Ultimate Guide for a Barista Station Layout


If you’re planning to get your own barista station layout going or expand your already existing one, you might be overwhelmed by the number of things you have to take into account.

Keep in mind that you should be able to work without going back and forth. Whenever you run out of coffee or cups, replace it immediately when you get the chance. Clean the counter after you’ve finished making and serving coffee each time so you don’t have to stop to clean when you’re in the middle of making a drink: Cold coffee is blasphemy, and you should never, ever serve cold coffee. Unless, you know, it’s an iced coffee they asked for. Check out “What’s the Difference Between Cold Brew & Iced Coffee?” to see in more detail the difference after this article.

Well, we are going to illustrate not only what are some of the vital equipment for a barista station layout that will not only save you money but time by taking into account your workflow while making coffee.

Ultimate Guide for a Barista Station Layout
A barista should be able to work without going back and forth

Barista Station Layout

We’re in the west, so we do things from left to right. Go to the left end of your counter, you’re going to make an espresso, what do you need in front of you? Coffee. You’re going to need coffee, whether you store it in plastic or glass containers. Move one step to your right, there should be the grinder. Now, you grind your coffee and then you have to weight it: the scale can be left or right of the grinder, but I like to keep it away from the espresso machine.

Now you’re in front of your espresso machine, and you’ve attached the portafilter to it. To avoid having to move, you should have left as many coffee cups as can fit on top of your machine so you can just reach for one and start the shot immediately. The pitchers should go either in front of the machine or to the side where the steam wand is on your machine, depending on how much space you have on your counter.

Check out “Calculating Cost of Opening Cafe? Here’s What to Consider” or “Opening a Coffee Shop Checklist” for an inside look at budgeting for your coffee shop.

Ingredients

Now that the foundation of our coffee is done, you can arrange the leftover space to your right however you want: We like to place all of the extra stuff in two big containers so everything is neat and tidy, but that’s me. The basic would be sugar and cocoa. We like to keep a bunch of pump containers. In my house, we always keep cinnamon close by, as well as caramel/chocolate syrup and some brown sugar. We also keep some rum and amaretto for the coldest of mornings… Or for when we feel like it.

Ultimate Guide for a Barista Station Layout
Baristas working

Barista Station Equipment

Ultimate Guide for a Barista Station Layout
Barista Set Up chart

Air-tight glass containers

The best way to maintain your coffee’s flavor and aroma is to invest in air-tight glass containers. There are some variations that have wooden lids: depending on the type of wood, we wouldn’t recommend it, but it’s another option. Never do plastic or metal. You should have at least four of these— they should be able to hold about 500 grams each.

Digital scale

With this, the best thing for you is to go simple. Buy a scale that has an even surface, not rubber either. The point is for it to be easy to clean.

The grinder

The grinder is the core of your whole operation here, so you shouldn’t be afraid to go all-out when it comes to this piece of equipment. A burr grinder is the one we recommend to everyone because it’s precise and it works both for home use or professional use.

You can also opt for a manual grinder, which we do recommend if you’re going to use it to grind one kind of coffee in particular. This keeps you from risking the integrity of an expensive coffee or from having to do extra cleaning. Also, it looks and feels really cool.

Ultimate Guide for a Barista Station Layout
Espresso machine

Espresso machine

There isn’t much to discuss here. You are going to need, whether you are buying one for yourself or for your business, a good espresso machine. Depending on how much work you’re expecting the machine to do, you can either go for a machine with two group heads up to four group heads. Whichever one you choose, it’s also a good idea to buy more portafilters than you’re going to need: If we were to go for two groupheads then I’d buy two single-shot portafilters and two double-shot ones.

Siphon coffeemaker

If you’re not satisfied with just having an espresso machine, we highly recommend trying out the Siphon coffeemaker. These things are a beauty: it’s very simple to get the hang of it and they are incredibly satisfying to watch as the coffee brews. They are perfect making exotic drinks, or just to get people talking. Most of them come with a stirrer and a heat source already. Make sure the stirrer is made of bamboo, and make sure you grind your coffee medium-fine when using the Siphon.

For more on siphon coffee, check out “Brew Guide: What is Siphon Coffee?” from Coffee Sesh.

Coffee cups

Even if this category falls under the dominion of your personal taste, we recommend having at least one set of traditional white ceramic cups. Illustrated, the different coffee cups needed to make espresso-based drinks.

If you’re planning a barista station layout for your coffee shop, you’ll also need disposable cups.

After that, you can experiment. One thing that we have in our home is a café au lait bowl because you know, coffee is the most important meal of the day.  

Check out “3 Ways to Get a Coffee Cup Branded” for tips on how you can customize your coffee cups to match your brand image.

Ultimate Guide for a Barista Station Layout
Siphon coffee @diamond2ning

Efficiency Enhancement Tools

If you’re setting up your station for professional use, there are some tools that will help you speed up your delivery while having consistent quality for each coffee.

Thermometers

I recommend digital, submergible ones because they’re easier to use and don’t take up too much space.

Timers

You should have one timer for each one of your group heads. This is non-negotiable!

Electrical milk frother

While this might be frowned upon by the more conservative baristas, this instrument is extremely helpful when you have to make a lot of drinks at once and don’t have the time to pay close attention to each one. Swallow your pride and get one of these just in case.

Measurement tools

It’s very helpful to have around measuring cups and spoons, so you can do the math quickly instead of going to the scale each time. Buy yourself some color-coded spoons and cups to further economize your time!

Pump containers

These are your friends. You can either get transparent containers or just label them; it’s your choice. If you buy things in bulk, then you should buy big, one-liter containers.

Organizers

The more compartments, the better. As your repertoire expands, so will the amount of ingredients you’re going to need for each drink. These can also be useful for storing tea bags and plastic straws. 

Also, be sure to check out “Top 4 Things To Include In Your Coffee Shop” for more helpful info in seeing what other equipment you might need at your coffee shop.

Ultimate Guide for a Barista Station Layout
Barista doing his work

Accessories

Ultimately, we might need a few things that are not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a Barista Station but are nonetheless very helpful for making specialty drinks.

Blender

If you’re planning to make iced coffee or smoothies, you’re going to need a good blender. It’s always good to remember that, the less noise the blender makes, the best for our space. We don’t want people to flee every time we turn on the blender. Invest in a good blender that makes as little noise as possible.

Etching pen

While many Baristas advocate for latte art to be made with anything that can be used as a tool around your station, we find it much more hygienic and convenient to have a tool specifically for this purpose.

Ultimate Guide for a Barista Station Layout
Proper Barista Station

What other things do you have in your barista station layout? Leave a comment to let us know! Need more helpful tips to become the greatest Barista you could become? Read up on “7 Barista Tips and Tricks” or “How to Be a Better Barista Over Night” for more.

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