Checklist: Must-Have Equipment for New Coffee Shops

Opening your own coffee shop will be one of the most exciting experiences of your life. You’ve nailed down a concept, picked a great location, and finalized your business plan.

But do you have everything you need? There’s a lot of stuff to buy. And finding out you forgot to buy a knockbox on opening day can turn into quite the headache.

Our must-have equipment for new coffee shops checklist guarantees you’ll hit the ground running on your first day of business.

That’s why we created this awesome checklist, to help you:

  • Get everything you need to thrive from day one
  • Nail that first impression with your customers
  • Build a sustainable coffee business

Let’s get this right from day one.

Espresso Equipment

Everyone knows a good espresso machine is the workhorse that drives your business, but it’s missing and forgotten accessories that can slow down service and disrupt the customer experience. Here’s everything you need to keep the espresso workflow going.

  • Espresso machine
    • An espresso machine will run you anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000, so it’s important to go over your requirements carefully. Do you need an automatic machine with pre-programmed drink settings? Or semi-automatic that puts your barista in the driving seat as brewing conditions change? We love helping new shops identify the right machine, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
  • Espresso grinder
    • Standard commercial coffee grinders are not equipped to grind fine enough for espresso. Make sure you get a dedicated espresso grinder.
  • Frothing pitchers
  • Frothing thermometer
  • Espresso measuring glass
  • Knockbox
  • Tamp
  • Tamp mat
  • Espresso scale
  • Timers

⭐ Your espresso equipment will be your largest investment into gear, but you don’t have to buy at sticker price. Sign up for a business account to get wholesale pricing on everything you need to run your shop—including your espresso machine.

Batch Brew Coffee Gear

Bach brew coffee is often the primary reason a casual customer becomes a regular. A high-quality batch brewer and grinder will ensure you always have a hot, consistent cup ready to go when a customer walks through the doors.

  • Batch brew coffee maker
  • Batch brew grinder
  • Batch brewer filters
    • Make sure to get the right match for your machine.
  • Thermal pitchers
  • Cold brew batch brewer
    • Before you buy a large cold brewing device, make sure you have room to store the final brew in cold storage. Sometimes two smaller brewers are more realistic with refrigerator space.
  • Cold brew filters

Manual Brewing Gear

Manual brewers show your customers that you and your baristas are willing to put the time and effort into preparing coffee by hand. It can be a signal to some customers that your staff has an atypical attention to detail.

  • Manual coffee brewer
    • Common favorites are the french press, pour over drippers, and AeroPress.
  • Decanters
  • Hot water dispenser
  • Gooseneck kettles
  • Brewer filters

Serverware and Porcelain

You only get one chance at making a first impression. High-quality branded serverware is one of the first things customers will notice when they come into your store. While a great cup of coffee comes first, creating a strong presence is a close second. Make that espresso something they’ll keep coming back for by investing in high-quality and custom serverware.

  • Cups and mugs
    • Make a list of all the drinks you’ll serve and pair them with a cup size. A common cup lineup for a shop might include 2 oz, 4 oz, 6 oz, and 12 oz espresso cups; as well as 10 oz standard coffee mugs. If you will offer tea in a dedicated teacup, don’t forget those as well.
  • Glassware (iced drinks)
  • Trays
  • Cutlery
  • Napkins
  • Straws
    • Be aware of any local rules regarding reusable straws. Some shops opt to sell reusable straws instead of giving away free plastic straws.
  • Takeout cups 
  • Takeout cup carriers
  • Water pitchers and glasses
    • A pleasant way for customers to serve themselves water at the table.

Cleaning Equipment

Preventative maintenance and cleaning keeps your equipment at its best for longer. Failure to follow cleaning protocols will just end in you having to fork out for a new coffee machine sooner than you would have liked. 

Here’s what you need:

  • Pitcher rinser
    • This rinses shot glasses and pitchers quickly without having to go to the sink. Install it wherever it’s needed.
  • Milk frother cleaner
  • Steam wand brush
    • Can be a lifesaver for cleaning hard to reach places or quickly spot cleaning something
  • Coffee tool brush
  • Espresso machine cleaner
    • Backed-up pipes are the most common reason espresso machines require maintenance. Make sure you’ve got a dedicated espresso cleaner on hand for daily cleaning.
  • Backflush disk
  • Grinder brush
  • Grinder cleaning tablets
    • Running cleaner tablets through your grinders soaks up the oils that build up over time.
  • Microfiber cloth towels

Water management systems

Coffee equipment works best when your water source isn’t particularly soft or hard. For most locales, this perfect middle zone is not something you’ll find from the tap. Installing a water system ensures your gear functions properly and your coffee flavor is enhanced, rather than muted, by a balanced water chemical profile.

  • Water filtration system
  • Replacement water filters
  • Water test kit
    • Coffee is only as good as the quality of water you’re putting in it. So it’s worth testing your water supply from time to time.
  • Water pumps
    • A high-quality pump moves water through an espresso machine and improves machine performance

You’re On the Way to Your Grand Opening

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach for opening a cafe. The needs of an espresso bar in downtown Manhattan are going to be widely different from a drive-thru coffee shop in Texas. You’ve got to figure out what’s right for you.

Feeling overwhelmed? We’ve been helping people set up their coffee shops for almost thirty years now—and our cafe wholesale program gives new shops access to wholesale pricing instead of sticker prices 

If you’ve got any questions at all about setting up your first coffee shop, our team of coffee industry experts have got you covered.

Contact us today.