Top 10 equipment ideas for new coffee shops

We have seen countless coffee shops open in our almost quarter century of operation, many of which we have been delighted to watch flourish and prosper in an ever changing and increasingly competitive environment.

Jaguar’s core audience is trade resellers in the Speciality Coffee and Tea industry, and having indirectly supplied a significant volume of coffee equipment to end users over the years, we thought it might be interesting to offer up some thoughts on the most popular equipment products for new coffee shops. We are mindful that every new coffee shop has its own unique purchasing requirements, and at a product level each one is likely to be influenced differently by brand name, product innovation, what other baristas are using,  yet at a product category level clear themes emerge, read on to find out more:

Commercial espresso machines

The number one essential piece of equipment for any coffee shop. But before you rush out to buy the most expensive machine that’s percieved to be the ‘best available’ today, consider whether it is the right machine for you and your coffee shop. Some considerations before you buy:

Capacity: will you have the footfall to justify a two or even three group machine? For many new ventures the output from a one group machine (i.e. 80 cappuccinos or 90 espresso shots per hour) will be more than adequate.

Space: where is your new machine going to sit and are you going to have space for the machine you want bearing in mind all the other essential everyday barista equipment that you’re going to need? Work out the space you have available before choosing your machine. Some models are available in a smaller size, such as the Iberital IB7 Compact, which offers the output of a standard 2 group machine without taking up as much space.

Budget: it doesn’t make business sense to jump in and make an emotional purchase by buying the ‘perfect’ espresso machine with all the bells and whistles if it offers lots of functionality that you aren’t going to use.  The extra cost of those bells and whistles can saddle start-up’s with unnecessary extra debt at what is an expensive phase in your business’ development, so work up to it. Calculate your budget and stick to it, searching out the best model within your price range.

There’s plenty of choice on offer. Make sure you assess the essentials first, e.g. single vs dual boiler, ease of operation, dialling in and servicing, and then consider the nice-to-have features such as LED lights and down lighting before you make a final purchase.

Coffee Grinders

As with espresso machines, baristas have favourite grinder manufacturers. Macap, Mazzer, Baratza, Eureka and Cunill offer professional quality grinders, while Wilfa, Kinto and Hario fill the gap in the market reserved for relatively low usage professional users and home baristas seeking an impressive machine with a small footprint.

Again, when considering what’s right for you it’s worth thinking through the following:

  • Do you run a busy city centre shop and want to grind each shot at the time of order for best possible freshness in each cup? If so have a look at On-Demand models such as the MACAP MXD XTREME, which takes some beating for those that are looking for the very best top end grinders.
  • If you expect to be too busy to grind each shot individually or are looking to spend a little less, check out a grinder with a doser hopper with either manual, timer or automatic operation.

With plenty of choice from Jaguar Espresso it’s often helpful to work out your budget first along with the functions you need and will use, taking into account practical limitations such as available space. Remember to add some domestic grinders to resell to consumers. Do the above and you are ready to start shopping! As always if you need any assistance narrowing down the options please contact us.

Water filtration

Up to 98% of coffee and up to 99% of tea is water, so filtration is an absolute must.

Coffee brewed using unfiltered water can taste bitter and have an unpleasant aroma, it can also result in inferior looking crema – add all these elements together and new coffee shops are likely to find it hard to win a reputation for quality where established local competitors already have this box ticked.

Besides this, unfiltered water will be busily (and silently!) building up limescale in your appliances. Over time the damage this causes to espresso machines and other vital equipment is likely to result in machine breakdowns and expensive repair costs – unwelcome at any time but particularly so for new coffee shops working hard to cover start-up costs and turn a profit.

With this in mind, it’s no wonder more and more coffee shop owners consider water filtration to be an essential ingredient in creating a successful coffee shop. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to resell BRITA Domestic water filters to consumers!


Equipment cleaning solutions

One of the best ways to reassure new coffee shop customers and guarantee the finest quality drinks is to keep equipment clean, creating a professional  first impression and making sure the pure natural freshly ground coffee flavours shine through every time. Here are some of the reasons why cleaning is so important:

To get years of trouble-free use from your espresso machines
Backflush the group heads daily with a high quality cleaning solution to keep water flow rates healthy to help achieve this
To get rich crema and quality extractions
Soak baskets and portafilters in a cleaning solution daily. If you have an    automatic machine use Puly Capucino Cleaner

To get milk to froth quickly, taste great and produce quality micro foam.  Keep steam wands free from milk deposits and calcium build-up ensures high quality taste and texture.


Milk Foaming Jugs

It’s no secret that experienced baristas generally agree that the best foaming jugs for making cappuccino, latte and hot chocolate are made from stainless steel. There are many different types and sizes available, so how do you choose amongst them?

Do you want to create latte art? If you want to put your own stamp on your cups of coffee you’ll need a jug with a narrow spout and a shaped handle that allows constant flow and pouring control. Motta have a superb range of jugs that are very popular with professional baristas, many who successfully practise latte art.

