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COVID-19 Has Closed One of London’s Most Brilliant Cafes

Busi, whose marriage of quality coffee with lurid aesthetics was unmatched, has left Fitzrovia

The purple coffee machine at Busi Coffee, with cups stacked on top
The purple coffee machine at Busi, which is now closed.
Busi Coffee

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced one of London’s best and most singular coffee shops to close down after two-and-a-half years of brewing. Busi, in Fitzrovia, will no longer pair some of the best beans out there with a psychedelically lurid, primed for Instagram setting — the likes of which, in this city, usually means some pretty terrible coffee is on the way. Busi decisively broke that mould.

Owners Emil Gusey and Anna Tate announced the closure on Instagram, writing that:

Running an owner operated small retail business is always difficult but during the COVID era it has been especially challenging for us to sustain the pressure that beyond our control.

At the end of the day, the shop was a passion project that was meant to bring our design ideas,creativity and quality to our products.Unfortunately we didn’t accomplish many unique and progressive ideas that we have planned but we are at least proud to say that we have been able to accomplish some of them!

Busi opened with April Coffee, a Copenhagen roaster run by Patrik Rolf Karlsson, as its standard-issue coffee supplier, alongside a freezer of extremely rare, fruity, expressive coffees from producer Ninety Plus (named for their scoring 90+ on the standard coffee tasting scoresheet used by most roasters and assessors.) To the uninitiated, this is an extremely baller move. April was later joined by Obadiah, a highly regarded Edinburgh roaster, and Leuchtfeur, from Hamburg, with Busi also serving a range of both beautiful and tasty flavoured lattes, made with pistachio and lavender.

It tapped into the pink and purple, florally arranged aesthetic of the likes of Elan, Peggy Porschen, and other queue it for the ‘gram spots, but made its drinks with a care too often lacking in those places, easily matching the best of London’s best coffee shops and serving roasters that rarely get airtime in the capital. It is a sore loss to the city’s coffee culture.

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