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GoCoffeeGo Co-Founder Elise Papazian: Inspired by Fashion, MTV and a Good Cup of Coffee

While a student at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications, Elise Papazian’s love of coffee manifested itself in a very charming way. 

She had an espresso machine in her Chi Omega sorority house bedroom, and friends would use the outside security bars to climb up to the window on the second floor.

After they propelled themselves through the window, Elise and her roommate, Chrissy, would serve them a hot cuppa. Enhancing the caffeinated experience was what Elise describes as an “I Dream Of Jeannie”-inspired, lavender tented-themed bedroom. Adding to the ambience was incense that was seemingly always burning. 

Boys, however, were not allowed upstairs in the sorority house, so Elise and Chrissy were always whispering with their male guests. They feared getting busted by Mrs. Doty, the housemother downstairs, but somehow always eluded detection. 

Today, the USC Chi Omega sorority house exists as the ZBT fraternity house. But Elise’s cherished memories remain always, and they include plenty of caffeine. 

“Coffee,” Elise said, “has always been a big part of my world.”

Elise Papazian drank her first cup of coffee at age 13. It was a very simple coffee, with cream.

“I liked it because it was warm and it was comforting,” said Elise, who was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and calls San Francisco home today. “It was nothing really wild. It was kind of like an adult, overgrown kid drink with chocolatey notes.” 

Elise is now running She and her late husband, Scott Pritikin, were pioneers in launching the online platform more than 14 years ago—before there was even a real coffee movement. sells everything from traditional dark roasts to geeky light roasts and the rare, exotic, and unique with wild flavors. With easy ordering, offers endless types of coffee; from nearly three dozen global roasters.

GoCoffeeGo offers subscriptions and was the first multi-roaster coffee eCommerce site to sell espresso, single origin coffee and blends from award-winning coffee roasters. Everything is roasted to order and shipped the same day, direct, from the roaster to your doorstep.

When Elise and Scott founded the company, their son Oliver was 2. Oliver is now a teenager and serves as a consultant for GoCoffeeGo. 

Elise first launched her career in coffee at age 16, when she worked as a barista at a Parisian cafe in San Mateo, south of San Francisco. But she wasn’t just slinging caffeine. 

While other baristas and other cafes were primarily serving just coffee, Elise was making beignets, lattes and cappuccinos, which were considered quite European and had yet to make it into the American mainstream at the time. 

“I’d put chocolate powder on them, I’d serve them with a little almond biscotti,” she said. “It was fancy and European and I just liked it.”

Elise had hoped to become a fashion designer and planned to attend school in either New York or Los Angeles. But her parents insisted she get an education first. One trip to Europe and two colleges later, she set her sights on a copywriting position in the advertising industry. 

“But I wasn’t a fast enough typist to get an entry-level secretary position in advertising,” she said. “So I started working a little in the film business for a British director and producer in San Francisco.”

But as could be expected, her life once again turned on her love for coffee. Her passion grew so strong that she traveled to 26 countries—Elise attended school and had an apartment in Madrid—and learned as much as she could about European coffee and roasts.

Back home in the U.S., Elise took a job selling exotic beans in the early days of specialty coffee. 

And she met her future husband at an ATM. A writer and aspiring director, Scott worked for a film company in San Francisco. 

He directed a music video and recruited Elise to wardrobe-style the production. Following that, another music video opportunity came up, which allowed her to once again have fun with fashion. She was thrilled.

The videos were shown on MTV. Television personality Arsenio Hall saw one of them, as did the folks at Motown Records, who ended up signing the musician. Motown asked Elise to wardrobe-style their music videos, so she moved to Los Angeles and kept quite busy during the heyday of MTV. 

Elise’s career was thriving, but so were the winds of change. She and Scott got engaged and years later the couple took a trip to London. These two serious coffee drinkers, however, couldn’t find a solid cup of coffee. They pondered how one could find caffeinated satisfaction with ease, and GoCoffeeGo was born. Years later, it remains a site full of fun and creativity, influenced by their time in Los Angeles. 

Since then, Elise and Oliver have ramped up their coffee expertise by becoming Q Graders, professionals skilled in the sensory evaluation of coffee. 

And from the feedback on, it’s clear that Elise, years after working as a barista, has established herself in a coffee industry position that could be compared to the way many people ask for their coffee to be brewed—strong. 

Visit to read what customers think of this operation:

  • “I’ve never had coffee so good,” wrote James.
  • “I started a coffee club membership and love the idea of having a new brand of coffee shipped every two weeks. The first roast was great,” wrote Bob John.
  • “The best coffee I have had in the past 20 years and fast delivery,” wrote Kathy. “I will be buying from here now on—such wonderful varieties. A great coffee site—can’t be beat for sure!”

Visit to learn more.