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.
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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:
Coffee bean grinder
Grinding coffee beans is the first step of the brewing process. So, while it sounds like a simple machine, a coffee bean grinder is a crucial piece of your coffee shop equipment; it can even determine the quality and flavor of your coffee.
You can opt either for a blade grinder or a burr grinder. Just like the name sounds, a blade grinder uses a sharp blade to crush the hard beans so they are ready for brewing. 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.
You might wonder if you need a separate grinder for espresso. An espresso bean is a type of coffee bean that is meant to be ground extra finely. That means espresso beans can be ground in the same machine if your coffee bean grinder has sufficient capabilities. That being said, it’s important not to be frugal with your grinder. If there is a coffee shop equipment item to splurge on, this is the one.
You might hear about gourmet coffee trends and want to purchase fancy coffee shop equipment. But 35 percent of coffee drinkers still prefer black coffee with no frills. To serve over a third of the population, you need to invest in a standard commercial coffee brewer.
Depending on your clientele and concept, you can 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.
(And be sure to order the right cleaning supplies for your particular coffee brewer. Machines get messy and produce a film or residue that prevents you from serving your best-quality coffee.)
Countertop condiments and organization materials
Most cafes have an area where customers can customize their drinks by adding milk, sugar, cinnamon, and other additives. All of these materials should be included on your coffee shop equipment list.
Think about the condiments you want to offer to your customers. This can be a variety of spices, milks, syrups, and sweeteners that add additional flavor to coffee. These materials need to be displayed in a way that keeps the countertop organized and clean.
Other supplies to think about buying include coffee stirrers, lids, takeout cup containers, coffee cup sleeves, and napkins.
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.
It’s important to invest in some sort of display so people know what you offer and if there are special promotions. Many cafes have chalkboards over their front counter with a handwritten description of the basic and specialty drinks available. It’s a small element of your coffee shop marketing plan.
POS system and related hardware
Being able to make the best coffee around is important, but accepting payments is the only way to keep your company afloat. This makes your payment processing solution a crucial component of your coffee shop equipment.
Investing in an POS system specifically for coffee shops is extremely beneficial when you first start out. Look for software that lets you print ticket or order stubs to streamline production, easily add items to your menu, and customize tipping, among other things.
With the right coffee POS software you can effectively manage your inventory and get alerts when certain stock levels are low. It can also collect sales data so you can determine your most popular products, the busiest time for your business, and your sales growth patterns from the previous weeks using business analytics. All of this information can help you better manage the day-to-day operations of your coffee shop.
Financing your coffee shop equipment
Once you have a prioritized list of all the coffee shop equipment you need, you may start thinking 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 are considering applying for additional business funding, here are three things to look for:
- A quick application process with a short waiting period
- Fast funding (once you’re approved for a small business loan) so you can hit the ground running
- A simple payback system with automatic deductions that best fit your business model, profitability, and current financial situation
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 using business financing opportunities makes sense for you to purchase coffee shop equipment, grow your business, or increase your profitability.