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Meet Umesh and Zillie Bhuju of ZUMI’S in Ipswich

Today we’d like to introduce you to Umesh and Zillie Bhuju.

Umesh and Zillie, please share your story with us. 
Zumi’s is a community coffee house in the heart of downtown Ipswich where people connect and find inspiration each day. The name blends the names of the owners, Zillie and Umesh, and was opened on Valentine’s Day in 2003. This feels quite appropriate because genuine love is at the core of everything Zumi’s stands for.

We opened with an intention to run a business that is a force for good. It starts with how we source our products, ensuring fair and sustainable practices along the supply chain – whether it’s with organic, fair trade coffees, local artisan baked goods, or Massachusetts-made ice cream. It informs how we consider our staff our greatest asset, part of our family, the spirit of the cafe, where their goal is that each customer leaves happier than when they arrived. It impacts our community in that we try to foster important and long lasting connections and relationships that strengthen the community and dozens of philanthropic organizations, individuals, and families within it. It is the founding principal that brings us to consider the environmental impact of everything we do, and choose ways to reduce the negative and increase positive impact of our daily habits on our local and global environment, partnering with local conservation programs, which we see as directly linked to the protection of coffee-growing ecosystems as well. This global interconnection is symbolized in our logo with the oriole, a migratory bird that enjoys part of each year in coffee-growing regions and part of each year in our local forests. It is also why we seek always to inspire people with our rotating local art exhibits, local musicians performing in the cafe, collaboration on service programs and community events, and more.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The first few years were, of course, the hardest in terms of figuring out how to make sure we found the right balance to succeed in our location with our hours (not the same hours you’d find in a bustling city, but what makes sense for a town like Ipswich), our range of product selections (keeping it simple works for us), and our staffing structure (we have been so lucky to have amazing staff!). We expanded our store in 2005 which was a big investment that has been more than worth it. We have often said that we felt from day one that it was as if the community of Ipswich was just waiting for us, and once we opened our doors, they completed the picture and made us who we are – and we couldn’t be happier with what they have built alongside us – through their loyalty, energy, inspiration, and sense of community.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with ZUMI’S – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We specialize in high quality espresso and coffee beverages that are sourced directly from coffee farms with an emphasis on sustainable, organic, and fair trade practices. We also serve incredible artisan baked goods and high-quality ice creams, among other things. In addition to our coffee and espresso drinks, we are especially known for our community engagement, encouraging and positive vibe, art and music, and overall boost to one’s day any day of the week!

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We look forward to continuing all we do and growing and nurturing more amazing staff and customers to keep spreading the Zumi’s Love far beyond our cafe walls (and back deck)! We love to see the ripple effect of inspiration and good will that is generated out of the connections and interactions at our cafe and would love to see that continue. Whether we will open a second cafe elsewhere is yet to be determined, but if we did, the underlying goal would remain the same – that of being successful as a business that is also a force for good both locally and globally.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.


  1. Margaret McMahon

    August 2, 2018 at 12:04 am

    Thank you for sharing the story of Zumi’s and it’s owners Zillie and Umesh, Essex County is lucky to have this gem. The beverages, food, and service is excellent. And so is their welcoming atmosphere and encouragement of local artists.

  2. Umesh Bhuju

    November 27, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    Margaret, we couldn’t do what we do without the support of our customers. Thank you and have a great holiday!

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