Rabbit Island Coffee Co. est. 2013
Hi there, here is our story in few words by me, Ali.
Stephen and I started roasting coffee in Cairns in 2010. Before that, Steve was a builder and I worked for local government. We were the first specialty coffee roaster in Far North Queensland and our concept was inspired by the micro-roasting movement happening in New Zealand. We saw a gap in the market and hoped that people still wanting to drink coffee in 35 degree temperatures! Luckily they did and the business was very successful. We were also the first business in Cairns to have a La Marzocco, which seems outrageous now. The industry has really developed since our inception.
When I was pregnant with Lewis (2013), I really wanted to be home in NZ, so we put Cairns-based roastery under management and went back to live in Nelson waiting the arrival of our son. After Lewis was born and we settled into being parents, we were keen to serve up our Aussie-Kiwi blended take on roasting and espresso to the Nelson-Tasman public. Originally we set up a shipping container in my parents paddock in Appleby and offered our style of coffee coffee & gourmet milkshakes for the summer months. Our simple but delicious offering was very popular with the locals and some days we would have a line up from open to close. The container concept lasted 3 seasons (in the winter we would go back to Cairns), then quite by surprise were offered a gorgeous little space on Mapua Wharf that was just perfect for roasting (we couldn’t say no) so we moved to NZ full-time to start Rabbit Island Coffee Co. the roasting company. We used the same name as the container, it just morphed from container-café into roasting (with no café). Two of our container-cafes are now located in Wellington CBD and run by goof people from Stories Espresso.
Years of coffee roasting in Australia had exposed us to some wonderful mentors and coffee education. I got the opportunity to competed in Barista competitions and gained my Q Grader qualification. As much as the coffee market in NZ is saturated, we felt that our roasting style was a little different and unique and that the Nelson-Tasman area was missing a smaller boutique roaster that focused on quality.
All my family (brother, sister, mum & dad) have worked or currently work for Rabbit Island Coffee Co. My brother and sister both played a vital role during Uni holidays and now Mum & Dad run the roastery (under Steve’s strict instructions). It is very special having a business where the whole family can share their passion for coffee.
Our goal for the future is to keep bring you coffee that 100% focused on quality & uniqueness.