Snapshot: Cassandra Fleming, Five Sugars
There are plenty of cafes within book stores, and book stores within cafes, and food often accompanies art, but there are not so many where clothing meets coffee (except, perhaps that one we found in Bali). Cue Five Sugars, vendor of espresso and sweets, and enclave within the lush Lavish Essentials boutique.
The most delectable corner on the block with its Italian-made pastel cups and plates and all manner of culinary offerings (Dello Mano and Poppy Cakes baked goods, Lindsay & Edmunds handmade organic chocolates), Five Sugars is owned by the cheerful Cassandre Fleming, a self-confessed "coffee snob" and epicurean who opened up shop three months ago.
Her story is this: after following her feet to Netherlands and finding the standard of food and coffee abysmal, Cassandre operated a small catering business, but left the country, and the terrible coffee, behind and returned home with her son, who is five, and a semi-commercial coffee machine, and promptly took a barista's course to upskill.
She looked into occupying another space in town but Wendy, the owner of Lavish, was her saving grace. A job was offered to Cassandre selling clothes off the racks, but out of her imagination and culinary creativity and love for good coffee came Five Sugars instead (God has a way of giving us things we sometimes dream up in our heads).
Three months in, she's paying her bills and has just installed an espresso bench. She has plans to do a non-traditional, casual high-tea, too.
"I've had no training; food and making coffee are an instinctive thing, it's what's in me," she says. "I couldn't do my first venture with food because it's too much of an outlay and there are too many variables; this is something I can do by myself. If it doesn't work, I walk away with a brilliant coffee machine for my home! My machine is worth $13,000 and my car is worth $3000."
A store within a store – it's the most wonderful idea. The sugar-almond decor will delight your eyes while the selection of salted caramel cupcakes and peanut butter cupcakes will attend to your tastebuds. For the kid within there's Lollipop Brides handmade lollipops and Gingerbread Folk, and for real kids there's a chest of toys at hand to play with while mum or dad sit back and relax.
In the beverage department, Five Sugars offers "Deconstructed Mocca", Chai Latte with a Belgian Dark Chocolate Stirrer Stick, GABA tea (a Japanese brew), "real" ginger beer. Her smooth brew is a Saint Signature blend made on Maleny Dairies cow's milk (or soy milk, if you will).
And then there's the Candy Bar stocked with jars of Allen's best lollies and lolly bags stuffed with strawberries and cream, mint leaves, Jaffas, freckles, raspberries, pineapples, red frogs, jelly beans, teeth, milk bottles, bananas, racing cars and smarties for $1.50 a pop.
Cassandre offers passers-by who come in with their take-away cups a taste of her brew in order to indoctrinate them – and, for the most part, it works. The quirks and surprises are plentiful (paper tags with 'Free Positive Thoughts' to take away, stacks of books, toy airplanes, a bright hot-air balloon in the middle of the room), but that's what makes Five Sugars so special.
Adding to the fun is the Facebook page, which features a clip of The Archies (of Scooby-Doo fame) performing "Sugar Sugar". Cassandre will make you feel like an old friend just as soon as you walk in, happy to participate in conversation, and you will leave (signature lolly bag in hand) feeling five years old again.
Situated within a thriving Brisbane retail enclave, where you'll also find the popular brunch eatery Pearl Café, antique stores and some lovely boutiques, Five Sugars is just plain sweet.
Five Sugars Espresso and Sweets, 37 Logan Road, Woolloongabba.
Girl With a Satchel