Do you want to reduce milk waste? Jugs with lined measurements mean baristas can accurately portion control the amount of milk they need for each drink, reducing waste and saving money. Some have lined measurements on both sides making it easy for left and right handed baristas – if this sounds good try the range from Yagua.

Are you keen to prevent cross contamination? If this is a priority our best selling etched foaming jugs are a fantastic solution. Choose from full fat, skinny, soya, or chocolate in 600ml or 1 litre sizes, or alternatively check out Milk ID Handles and Clips.

Is time of the essence? Teflon jugs are super quick and easy to clean, a real favourite with busy coffee shops.

And to get the best results don’t forget to add thermometer clips or label thermometers to your order to make sure you are steaming the milk at the optimum frothing temperature!


Many of our trade customers who resell to new coffee shops select tampers by size and brand of choice. Size breaks down into two main categories, domestic and commercial, as follows:

Domestic machines including Gaggia, Krupps, Delonghi, Sage and many more, (see the ‘what size tamper do I need for my machine?’ section of our catalogue for details) need 45mm – 58mm tampers.

Commercial espresso machines use a range of 49mm – 58.4mm tampers, fitting more than 50 brands including La Spaziale, La Marzocco, Iberital, San Remo and more.

With the size sorted it becomes a case of deciding what you need vs what you want. For example a professional barista who is tamping all day long in a busy high street coffee shop will need a comfortable, well balanced tamper and may also want the option to easily change or upgrade the handle. Motta, Espresso Gear, Crema Pro, Reg Barber offer superb ranges for professionals, including high performance competition tampers, and Jaguar stock a range of domestic tampers available in plastic, metal, stainless steel, aluminium or with wooden handle. If you have time, coffee levelling tools are also well worth considering, and so are tamper holders, seats and stands.

Brew scales

There is a vast range of brew scales for baristas to choose from so the key question is how is the end user going to use it? Will an economy scale do the trick or is an impact-resistant case needed for portability to events, competitions and training courses?

If they are to be used with V60 brewers Hario offer some great options, or if you need to weigh portafilters On Balance offer a best selling Bench Scale. All brew scales available from Jaguar are suitable for setting up and monitoring espresso machines and grinders, and then using them to keep an eye on brewing consistency.

Many scales offer extras such as timers (as with the Yagua Barista Scale), USB recharging (Bonavita Rechargeable Coffee Scale) and even Bluetooth connectivity (Felicita Bluetooth Scales).

Espresso thermometers

As with brew scales, espresso thermometers are a vital component for brewing consistency. Getting the milk heated to the correct temperature so it can be stretched just right for the drink it’s going to sit on top of, or poured into, is half the battle when producing top notch milk based coffee.

Make sure you buy thermometers with the correct stem length for your foaming jugs, and a clear face showing the optimum frothing zone to make sure it’s as quick and easy as possible to ensure milk temperature is consistently perfect.

Thermometers with clips, or stick-on label thermometers very popular with busy baristas.

Knock Boxes

Easily taken for granted the humble knock box performs an important task when disposing of used coffee pucks regardless of whether at home or in a coffee shop. Bashing out pucks into a waste bin rather than a knock box presents a few problems, for example the presence of germs, messy espresso leaking out of the portafilter on the way to the bin, and in some cases being able to find the bin!

Sturdiness, stability and capacity are deciding factors when buying knock boxes although some of this will be governed by available space and where they will be placed. This also affects the type of knock box that’s suitable, whether they are counter sunk, freestanding on the counter or floor, or placed underneath a grinder.

Resellers can choose from hard wearing counter or floor standing Crema Pro polypropylene boxes available in black, red, dark grey or burned orange. Stainless steel boxes are very popular with professional baristas and for something more stylish have a look at the stainless steel knock box with bamboo surround.

The choice available for professional users and retailing to home users include offerings from top barista brands including MottaCafelatCrema Pro and Espresso Gear, and replacement spares such as knock bars and sleeves are also readily available in case repairs are needed!

Drinks blenders

The growing list of freshly made blended gourmet drinks consumers expect to see at coffee shops means baristas need at least one blender to satisfy demand. It also opens up the opportunity to be creative with recipes, think Mojito Milkshakes, Cappuccino Cold, Frappes, Freddos, and smoothies!

A commercial model such as the popular range of Artemis Mixers is vital to handle constant demand throughout the day. While you will want to look for something easy to use (look for one-touch operation), it also needs to be fast and the right fit for the physical space available.

And finally…..

There are many other essential items of barista kit such as teaware, tamping mats, kettles, cups, mugs, saucers, glassware, and pour over brewers that are key to setting up and running a coffee shop.

If you are a coffee shop owner, or just about to take the jump, ‘Good Luck’ from everyone at Jaguar!