‘Hikari Coffee Co.’

UTSA graduate, Elaine Oyama, serves up roasts

Eunice Rodriguez, Contributing Writer

Offering freshly roasted coffee, Hikari Coffee Co. brings a taste of Latin and African coffee to San Antonio. At just 17 years old, UTSA alumna Elaine Oyama started Hikari Coffee Co. with a coffee roaster purchased second-hand and a love for coffee. Now at 21 years old, Oyama has made a name for herself in her hometown, Del Rio, Texas, and she aspires to do the same right here in San Antonio. 

Q: What is it like to be a young business owner? 

A: “I would have to say that it is hard. There are days where I struggle and especially during COVID when [the] prices of my roasts went way through the roof and on top of having to take care of school and everything in my businesses back home in Del Rio. It’s very hard to manage, but my family kept everything going while I was focusing on school, so I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”

Q: Did you always know you wanted to open your own business?

A: “No, not at all. I went to school for psychology and medicine, so business was never even on my mind. The only reason I started it was because I was given an opportunity and I jumped on it. I didn’t even think, but I took the opportunity and it paid off.”

Q: What motivated you to create Hikari Coffee Co.?

A: “Well, I was about to graduate high school and I was babysitting for an Air Force family who was being deployed, and as soon as they said, ‘Hey, we’re trying to sell our own coffee roaster. Do you know anyone who might be interested?’ I jumped on it. I’d never worked a day in my life, but I just won a lot of scholarships so I pulled out all of my scholarship money from the bank, bought the coffee roaster, bought my LLC, and got all of my licensing. So it was really a door that opened that I had to go through.”

Q: Is there a reason you chose Hikari Coffee Co. as the business name?

A: “Yes actually, so Hikari means light in Japanese and my first name Elaine means light in Greek. So it was literally the first thing that I put into Google Translate. I just said ‘What does light mean’ or ‘What’s light in Japanese’ and that was what I got and I loved it.”

Q: What makes owning Hikari Coffee Co. worthwhile?

A: “For one, I’ve become the youngest member of the Del Rio and the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce back in my hometown and it’s given me the opportunity to work within my community. I work with a lot of businesses back home — you can find almost every coffee shop has at least heard of me. We work with the Guatemalan Chamber of Commerce and they always have my coffee and anytime someone comes in, they always give them a bag. So I was 17 when I started it, and now at 21 I can say most of my hometown knows me because of this.”

Eunice Rodriguez

Q: What kinds of blends and beans do you sell?

A: “So our one true blend is going to be the Oyama Espresso, but right now we have eight beans listed that are ready for sale and that range everywhere from Colombian, Costa Rican, Brazilian, Ethiopian, Guatemalan, Mexican, Mexican decaf and the espresso.”

Q: What was the process of making your specialty blend Oyama Espresso?

A: “So the Oyama Espresso is a mix of, I believe, Brazilian, Colombian, Peruvian and Nicaraguan coffee. My dad is our professional roaster because I physically cannot carry that thing. It is way too much. Now that he’s retired he has a lot of free time and he dedicates that to the coffee, so he was just messing around one day trying to see if I mix this in this, what [it] would taste like. So eventually he made his own concoction and I will say the process took a good like two or three months, but now it’s one of our good sellers.”

Q: How can we buy from Hikari Coffee Co.?

A: “So you can by reaching out to myself directly or reaching out through our Facebook page. Right now obviously I’m in San Antonio, but everything is based in my hometown of Del Rio so anytime I get a message or the Facebook gets a message my mom will see that. She is my designated operator and she will package the beans and if you’re based in San Antonio, really anywhere, just let us know if you would like it whole ground, half pound, full pound. We also offer shipping worldwide.”

Q: Does Hikari Coffee Co. have hopes of opening a physical store?

A: “It was always something in the back of my mind and I’d always said that if psychology doesn’t work out or if my main plan doesn’t work out then it’s probably going to be what happens. Right now I can’t think of it happening. I’m starting my master’s in clinical mental health counseling in January and obviously, I already have a full-time job. Everything’s going really well for me, but as of right now, not yet, but never say never.”

Shop Hikari Coffee Co. through their Facebook page and through their Instagram page, @hikaricoffeeco. Contact Hikari Coffee Co. by email at [email protected].