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. When we starting, 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 just saw a gap in the market and hoped that the 35 degree temperatures meant people still wanting to drink hot coffee! 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 the business in Cairns under management and went back to live in Nelson. Originally we set up a shipping container in my parents paddock and served coffee and gourmet milkshakes for the summer months. This was very popular with the locals and some days we would have a line up from open to close. That 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.
The years of 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 rather saturated, we really felt that our roasting style was a little different and unique and that Nelson-Tasman was missing 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 really lovely having a business all the family are involved in.
Our goal for the future is keep bring you coffee that 100% focused on quality & uniqueness.