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Cooking Equipment

You may not be offering a four course meal, but these days coffee shops aren’t just for coffee or even just for drinks. Fresh baked goods are a staple of many coffee shops, while breakfast and lunch sandwiches are becoming more and more prominent as well. Light cooking equipment like countertop convection ovens and high speed ovens are a great way to diversify your menu without a huge space or financial investment. These units often don’t require a hood for even greater convenience, but it’s always best to check with local authorities.

Coffee Shop Refrigeration and Warewashing Equipment

  1. Reach-In Refrigerator

We recommend that you invest in a reach-in refrigerator for your back-of-house area where you can store extra milk, drink garnishes, and smoothie ingredients. While a one section reach-in should give you plenty of storage space for beverage-related items, you may want to consider a larger unit if you’re planning to serve food as well.

  1. Undercounteror Worktop Refrigeration

Purchasing in a larger, reach-in refrigerator in your back-of-house area to store extra milk and any other refrigerated menu items is important, but what about the items you’ll need to access frequently? Undercounter or worktop refrigeration units fit directly beneath your drink prep counter to give your baristas easy access to the supplies they need most often. Make sure that you adhere to any side or rear clearance requirements stated by the manufacturer to ensure that your unit runs as efficiently as possible.

  1. Sandwich Prep Table

If you’re offering sandwiches and salads, a small sandwich prep unit is important. These units provide you with a top rail to keep frequently used ingredients like cheese and lettuce close at hand, while the lower cabinet provides additional storage space that allows you to easily refill the top rail. Integrated cutting boards give you plenty of room to assemble your sandwiches and salads.

  1. Ice Machine

Ice is an essential ingredient in smoothies, ice coffees, and other cold specialty drinks—not to mention in sodas or water—so having a reliable ice machine is essential. Machines are available in everything from small undercounter units that install directly beneath your countertop, to larger machines that produce more than 2,000 lb. of ice per day. To learn more about the appropriate size machine for your application, check out our guide on Choosing the Best Commercial Ice Machine

  1. Display Case

Pastries, donuts, croissants, and other baked goods are the perfect snack to enjoy with a rich cup of coffee, so displaying them in a bakery display case right by your checkout gives you maximum marketing potential and increases impulse sales of these sweet treats. Bakery cases come in all shapes and sizes, as well as in refrigerated and dry versions. Consider what and how much you’re planning to serve before purchasing a unit for your coffee shop. For the best of both worlds, you might also consider a Dual Service Display Case where you can hold desserts, bagels, and breads in one compartment, while a self-service compartment keeps drinks and other grab-and-go items chilled.

  1. Underbar Sink

An underbar sink fits directly under your counter and gives your baristas a convenient, efficient space where they can wash small hand tools, dump the remaining liquid from used mugs, and wash their hands. Many underbar units also come with drainboards that can be used to dry drinkware and other smallwares items. If you don’t have the room for an underbar sink, you may want to consider an espresso bar that is outfitted with a pitcher rinser and/or dipping wells to offset the need for an actual sink.

  1. 3-Compartment Sink

Primarily for use in your back-of-house area, a 3-compartment sink is great for a number of tasks, from washing and sanitizing dishes to cleaning fresh fruits that will later be prepped and blended into smoothies. Bowl depths and type can vary from sink to sink, and you’ll want to consider the type of faucet that will best suit your needs as well. For example, do you need a pre-rinse faucet for spraying down heavily soiled dishes or will a simple deck mount swing faucet do the trick? Most 3-compartment sinks come without a faucet attached, so you can purchase your ideal faucet and ensure the proper fit with your sink.

  1. Dishwasher

Depending on your business’s volume, a 3-compartment sink may take care of all of your dishwashing needs. However, purchasing a dish machine is another option. Undercounter dish machines are small, compact units (about the size of a residential unit) that can process up to 35 racks of dishes per hour. For many cafes, an undercounter dish machine will be able to handle the volume of soiled dishes being returned to the kitchen. If noise in your front-of-house area is a concern or you believe an undercounter dish machine won’t be large enough, a single rack dish machine may be a better choice. Check out our dishwasher sizing guide for more information!

Coffee Smallwares and Beverageware

  1. 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. The majority of tampers are made of metal, and some come with decorative handles for a customized feel. It’s important to make sure that the size of the tamper matches the size of the portafilter baskets on your espresso machine.

  1. Frothing Pitchers

Necessary for making specialty drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, frothing pitchers are used in conjunction with the steam wand on your espresso machine to foam 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 designs in the cup

  1. Knock Boxes

Having a knock box on hand to collect spent coffee and espresso grounds keeps wet, 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 and basket for easy disposal at the end of the day.

  1. Measuring Cups and Spoons

Having the right amount of every ingredient is crucial, so make sure you purchase plenty of measuring cups and spoons. Some manufacturers even make measuring scoops specifically for coffee applications.

  1. Scales

Scales are important for portioning out ingredients or bulk coffees to bag and sell. A simple electronic scale or mechanical portion control scale will work for most small coffee shops.

  1. Syrup Pumps

Quality syrup pumps keep your flavoring syrups flowing and are designed to dispense a certain amount of syrup with one pump, so you can make consistent drinks every time. It also helps you better manage your inventory.

  1. Frothing Thermometers

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

  1. Timers

Timers are useful when your employees have to prepare multiple drinks at once. They can also be used to monitor how long ago a particular coffee was brewed and alert you when it’s time to brew a fresh pot. If you need to time many different things at the same time, look into a timer that can be programmed to keep track of several different “events” at once.

  1. Coffee Mugs and Tea Cups

While many customers will take their coffee to go, others will prefer to sit in your coffee shop as they peruse a book or browse on the free wifi. It’s these customers who will expect their Americanos and lattes to be served in real, honest-to-goodness mugs. Sizes, shapes, and colors of mugs vary, but having the right amount on hand is the key.

  1. Espresso Cups

Smaller than traditional mugs, espresso cups are designed to hold a 1 oz. shot of espresso or a 2 oz. double shot for customers who need an extra caffeine boost to get them through a late night of studying or an afternoon slump.

  1. Tea Ball Infusers and Lemon Wedge Bags

Designed to infuse delicious flavors into beverages without leaving any debris behind, these tea accessories will be a hit with tea drinkers who prefer loose leaf tea to bags. Plus, tea ball infusers allow you to serve loose leaf tea to your customers so they can steep their tea to their own tastes.

  1. Dinnerware

Your dinnerware needs will vary greatly depending on the scope of the food you’re planning to sell and the atmosphere you would like to establish in your coffee shop. Each type of material from china to melamine or wood has its benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to do your research and consider your menu before deciding what to buy.

  1. Sugar Pourers

Simple and easy to use, sugar pourers let customers add their own sweetness to their drinks and can be refilled easily when they get low. While you can place a sugar pourer at every table, another option is to have a central location where customers can access sugar and other condiments before they sit down or head out the door.

  1. Creamers

Everyone takes their coffee differently, and putting fresh cream at your condiment station or on the table is sure to win over even your most particular customers. Creamers come in all different capacities and materials so you can find the right style to match your coffee shop’s image.


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