culture that fosters creativity, community and change, whether customers purchase coffee online or visit a physical location.

“The fact that I’m so young and so committed is a testament to my brand,” Tchapadarian said. “I really want them to notice the passion, whether that be through the packaging, through the logo, through the company as a whole or just through the taste. I put a lot of work into everything that I do within the coffee community and within my own brand.” 

To learn more about Journeyman Coffee, check out their website, or follow them on Instagram and TikTok for additional updates.

About the Contributor
Jazlyn Dieguez, '23-24 Social Media Editor
Jazlyn Dieguez (she/her/hers) is a fourth-year journalism major minoring in creative editing and publishing from Salinas, California. She possesses a strong drive to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, showcasing her talents across various mediums including social media, broadcasting and writing. Prior to assuming the role of social media editor for The Daily Aztec, Dieguez served as a staff writer for The Daily Aztec's Arts and Culture section and held the position of vice president of writing & copy for The Look Magazine, SDSU's first student-run arts, fashion and culture publication. Currently, Dieguez has taken on the responsibilities of vice president for SDSU's Society of Professional Journalists chapter and social media editor for SDSU's National Association of Hispanic Journalists chapter. Apart from her academic pursuits, Dieguez enjoys binge-watching TV shows, discovering new music, traveling to new locations and staying up-to-date with the latest trends in fashion.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Journeyman Coffee: Serving community in a cup