Coffee can be big business, especially in the United States. If you're interested in breaking into those profits, you'll want to make sure your coffee shop equipment essentials are covered. According to The National Coffee Association, 64 percent of Americans drink coffee. In addition, the coffee industry is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 5.5 percent, according to Michigan State University. If you have a love for the coffee shop and a dream to own a business, opening up your own coffee shop might be a smart plan. Of course, building a business takes hard work. To help you on your journey, we’ve put together a guide on the equipment you need when opening your coffee shop.
Coffee Shop Equipment: What You Need
If you’ve got coffee beans, you need a coffee grinder. There’s no way around it. A coffee grinder is one of the most important parts of making good coffee. Why? Because even with good, quality coffee beans, the right grinder can make a difference in how well the coffee is brewed. Finding the right coffee grinder can be a challenge. After all, the grinder is how you get the most out of your coffee beans — making the coffee you serve to customers flavorful and strong. There are two different types of grinders: burr and blade. It’s recommended by coffee supplier Tradecraft to get an automatic burr grinder as part of your coffee shop equipment. Burr grinders are consistent when brewing to perfectly penetrate the coffee beans. Blade grinders are not.
When selecting a coffee brewer, think about how much coffee you want to produce. You can get a manual brewer such as a pour over or French press for small amounts of coffee. But if you plan on serving coffee to many customers at once, you will want a batch brewer to produce coffee in large volumes. The right batch brewer will do a fantastic job keeping up with customer demand. A quality batch brewer also produces a good cup of coffee consistently. And consistency is necessary for a coffee shop business to keep customers coming back. A note on brewers: water quality is a big deal, according to Perfect Daily Grind. One thing you can do to improve your water is filter it. To go a step further, you can test your local water and consider investing in a softening system.
How Do You Choose the Right Espresso Machine?
Another item on the list is an espresso machine. It’s a main part of your coffee shop equipment and one of your biggest investments. Basically, an espresso machine is a must-have if you’re serving coffee drinks. Because of this, you want to ensure you choose the right one. When deciding on an espresso machine, start by knowing what type of espresso machine you want to buy… There are four types of espresso machines: manual, semi-automatic, automatic, and super automatic.
A Look at the Four Types of Espresso Machines
Manual espresso machines give you complete control of every part of the brewing process. Although manual brewers take the most effort for an espresso shot, it’s argued that you’ll get the best tasting espresso out of the four types of machines.
The second type of machine is a semi-automatic. It’s the best espresso machine for giving you control to decide when the shot is done. This machine gives you the best of both the manual and automatic machines.
The third type is an automatic machine, which controls the brew time. Although the automatic machine completely automates the brewing process, you still need to grind and tamp your own beans. These machines tend to be used in coffee shops.
There’s also the fourth type, the super-automatic option. This machine does almost everything for you. In addition to the type of espresso machine, consider other factors when making your decision, like the size of the machine — how much space do you have? Make sure the espresso machine fits in its designated space.
How Do You Choose the Right Equipment?
With all of the possible equipment you could buy and the many brands out there to choose from, how do you know exactly what to buy? First, before you start buying coffee shop equipment, make sure you know what drinks you’re doing to serve. This will keep you from buying equipment you simply do not need. For example, will you serve food or coffee drinks only? If it’s just coffee, then you will not need equipment for food. Do not waste money on equipment that will never get used. In addition, you want to strongly consider the quality of the equipment before you purchase. Source equipment that will produce great tasting beverage products. Customers are going to know if you do not have good equipment because they’ll taste it in their drink, and that will negatively affect their experience. While the equipment should be of high quality, make sure to stick within your budget. This is again why it’s important to only buy equipment you need. Some top-of-the line coffee shop equipment brands you can start your research with include:
Coffee Grinders: Mazzer, Bunn
Espresso Machines: Modbar, La Marzocco, Nuova Simonelli
Batch Brewers: Curtis and Fetco
What Else Do You Need?
Cold Brew Kegs
The cold brew coffee market will be worth $1.63 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research. That’s why cold brew on tap is necessary to keep ahead of customer demands. A keg keeps cold brew fresh until you’ve served every last drop, which is why one belongs in your coffee shop!
Mugs, To-Go Cups, and a Commercial Refrigerator
It might be obvious, but you need mugs to serve your coffee. Customers enjoy the experience of drinking their coffee from a real mug and not just a to-go cup.But for the customers who take their coffee on the run, you will need to-go cups in addition to mugs. Consider purchasing compostable coffee containers to be environmentally friendly. You also need a refrigerator to store a variety of items like milk and milk substitutes to satisfy today’s coffee drinker. The refrigerator should help keep things organized and be easily accessible to your baristas when they quickly need milk.
Make Sure Your Coffee Shop Runs Smoothly with a POS System
You can have the best-tasting coffee drinks in your town, but if you don’t have the right point of sale (POS) system, it won’t matter. This is another important piece of equipment you need for your coffee shop. A coffee shop POS system gives customers flexible payment options and a fast checkout. Plus, it helps you better understand your business with information like knowing what coffee drinks are your bestsellers.
The content in this post was written by Megan Wenzl, a guest contributor to Revel's blog. Here's more about Megan:
Megan is a writer and marketer based in Chicago. She is committed to finding useful information to help businesses succeed. Megan holds an M.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago.