It all started out of a 20 ft shipping container located on the family property close to Rabbit Island. The year was 2013, the same year Stephen and Ali returned home to New Zealand for the arrival of their first child, Lewis. Having owned a coffee roasting business in Cairns, Australia, since 2010, they felt perfectly positioned to offer something special in the middle of a paddock. Coffee in a paddock was born and enjoyed three long summers, until it was time for another leap of faith, this time to Mapua Wharf as part of the new Shed 4 development which is now the home to Rabbit Island Coffee Co. the roastery. The "coffee in a paddock" is now closed to focus roasting delicious coffee.
Local girl, Ali has been a barista for many years on and off, while also gaining a B.Sc. from University of Canterbury and working the field of environmental science. Its this science background that sparked Ali's passion in understanding the subtleties of coffee aroma & taste and an eventual road back to coffee full-time. Ali is a qualified Q Grader which requires a difficult 3 day exam in coffee grading and tasting. Ali now assists Stephen with roastery.
Stephen is Australian, but now calls New Zealand home. He is a qualified carpenter and has been roasting coffee for 8 years, having trained under Tracy Alan (US) and Peter Wolff (AU). Stephen's greatest enjoyment comes from combining building and coffee in any way he can. The shipping containers used on the original location were all converted into small cafes by Stephen. He has built three container cafes in total, with containers #1 and #2 being purchased for use in Wellington's CBD. You can check them out below.
Stephen, Ali & sister Jimi-Zara serving coffee in 2014.