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From the grounds up: Biola entrepreneur brews up business

Sophomore business major Brody O’Brien stands in front of his custom made espresso bar. His business, Mitchell Canyon Coffee, is run from his dorm room. | Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES


Coffee remains a necessity for many college students. When balancing mid-terms and essays, it becomes crucial to fit in a trip to Common Grounds or the Talon for an energy boost.

However, there is a buzz around campus about Mitchell Canyon Coffee, an espresso business run by sophomore business major Brody O’Brien. His passion for coffee has grown into a desire to share coffee with others and Biola students are drinking it up.

“I find myself spending nearly all of my free time either trying new methods of brewing or reading about it,” O’Brien said. “I love the atmosphere and the endless possibilities, and I know that God is calling me to embrace this passion in my career.”

Recently, O’Brien has teamed up with The Eden Projects, a reforesting organization in Ethiopia that hires locals to plant trees within their area. O’Brien has pledged to donate 25 percent of all profits to charities like The Eden Projects and in doing so hopes to contribute to growth within Ethiopia.

“I really felt God tugging on my heart to pursue this cause,” O’Brien said. “I read about it, watched videos, spoke with representatives and knew immediately that this is a perfect fit for my business.”

Mitchell Canyon Coffee owner Brody O’Brien pours almond milk in an ice coffee drink that he made. “I find myself spending nearly all of my free time either trying new methods of brewing or reading about it,” O’Brien said. | Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES



Aside from the company’s commitment to causes around the world, O’Brien strives to produce fresh, unique roasts.

“Through my website there’s a variety of different roasts to choose from and whenever we receive an order we put it in the roaster that week and ship it out the same day,” O’Brien noted. He explained that through this system, the customer receives their order at the peak of its freshness as opposed to shelved coffee beans sold at grocery stores.

“Freshness makes a huge difference, and that is our first priority,” O’Brien added. “I only recruit specialty coffee roasters for the business so you can be sure that anything you find on will be roasted to perfection.”

O’Brien hopes to one day open a coffee shop in Ethiopia that also focuses on reforestation within the area. Through this, he hopes to employ those who need jobs. O’Brien believes God has already worked through him and his business.

Sophomore business major Brody O’Brien, owner of Mitchell Canyon Coffee, shows off his business card. | Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES



Fourth year communications major Kerry Paxton also identifies with O’Brien’s passion for entrepreneurship. While Paxton’s true concern lies in fair treatment of the disabled within the education system, he also eagerly wants to further his skills as a barber. Playfully nicknamed “The Biola Barber,” Paxton has become known for cutting men’s hair on and off campus.

Paxton hopes to complete his goals before graduating in the fall of 2015, one of them being pampering President Barry Corey with a haircut.

“I am not going to be happy unless DBC lets me cut his hair. If you’re the Biola president, you can always depend on me to get a haircut,” Paxton promised.

Both O’Brien and Paxton encourage Biola students to pursue entrepreneurship if they feel called to do so.

“Look at what Biola is missing and if you can fill that need, you’ll always have a space,” Paxton suggested.

O’Brien advised students to take something you love and run with it.

“Most importantly, don’t lose focus on God. It’s easy to focus too much on success and financials, but God is the one in control so there’s no reason we should try to do it on our own. Tough times will come, but the advantage of picking something you love is that you’re more motivated to push through them.”

Your Turn.  Post a Comment

  1. Skeptical

    Must be rough to have capital in the family to 'start a business' at a young age October 10, 2014

  2. JaketheExplorer

    Interesting. Website, sales, dorm business. I'd like to meet this guy and see what process he went through to get his business licenses, health certificates for himself and certifying the dorm as a registered kitchen, as well as all the other processes he had to go through with the City of La Mira to get licensed. I've always wondered how small businesses pay sales and business taxes. He must have a wealth of knowledge on how to get through all those legal hoops to operate.

    Glad to see Biola is supporting businesses in dorm rooms. I know a lot of guys that have businesses at CalState Fullerton, but those aren't as legit as this one seems..... October 10, 2014

  3. JaketheExplorer

    *La Mirada October 10, 2014

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