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Essential Coffee Shop Equipment List
Complex coffee and espresso drinks and delicate latte art required skilled baristas and specialty machines. Outfit your coffee shop with the right equipment for your business and budget.
Espresso machines and coffee brewers are some of your biggest investments, and maintaining them is key. As a part of your coffee shop’s business plan, use this equipment guide to list essentials for your operations and restaurant equipment budget.
What Equipment Do You Need In a Coffee Shop
Whipping up gorgeous lattes and frothy cappuccinos requires specialized commercial equipment. Start your shopping list here.
- Coffee brewing equipment
- Espresso machine
- Drip brewer
- Pour over equipment
- Cold brew toddy
- Coffee bar accessories
- Freezers and refrigerators
- Food and coffee prep surfaces
- Prep equipment
- Cutting boards
- Pots and pans
- Mixing bowls
- Food processors
- Storage and shelving
- Safety equipment
- First aid kit
- Date labels
- Bar rags
- Food grade detergents
- Chemical safety data sheets
- Compartment sinks
- Disposal sinks
- Handwashing sinks
- Restaurant point of sale system
- Kitchen display system (KDS)
- Paper cups and take-out plates
- Napkins or linens
Are you imagining a cozy, busy coffee shop or a minimal, elegant ambiance? Define your coffee shop visions and help make them come true with this business plan template.
How much does equipment for a coffee shop cost
Opening a coffee shop can cost about $80,000-$300,000 according to industry leader Crimson Cup. The wide investment range reflects the variety of coffee shop business models, from indie third wave shops to massive franchises. To keep your budget in check, it can be helpful to explore restaurant financing options.
Whether you’re opening a new restaurant, expanding your concept, or renovating within your existing four-walls, you’re going to need capital to make it all happen.
Things to consider before buying coffee shop
Equipment is crucial to coffee quality, and investing in the right pieces is critical to the success of your business. Decide which pieces to prioritize and which you might compromise on when building a budget.
The quality of your equipment can directly impact the quality of your coffee. Consider the best possible investments for your coffee shop and select pieces that are fine-tuned and durable.
Even the best baristas can’t work on a cramped bar. As you choose equipment for your coffee shop, think about how they’ll fit into the space you’ve designed.
3. Planning Your Kitchen
Work with your head barista or a professional kitchen planner to determine the layout of your equipment. This will ensure that your coffee shop runs smoothly and efficiently.
4. Use and Cleaning
Espresso machines and coffee brewers require regular maintenance. Train your staff to clean equipment properly so that it stays in top condition, and forge a relationship with a skilled espresso machine technician. Look out for the NSF symbol on food equipment, which ensures that they meet food safety certification standards.
Many towns and cities have local restaurant supply stores that offer premium ranges of commercial equipment at near-wholesale prices. The best suppliers will be honest about the technology and safety of the products they sell and provide everything you need – installation, maintenance, and repairs.
Sourcing Restaurant Equipment
Once you have a comprehensive list and a vision of your fully-equipped coffee shop, start shopping around. Local restaurant wholesalers often have good deals, or you might lease from a reputable online retailer or rent equipment until you can afford to invest.
New vs. Used Equipment
It may be a good bet to buy used equipment when it comes to expensive and essential pieces. Look for an oven or deep freezer that has been well maintained over the years–you’ll save a lot up front on your venture.
Are you envisioning a grab-and-go spot or a cozy neighborhood coffee shop? Decide which equipment to prioritize based on your business model – splurge on the espresso machine to attract commuting hipsters or focus on ovens for your grandma’s baked good recipes.
7. Financing or Leasing
Financing or leasing equipment can be a good option, so you take on less risk until you’re sure your business model will succeed. Lease payments can be tax-deductible just like equipment purchases, and allow you to be financially liquid.
Ultimate coffee shop equipment checklist
1. Coffee brewing equipment
This is the heart of your shop and one of the primary investments you’ll make. Choose equipment that lets you deliver quality coffee and espresso drinks.
Espresso machines brew finely ground coffee under about 9 bars of pressure, and their steam reserves are perfect for steaming milk to for beautiful cappuccinos and lattes. This specialized function comes at a specialized price, and requires maintenance to stay in excellent working condition.
Drip coffee is a profit leader for many coffee shops. Invest in a high quality commercial brewer, consider attachments to ensure optimum water distribution, and spring for insulated coffee tanks that keep coffee fresh for hours.
Coffee grinders are notoriously inconsistent and difficult to maintain. Conical burr grinders, which contain a pair of gears that crush rather than cut roasted coffee, are preferred to blade grinders for their consistency. Cleaning built-up grounds and oils from coffee grinders is crucial for their longevity.
