Q&A: Series: Meet Debra Ball, Co-Owner of Zume’s

Debra is the co-owner of Zume’s, the beloved coffee shop here in Charlestown. Zume's has been a fixture of the community for almost 12 years, a place to sit and catch up with friends, grab a delicious pastry or sandwich (and, of course, coffee). Debra is person behind the Zume’s Instagram account and often gives us glimpses into her busy day - early morning scenes of the neighborhood that you might not otherwise see. We wanted to interview her to hear about how she makes it all work!

Could you tell us more about how you ended up starting a business in Charlestown?

John owned a flower shop for 20+ years in the spot Zume’s is currently in. He always wanted to open a coffee house so he moved the flower shop next door before Mockingbird was there and started a second business, Zume’s! The store was named after John’s dog. A beautiful Akita. Portrait is hanging above our milk and sugar station. 

What does your typical day look like?

This is a funny question, I don’t think most people know this. We get up between 2-3am to pickup up the donuts and set-up to open at 6am. During the day we are baking, running the daily business, ordering product, picking up product, grocery shopping, restaurant supply stores so many other things as I’m typing this my head is spinning just thinking what we do in a day. Luckily, we have an amazing staff to help us run the day-to-day. When we finally get home there is probably a few other things that we do. It definitely is a lot to run your own business and we definitely enjoy what we do.

You've been in business for almost 12 years, what is the most interesting change you've seen in the community since you've opened?

Yes, going on 12 years! After our building got renovated we saw so much more interest coming to our block and we now have a “destination” stop to visit. 

What is one thing your customers would be surprised to know about Zumes?

We used to have a Swirl Freeze Machine. Frozen yogurt with toppings!

What's your favorite beverage?

We both drink the dark roast coffee. If we were to have coffee of the day it would be that. Lately I’ve been drinking a Iced Superfood Latte with a little vanilla syrup and Oat Milk.