5:2:8 Creative Coffee Collective isn’t your average coffee shop. This coffee shop, which started as an offshoot of architectural firm 25:8 Architecture + Urban Design, is a way for founder Jay Lim and his team to fulfil three passions: coffee, architecture, and mentoring. Lim is an architect and a Carleton University adjunct professor. His 25:8 Architecture + Urban Design team had been digital nomads and coffee connoisseurs for quite some time. At one point or another, they collaborated with customers and mentored students at a coffee shop. So why not transform the old auto garage next door into a café?
But this isn’t yet another café in Ottawa’s sprawling urban landscape. “I am used to addressing our clients’ needs in creative, non-traditional ways as an architect,” Lim said. “We’re not inventing the coffee shop; we’re changing it by doing a few things differently and very well.”
Not just a client, but a club member
2:8:5 A weekly rotation of coffee from independent micro-roasters from around the world is featured at Creative Coffee Collective. Morning commuters and regulars frequent the café because it simplifies their everyday routine with pre-paid packages or subscriptions. Customers who want to stay and work for a while will join the “HUB CLUB.” The club offers coffee as well as workspace, 3D printers, high-speed internet, scanners, and other amenities.
Going green is also emphasised. Disposable stir sticks, sugar packets, and creamers are not available here. Customers are only allowed to use reusable cups (which are also available from 5:2:8). Even the café’s signature popper topper pastry is designed to fit the 5:2:8 cup lid so the hot coffee will warm the pastry, avoiding the need – and the wait – for a microwave. To maximize the use of the space, 5:2:8 serves overnight as a ghost kitchen for a separate gourmet burger business.
Such innovative ideas aside, launching a new business is a challenge even at the best of times, never mind during a pandemic. Lim and his team further put themselves on the spot by aligning their store opening with its name – 5:2:8 (May 28).
“We have had to shift our opening date several times to accommodate provincial closures,” Lim said. “We have also had to develop strict cleaning protocols and systems to make the place inviting while also addressing public health requirements.” Subject to pandemic lockdown measures, 5:2:8 will open offering dine-in, curbside pickup and no-contact delivery.