Rachel Tonyan was born and raised in Apple Valley, attending Excelsior Education Center with her brothers Joshua and Matthew. Growing up, Tonyan loved being outside — camping in Yosemite, going to the beach, anything that had to do with her family.
Since age 15, Tonyan was into the world of coffee. She spent three years as a barista, moonlighting as a coffee roaster.
“Soon people were tasting our coffee and loving it,” she said. “Before I knew it, I was a full time roaster improving our coffee, improving our flavors and most of all improving others’ way of life by using 100 percent fair trade organic coffee.”
Tonyan now works long hours at her family’s shop in Apple Valley, Tonyan Coffee, and shows up regularly at farmer’s markets around Southern California, roasted coffee in-toe.
Q: Why did you move to Apple Valley?
A: I was born at St. Mary’s Hospital in Apple Valley in August 1990, and have been lucky enough to build a wonderful family-oriented career in my hometown.
Q: What is your passion?
A: Working out. I love working to stay healthy and be as fit as I can. I often spend at least 20 minutes a day doing a high intensity workout and then spend an hour working on my cardio and stretching.
Q: Describe a special memory you have of Apple Valley.
A: Special memories that I have in Apple Valley will always be our family trips to the park. We would pack up the car with lunch, a blanket, a football or Frisbee, my dog and spend the whole day playing in the sun.
Q: Tell us one thing that most people don’t know about you.
A: I’m hungry about an hour after Thanksgiving dinner — no matter how much I eat on that night, it never fails. About an hour after eating I’m ready to double-down and start another dinner all over again.
Q: What is the ultimate issue facing the United States, and what’s your take on it?
A: The polarization of the prime political parties that run the country is a central issue of the United States. My take on this is that it’s time for our elected officials to stop pretending they want to compromise and actually work to make the United States a true champion of justice, both within our own borders and in struggling countries around the world.
Q: What person, living or from history, would you most like to have dinner with and why? What would you ask them?
A: I would have Jimmy Page over for dinner. I’d ask him what it was like living and playing his music all over the world in the ’70s.
Q: Where do you get your values from?
A: My values come from my parents; they taught me everything I know when it comes to my life and social values.
Q: What’s your favorite movie and why?
A: I can’t really say that I have one favorite movie because I love so many! But if I have to narrow it down it would come to the original Star Wars movies. I’m a bit of a geek on the inside and I love just snuggling up in a blanket and turning on “A New Hope.”
Q: What song(s) or music really gets you moving?
A: Any classic rock — the beat helps get my energy going early in the morning and is always good for working out too.
Q: Tell us about your favorite thing about Apple Valley.
A: My favorite thing about Apple Valley is the small-town feel. There are so many people that I know and see around the town. The people that come into our roastery have become friends that I enjoy seeing every week.
Q: What is the best thing about your job?
A: The best thing about my job is working so closely with my family and together making one of the best coffees in the High Desert. Sometimes things can get hectic around the house when the business gets busy but we always have a way to manage all the craziness.
Q: What is your secret to living a happy, satisfying life?
A: My secret is living a balanced, healthy life and staying close with my family. We support each other in everything that we do and work together to be a strong, happy family.
Q: What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
A: My guilty pleasure is a nice cold bowl of rocky road ice cream. After cleaning up from dinner I open up the freezer and pull out the pint of rocky road and scoop myself a little bowl and sit down on the couch with a blanket and my ice cream and relax for just a few minutes.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: In 10 years I see myself somewhere green and rainy with a nice vegetable garden, still roasting specialty Tonyan Coffee and working to help people in other worlds earn a better wage.