Essential Coffee Shop Equipment for Your Cafe

Essential Coffee Shop Equipment for Your Cafe
The amount of equipment for your cafe can be overwhelming and make the selection process difficult. Here’s a condensed list of coffee shop equipment you need.
by Square Jan 03, 2024 — 8 min read
Essential Coffee Shop Equipment for Your Cafe

From sleek espresso machines to fancy siphon coffee makers, there is an overwhelming selection of coffee shop equipment. So how do you decide which products to buy? Your menu and concept largely determine your coffee equipment needs, so it’s important to develop your business plan and create a budget before you decide to spend.

Before you open your coffee shop, ensure that you have the basics in place to keep operations running smoothly. Here’s a list of the coffee shop equipment you’ll need.

Coffee shop equipment list

While some niche coffee shop equipment can be forgone at the beginning, every owner needs to invest in these essential materials when first starting a coffee shop:


Espresso machine and espresso grinder: An espresso machine and grinder should be your top priorities. Investing in high-quality equipment that can ground beans extra fine helps to ensure consistent extraction and rich cream with each pull.

Regular coffee grinder: A dedicated grinder for regular coffee is a must for brewing different types of coffee drinks. The grinder itself can determine the quality and flavor of your coffee. Decide whether you want to invest in a blade grinder or a burr grinder.

Blade grinder: Just like the name sounds, a blade grinder uses a sharp blade to crush the hard beans so they are ready for brewing.

Burr grinder: A burr grinder is made of two abrasive burr surfaces that grind a few beans at a time. Baristas have more control over the grinding process with burr grinders, which grind more uniformly.

Coffee brewers

Brewing coffee for a high-traffic shop needs to be an efficient and dependable process. Depending on your coffee shop’s needs, you may either invest in an automated coffee brewer or a manual pour over.

Automated coffee brewers usually allow you to make multiple cups of coffee at once. This might be great from a production standpoint, but baristas have less control over the process and flavor of their product. Manual brewing machines take more time, but they allow baristas to control the brewing process and create custom drinks for each customer.

Decanter, satellite servers, airpots

Maintaining temperature and freshness of your brewed coffee throughout the day is essential. Decanters, satellite servers, and airpots ensure that your coffee stays fresh and allow you to have self-serve options for your customers.

Hot water dispensers

For the tea lovers who stop in to your coffee shop, you’ll want a hot water dispenser to have the right temperature of water available consistently for steeping a perfect cup of tea.

Cold brew toddy system or keg tap

Looking to keep up with the trend of nitro coffee and cold brews? Cold brew toddy systems or keg taps allow you to serve smooth, refreshing options of these increasingly popular coffee drinks.

Smoothie and frappe blenders

If your menu expands into smoothies or frappe drinks, high-performance blenders make all the difference. Focus on blenders that ensure a creamy consistency and blend quickly to keep up with demand.

Coffee roasters

For the coffee shop owner who wants to roast their own beans, a coffee roaster can be a significant investment. A coffee roaster allows you to control the roast profile of your beans, giving you a unique flavor profile for your drinks.

Iced tea brewers and dispensers

Quench your customers’ thirst with a refreshing iced tea. This is an easy drink option to batch steep, to store in dispensers, and to serve quickly.

Automatic drip coffee maker

Making the coffee brewing process easier for your staff, an automatic drip coffee maker ensures that your coffee offerings remain consistent, even during peak hours.

Pour-over sets

Offering the experience and craftsmanship of a pour-over coffee can set your cafe apart. A good pour-over set helps your staff craft an exceptional cup of flavorful coffee.

Ventilation system

Brewing and steaming while you prepare your coffee drinks can produce odors and steam behind your counter. A proper ventilation system helps your coffee shop remain comfortable for your customers and baristas.

Refrigerators, freezers

Invest in refrigerators and freezers that will maintain the freshness of your perishables and comply with health safety standards.

