Coffee Shop Equipment Shopping List - What to know!
You did your extensive research and have a great business plan, a great location, and the perfect name with an awesome logo. Now it's time to purchase equipment for your coffee shop but you're unsure of where to start. We recommend purchasing your espresso machine and espresso grinder at least 2 months in advance of your planned opening.
Even though requirements will vary from business to business, we've developed a comprehensive coffee shop equipment list to get you started.
To give you an idea of the equipment needed when opening a coffee shop or small cafe, take a look at the information below:
Coffee and Espresso Machines plus other coffee house supplies
The first step for any coffee shop is sourcing coffee beans that will give your drinks the distinct, fresh flavor that will define your brand.
The second step is choosing an espresso machine that allows you to transform those beans into lattes, mochas, cappuccinos, and other specialty drinks. In other words, the money makers! These espresso-based drinks will not only draw in customers, but they will boost your revenue more than selling cup after cup of plain, black coffee. While there is used equipment for sale, buying a new espresso machine is recommended since this will be the workhorse of your coffee shop. Buying used equipment is risky and can make or break your business and reputation. You need a RELIABLE machine with a good warranty.
The espresso grinder (different from your regular coffee grinder) is probably the most important piece of equipment aside from your espresso machine. Your espresso machine is only as good as your grinder and vise versa, so make sure you purchase a GOOD espresso grinder. We recommend the on-demand grinders (such as the Simonelli MDXS or MDJ on demand) rather than the "doser" type grinders for a fresher grind and easier maintenance.
Grinding beans even 10 minutes prior to brewing can result in a noticeable decline in the flavor. A fresher grind gives you access to the rich oils and soluble particles that create the distinct taste and aroma of different brews. Espresso grinders are designed to make the ultra-fine grind that espresso machines require to work properly and consistantly.
A single grinder for both regular and decaf drip coffee can generally keep up in a small to medium volume shop. You may want to consider 2 coffee grinders for a high volume shop.
A double coffee brewer should be sufficient for the average coffee shop. Automatic brewers, pourover coffee machines, and coffee urns are a few of the many ways to brew and serve coffee.
Our most popular model is the Fetco CBS-2132XTS and built in the USA!
Decanters, Airpots, and Satellite Servers
Coffee often brews into glass decanters (which we do not recommend) but there are also airpot and satellite brewers which brew into vessels that can keep coffee hotter for longer. These are great options for a self-serve station.
Frappe and Smoothie Blenders
A blender with a sound shield is necessary so you can make frozen espresso-based drinks like iced lattes, frappes, and fruit smoothies.
A sound shield allows you to use the blender without disturbing the ambiance at your business, which is especially important for small operations where there is little separation between the drink prep area and the seating area. A high speed blender is recommended for a smoother consistency and faster service.
We recommend the Blendtec Stealth blender. It's the worlds quietest blender and built in the USA!
Iced Tea Brewers and Dispensers
From traditional iced tea to unsweetened lemon tea to southern sweet tea, iced tea is a classic drink that customers love to sip in the summertime. You can purchase an independent tea brewer dedicated to this type of beverage, but depending on the size of your coffee shop, you may also want to look into combination coffee and tea brewers to save on counter space. Once you've made tea, there are plenty of dispenser options to choose from as well.
Hot Water Dispenser
Although many coffee machines come with a built-in hot water faucet, a standalone hot water dispenser can increase your volume of boiling water and even clear up traffic jams caused by someone trying to make coffee and fill multiple mugs with hot water for tea at the same time. Since hot water is also used for many cleaning tasks, having hot water at the pull of a lever can also cut down on the time it takes to perform routine cleaning throughout the day.
Barista Tools / Espresso Tampers
An espresso tamper is a small handheld tool that is used to compress ground espresso beans into the portafilter basket before brewing. Tamping the ground beans is a crucial part of producing the perfect shot of espresso because it ensures that the grounds are packed evenly inside the basket. Some tampers, such as the Decent tamper, is calibrated to 25 LBS to ensure consistant tamping pressure each time. It's important to make sure that the size of the tamper matches the size of the portafilter baskets on your espresso machine. For example, all Nuova Simonelli machines have a 58mm basket. Your tamper should also be within .5mm of 58mm to fit the basket properly.
Necessary for making specialty drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, frothing pitchers are used in conjunction with the steam wand on your espresso machine to steam and froth the milk that is added to the shot of espresso during the drink-making process. The convenient spout on the pitcher also allows your baristas to get creative while adding the milk to the espresso by making artful "latte art" designs in the cup.
Having a knock box on hand to collect spent espresso pucks keeps wet and heavy grounds out of your trash can. A knock box has a bar across the middle so you can easily knock grounds out of the portafilter basket for easy disposal at the end of the day.
Frothing thermometers in particular are a great choice for a cafe because they are specially designed to attach to frothing pitchers to aid in precise temperature monitoring.
Selling coffee means offering plenty of extras like sugar packets and creamers, and adding a condiment caddy to your business will keep your countertop organized. The amount of available counter space in your coffee shop will help you determine the size of the organizer, or you can invest in small sugar caddies to place on each table.
Coffee and Espresso
Used as a base for many specialty coffee drinks, high quality espresso has a thicker consistency and a higher concentration of caffeine than regular coffee, which is what gives it its bold flavor. Additionally, regular coffee is a staple in any coffee shop for on-the-go customers, so it's a good idea to have several different roasts, or even flavored varieties, on hand.
Coffee Shop Espresso Machine Packages and Barista Training
Purchasing a complete package can save valuble time and money (time is money!)
Java Exotic Imports has many coffee shop packages available for any size of coffee shop. Most of our packages also include Barista Training! We train you on your equipment after the installation! Why travel to train on someone else's equipment away from your location when we can train you at your location? This can save you hundreds of dollars or more on travel and accomodations (and time)!
We work with a few finance companies to help you with your very important purchases to help get you up and running as quickly as possible.
It's as simple as filling out the online application and submitting. Credit decisions are usually in 4 hours or less and there is no obligation to apply!