Choosing Coffee Shop Equipment

Little by little, we’ve been choosing and collecting our coffee shop equipment. Our first exciting purchase was our Linea espresso machine, and we’ve slowing been adding smallwares and other coffee brewing methods (like our V60 and Aeropress) to our stash since. Now as we’re approaching the last final months before opening, we’ve been shopping around and purchasing things at a good price. So what kind of equipment goes into opening up a small coffee shop?

Coffee Shop Equipment

Coffee Shop Equipment

Coffee Stuff

  • Espresso machine
  • Grinder- for espresso, and maybe a second for decaf
  • Espresso making smallwares- pitchers, tamper, shot glasses, spoons/foam knife, etc.
  • Coffee brewer w/ airpots
  • Coffee grinder
  • Scales
  • Knock box, pitcher rinser
  • Manual brewing methods with filters, kettles, etc.


  • Refrigerators: undercounter milk, back fridge, drink fridge, maybe a freezer
  • Ice machine
  • Food display case, plates, trays, etc.
  • Dishwasher
  • Food prep: smoothie/juice machine, blender, panini press, oven, microwave, prep table etc.
  • Health Code: prep sink, hand sink, mop sink, 3 group sink, drying racks, etc.

Coffee Shop Equipment

Supplies & Smallwares

  • Serving: cups, mugs, saucers, glasses, plates, silverware; then paper cups, lids, sleeves, napkins, plasticware, stir sticks, etc.
  • Drink/food ingredients: sugar, coffee, tea, chai, syrups, sauces, milk, etc.
  • Drink prep: tongs, bean scoop, ice scoops, sauce/syrup bottles, thermometers, timers, bar towels, sugar/cream dispensers, etc.
  • Food prep: cutting boards, knives, commercial grade storage containers, oven mitts, gloves etc.
  • Cleaning/bathroom: trash cans, towel/soap dispensers, cleaning products


  • POS: system, iPad, stand, cash register
  • Stereo system
  • Back room: storage, shelving, safe, lockers, etc.
  • Signage

Quite a bit of stuff! In the beginning I didn’t know what to expect, but started reading broad articles online, then better lists in coffee shop books (I’ll post sources below). It’s a good starting place for making a budget, then after writing a business plan and using the vision board we refined it to the space.

After the research was done we started working with the architect to get our plans ready. We assembled an equipment plan (how all equipment is lined up in the bar/prep room), with an equipment list and spec sheets for each item. So it’s never to early to get those equipment lists going so you know exactly what you’re using to be prepared. Obviously, your range of equipment will depend on the use and size of your shop, but this is a general start of the basic categories.

Those who have gone before me… please share your input below!
Coffee Shop Equipment

Gilbert, S., Martin, W. E., & Formichelli, L. (2005). The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting And Running A Coffeebar. New York, NY: Penguin Group.
Monaghan, J., & Huffaker, J. S. (1995). Espresso!: Starting and running your own specialty coffee business. New York: Wiley.
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