Ice machine

All frappes, smoothies, and iced drinks need ice. You’ll want ice on hand and quickly when keeping up with demand for your drink offerings. A proper ice machine that can handle your cafe’s needs makes sure you can serve your best cold drinks.

Mixer and mixing bowls

If you’re preparing baked food items in-house, a high-quality commercial mixer is essential. Whether you’re whipping up doughs or batters, make baking easy by having a variety of mixing bowls to suit all your needs.

Food equipment

Light cooking equipment

Light cooking equipment allows for easy preparation of a quick meal. Tools such as countertop convection ovens, high-speed ovens, toasters, microwaves, and grills let your staff warm, toast, grill, and bake your food offerings with efficiency.

Shelving and storage system

Any efficient cafe can attest to organization being a contributing factor to success. Investing in clean shelving and storage systems optimizes your space and keeps ingredients, utensils, and equipment accessible for your staff.

Prep surfaces

Durable and hygienic prep surfaces are a must for any cafe that offers food items. Choose from a variety of materials such as granite, stainless steel, wood, or poured concrete.

Display case

It’s important to display food items so your customers see them before they get to the register. Choose a display case that complements your cafe’s aesthetics while keeping your food items fresh.


A commercial-grade dishwasher handles dishes, glasses, utensils, and food prep items to ensure that your staff doesn’t run out of serving tools mid-shift. It also provides a clean eating experience for your customers.

Food processor

From dicing to pureeing, a food processor is a versatile tool that expedites your food preparation.


Your dishes, mugs, and utensils should reflect the aesthetic of your coffee shop and your branding. Attention to detail in dishware contributes to the overall experience for your customers.

Barista equipment

Frothing thermometers, syrup pumps, whisks

Frothing thermometers, syrup pumps, and whisks are essential barista tools to create the best coffee drinks. They ensure precision and consistency, and they can take each of your drinks to the next level.

Portion scales

Portion scales are essential. Each shot of espresso, every scoop of coffee, and all ingredients can be measured precisely and consistently to hit the mark for customers.

Gloves, aprons, bar rags

Your coffee shop baristas stay clean while adhering to hygiene standards with gloves, aprons, and bar rags to keep their work areas tidy.

Date labels, first-aid kits, sani buckets

For sanitation purposes, ensure that you have all the right necessities. Date labels ensure the freshness of your ingredients, first-aid kits prioritize safety for your staff and customers, and sani buckets keep cleaning solutions handy to maintain a clean atmosphere.

Lemon wedge bags, tea ball infusers, measuring spoons and cups, espresso shot glasses, water kettles, knock boxes, espresso tampers

Different tools cater to the artistry and precision of a barista’s job. Items such as lemon wedge bags or tea ball infusers add a twist of flavor to drinks. Measuring spoons, espresso shot glasses, water kettle, knock boxes, and espresso tampers are necessary for baristas to make a variety of coffee drinks.

Food grade detergents, cutting boards, knives, sinks

For food prep, clean cutting boards, and sharpened knives allow your staff to work more efficiently and ensure safety during menu preparations. To keep clean, food grade detergents and sinks, such as the handwashing sink, the disposal sink, and the compartment sink, are requirements.

Essential coffee shop ingredients

Coffee and espresso

Stock up on an array of high-quality roasts and flavored varieties to cater to the diverse tastes of your customers.


As milk alternatives continue to gain popularity, it’s important to have offerings like almond or coconut milk to give your customers options according to their needs or preferences.

Teabags, hot chocolate, chai

For the non-coffee drinkers, offer different teas, hot chocolate, chai, or matcha options to widen your target audience.

Syrups and sweeteners

Add in extra flavoring and sweetener options to your menu to elevate your current drink offerings and give your customers the ability to customize each order.

Additional cafe accessories

Sugar pourers, creamers

Aesthetically designed sugar pourers or creamer cups can be inviting to customers to adjust their coffee drink to their likings.