Pour over coffee methods are popular because of the control they afford over the brewing process. Ceramic and glass V60 sets and classic Chemex pour overs are the two top contenders in most specialty coffee shops. They’re inexpensive but fragile, so should be handled with care.
Cold brew toddy or keg taps
Cold brew and iced coffee are staples of coffee shop menus. Brew your own cold brew with a toddy system, including a fine mesh filter bag and a bucket with a spout. Some coffee shops source iced coffee and cold brew in kegs delivered by local roasters.
While they can be expensive, commercial blenders are reliable and powerful machines that will allow your baristas to produce smoothies and frozen coffee creations.
2. Coffee bar accessories
Steam pitchers, bar spoons, espresso shot glasses, scales, water kettles, whisks, espresso tamps, and all the rest – these little necessities needed to craft drinks adds up. Invest in quality accessories just as you would the rest of your equipment.
3. Ovens, Ranges, and Grills
If you plan to offer food at your coffee shop, consider investing in commercial grade cooking surfaces and ovens. Induction burners are great space-savers if you plan to purchase a larger commercial convection oven. Grills are great for finishing sandwiches and burritos—grab-and-go fare that’s common in coffee shops.
Food prep spaces inevitably get steamy. Consider the size of your kitchen and ensure your ventilation system has enough power to keep smoke and hot air out.
Great for reheating or quickly steaming, microwaves are powerful kitchen tools that coffee shops often rely on to heat pastries.
6. Freezers and refrigerators
Dairy and dairy alternatives require considerable commercial freezer and refrigeration space. A walk-in cooler unit might be advisable, but some small coffee shops operate with several large coolers instead.
Refrigerators and freezers can last a long time if cleaned and maintained properly. The intake and exhaust of units get clogged with dust if not cleaned regularly…and grinding coffee makes coffee shops extra dusty.
An ice maker is essential for making cold drinks. Clean and maintain your ice maker, avoid contaminating ice with spilled liquid or broken glassware, and know how to properly clean the machine if you accidentally do.
7. Food (and coffee) prep surfaces
You need good counter space for baristas and cooks to work. Stainless steel, poured concrete, wood, and granite are all popular in kitchens because they’re durable and easy to sanitize.
8. Prep equipment
Small appliances, utensils, mixing bowls, etc. are all necessary for prep.
A good chef and her knife move as one – invest in a great set and sharpening stone, to keep them honed for safety, efficiency and durability.
Quality cutting boards make a noticeable difference in the prep experience. Favorites include boards with lips around the edge to contain liquid, or boards with handles for easy maneuvering.
Pots and pans
While you may only need saucepans for making syrups and chai concentrate, it’s still good to invest in quality pieces.
Mixing bowls come in a variety of materials; plastic, stainless, ceramic, or glass. Decide which combination works for you.
Food processors ensure that your sauces are smooth and that you can get an even mince in minutes.
Stand mixers take the hard work out of making large batches of cookie dough and brownie batter.
Storage and shelving
Storing coffee in the proper way and at the proper time is crucial in coffee shops. Most specialty coffee packaging is nitrogen flushed and sealed with a valve, so that carbon dioxide can escape the bag. For long-term storage, place air and light-proof containers in a cool, dry spot. It’s good to let coffee breathe and oxidize a bit.
This is probably the most important category – the rest! Coffee filters, spoons, shakers, mixing cups…etc. etc. etc. The little things add up. So it’s crucial to plan and budget for them and buy backups.
9. Safety equipment
All restaurants are held to food safety standards and must have certain equipment on hand, such as:
- First aid kits
- Date labels
- Bar rags
- Food grade detergents
- Chemical safety data sheets
Three compartment sinks are a common way to meet food safety standards for washing and sanitizing cutlery, service ware, and kitchen equipment.
Disposal sinks (or bar sinks) are conveniently located to catch waste liquid. Another good option for a coffee bar is a rinser, that will easily clean pitcher and shot glasses.
Dedicated handwashing sinks must be available in a kitchen space or on the coffee bar, so that employees can maintain safe food handling standards. Handwashing sinks should be available in restrooms as well.
Restaurant point of sale systems provide a way to integrate inventory management, budgets, sales reports, and communication between the front- and back-of-house. They keep everything running smoothly with cutting-edge interfaces.
Kitchen display systems let your baristas know what customers are ordering in real time. Your KDS also sends orders to cashiers from the bar. They’re integrated with your point-of-sale system to maintain smooth, efficient service.
Choose glassware, cutlery and dishes that are durable, but also capture the vibe and ambiance of your coffee shop. You’ll want paper boats or clamshells for take-out services. Utensils are an obvious need…just remember plastic cutlery adds up and permanent utensils are prone to being lost (or accidentally trashed) by customers and employees. And don’t forget napkins or linens for those coffee spills or crumbly pastries!
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