Meet the team
About: A craftsman at heart, founder & co-owner Stephen carved out a career as a carpenter in his 20s before discovering the art of coffee roasting in his 30s. In 2010, along with his wife Ali, he founded Cairns’ first specialty coffee roaster and has nurtured the specialty coffee industry in North QLD ever since. Steve now enjoys mentoring up-and-coming roasters, assisting café owners perfect their fit-outs, and dedicating time to personal projects on the horizon.
Favourite White Whale blend: Carpenter's
Drinks: Filter or Flat White
About: Post Global Financial Crisis was the the perfect time for Ali to throw in her dream government job as an Environmental Protection Officer to co-found a coffee business - really?! While some called her mad, Ali isn’t one to shy away from a challenge and is our resident risk taker, pushing White Whale to the very best it can be. With several stints running the business from afar in NZ, Ali has recently made Cairns home again with husband Stephen and son Lewis. The coffee industry has fulfilled the opportunity for Ali to practice some of her philanthropic ideals by establishing a corporate sponsorship with the Reef Restoration Foundation & providing employment pathways for youth.
Favourite White Whale blend: Twenty Ten
Drinks: Flat White
Position: Roaster & Barista Trainer
About: A coffee professional with a thirst to learn as much as she possibly can about the coffee industry. After years of pumping out high quality coffee in busy espresso bars as a barista, Chrissie is now roasting - something she finds both challenging and exciting. You will often find her in deep conversation with fellow roasters (seriously, don’t get her started on the Maillard Reaction) or waxing lyrical about how incredible the coffee she is drinking.
Favourite White Whale blend: Twenty Ten - Chocolate, malt and a little burst of flavour from the Natural Ethiopian...YUM!
Drinks: Too hard to choose just one!
About: Snowie is a friendly and energetic barista with a passion for the 'art' of coffee, particularly the finely-styled latte art she pours with every cup. A beautifully presented coffee adds to the customer experience and allows the meticulously roasted White Whale beans to shine through. As Snowies name suggests, you can first appreciate the snow-capped milk foam, smell the fragrant coffee aroma, and finally enjoy the taste.
Favourite White Whale blend: Single Origin Ethiopian
Drinks: Batch Brew
About: An original member of the White Whale crew, Hollie loves the fast-paced energy of the busy Espresso Bar. Hollie’s passion is in preparing, pouring and serving delicious, quality coffee, putting smile on the faces of all our White Whale customers.
Favourite White Whale blend: Stone Hammer
About: Slinging shots like a coffee cowboy, James brings vibrant energy and laughs to the team at White Whale. A Kiwi lad with a sense of humour and a love for travel, he is never in one place for too long. Thankfully, he has settled in as a Barista at White Whale, for now at least. James recently completed his post-grad studies in International Development and loves immersing himself in culture and the outdoors.
Favourite White Whale blend: Timor-Leste Single Origin
About: Personality. A single word bio is possible for Karlie but that wasn’t the brief! When you visit White Whale, Karlie is the friendly face greeting you from behind the register. With over 20 years experience in hospitality, Karlie’s purpose is to establish a great relationship between the customer and the company by offering a genuine hospitality experience.
Favourite White Whale blend: Beach House
Drinks: Piccolo latte