Espresso cups, coffee mugs, teacups

Your coffee mugs are an essential piece of coffee shop equipment. They should represent your concept and add to the ambiance of your cafe. From plastic to glass, simple to formal, there is an array of coffee cup styles to choose from. Talk to wholesale vendors about your coffee cup needs and order in bulk to be cost efficient.

Coffee filters

Select high-quality coffee filters that allow a clean and smooth extraction for the flavors of the coffee to shine through.

Disposable coffee shop equipment

Takeout cup carriers, to-go boxes, curbside pickup equipment

Ensure that customers can transport their food and drinks easily with convenient takeout containers.

Straws, stirrers, coffee sleeves

Give your customers whatever they need to make their drinks more comfortable to consume, such as straws, stirrers, or coffee sleeves.

Plastic lids and cups, paper hot cups and lids

For cold and hot beverages, provide durable and leak-proof lids and cups that work best for the temperature of drink you offer.

Cleaning utensils

Espresso equipment cleaners, coffee pot cleaners, coffee equipment cleaners

To maintain the hygiene of and ensure the longevity of your coffee shop equipment investment, choose cleaning solutions designed to dissolve coffee residues and oils.

Beverage equipment cleaning tools

Milk residue buildup can be difficult, so get the correct beverage equipment cleaning tools, such as a milk froth and/or steam wand cleaner. Buy cleaners that are specifically formulated to remove milk products.

Water filters to clean hot beverage equipment

Aside from quality beans, water is the next most important ingredient for your drinks. Regularly replace and maintain water filters to keep the water pure, guaranteeing a higher-quality taste for each drink.

Espresso machine maintenance kit

Since an espresso machine can be a significant investment, an espresso machine maintenance kit keeps the equipment operating smoothly and extends its lifespan.

Security system

Protect your valuable coffee shop equipment investment with a reliable security system. Guard your bottom line with a system that deters theft, that provides peace of mind, and that ensures that you can keep your doors open.

Powerful and intuitive software

Investing in software for your point-of-sale system, website, marketing, and sales solutions can make the checkout experience pleasant for your customers. A point-of-sale system such as Square POS software encourages fast transactions, can help maximize turnover, and gives you more time back to serve more customers.

Once you’re up and running and ready to take payments, it’s time to raise awareness for your coffee shop. A website that is user-friendly, that can take online orders, and that sells retail products, like one you can build with Square Online, helps new customers find out more about your coffee shop and your offerings. Along with a website, it’s important to market your coffee shop. Marketing software such as Square Marketing can make it easy to nurture customers wherever they are via email or text.

Once your customers are in the door, create the best experience for them. A loyalty program, such as one you can create with Square Loyalty, will reward your customers with discounts and free menu items. To ensure the order preparation process is well-coordinated, you’ll want a kitchen display system, which you can find with Square for Restaurants, that is easy to use for all staff.

Financing your coffee shop equipment

Once you have a prioritized list of all the coffee shop equipment you need, you may start to think about how to finance all of it. Small-business loans can be a great way to help cover equipment costs for your coffee shop. If you consider applying for additional business funding, here are three things to look for:

Many business owners worry about not being approved for a small-business loan, but there are strategies to improve your chances of getting a loan. Don’t let that fear keep you from exploring your options; you should consider whether it makes sense to use business financing opportunities to purchase coffee shop equipment, to grow your business, or to increase your profitability.

Estimates for how much coffee shop equipment could cost range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

What to consider when buying your coffee shop equipment

Setting up a cafe involves the selection of coffee shop equipment that will likely define your menu offerings and customer experience. As you plan your investments, there are several factors that come into play to ensure that you make the right choices:


Each piece of equipment for your coffee shop plays a crucial role in crafting memorable experiences for your customers. From the perfect cup of coffee to a tasty pastry to an easy-to-use POS system like Square Point of Sale, your equipment choices will set up your coffee shop for success.

The Bottom Line is brought to you by a global team of collaborators who believe that anyone should be able to participate and thrive in the economy.


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