Coffee bar essentials: a barista-approved coffee nook

These barista-recommended coffee bar essentials will transform your kitchen into your own personal café. These are all the tools you need to unlock the perfect brew

Some coffee bar essentials in a white kitchen unit with drawers and shelf with a splashback of geometric patterned white, blue and grey, blue chair and marbled worktop, and blue and white patterned light shade.
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At home, we make space for our rituals. You have a breakfast bar for morning meals, a bathroom for relaxing baths, and if you're lucky, a gym for working out. I'm a firm believer that coffee - arguably the most important ritual of them all - also should have its own space too. 

You don't need much to make a coffee bar. You probably already own most of essentials, but a few flourishes will make all the difference. With a tray, canisters, and a chic set-up, you'll no longer have to relegate your best coffee makers to the dusty corners and cupboards in your kitchen. In fact, your caffeine station will be better than the set-ups at most cafés.

Even though I have a relatively small kitchen, as a former barista I simply let go of my  favorite coffee gadgets. For the sake of own sanity, I've created coffee station in my home. It's a neat space where I can keep best grinder, favorite coffee maker, espresso cups, cappuccino cups, and tastiest coffee beans (at Amazon)s. It's tidy, it's geeky, and – if I may say so myself – it's very chic too.

There are two aspects that you need to consider for a coffee bar. I'll give you the practicalities: the essential items you need in your coffee bar. Then, our interiors experts have written about how to design a coffee station in five simple steps. Armed with both of these, your favorite café just got a whole lot more local.

The Quick List

Further down, I'll give you options and explanations of what you need in your coffee bar and why you need it. I even explained the psychology behind your coffee mug. However, if you just want a quick list of the coffee bar bare necessities, here's everything you need.

Coffee Maker

An espresso machine pulling a double shot of espresso

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You won't go far at your coffee station without a coffee maker. Thankfully, I've tested the best (and the worst) on the market, so I can recommend which ones to invest in. Whether you want a French press for acidic brews, or an espresso machine for supercharged shots, I'll tell you which ones to invest in.

If choosing between each model has you stuck, I have written a guide to the different types of coffee makers. Once you've established which machine you need, you can get started on your caffeinated journey. 

These six coffee makers are my favorites. There's something for everyone. The Philips 3200 Series is an independent and competent machine; the Breville Bambino Plus is every barista's dream; and the Espro P7 French Press takes everything back to basics.

Coffee Grinder

A flat burr coffee grinder interior

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Experts are unanimous in saying that the fresher coffee is, the better it will taste. With that information in grind - sorry - you'll need some good quality coffee beans and an expert grinder.

It doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, Alex Spampinato, the barista trainer who I mentioned earlier, has been using the Breville model for 12 years. He said 'there are plenty of geeky, techy models on the market, but what you really need is a good quality burr grinder. You can pay more than $200, but you won't notice the difference'. 

I've tested the best models on the market, from manual to electric, and these are the ones that I would recommend.

Coffee Beans

coffee beans

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A key ingredient for good coffee is investing in the best beans. Ashley Palmer-Watts, Michelin Star Chef and founder of Artisan Coffee Company, says 'beans are the basics of coffee. You don't need to get drawn into appetising packaging and pictures of mountains and forests in the store, just keep it simple. Buy the beans that you like and always try to buy the best'. I've tried all of his coffee beans and would highly recommend them. His decaf coffee is especially incredible; I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. If you want good caffeinated coffee, I'd recommend his rich and chocolatey blend, The Heroine.

The best place to start is with medium roast beans. These will meet the needs of the average coffee drinker. I always look for organic beans, where possible, and try to go for blends rather than single roasts. These tend to have more well-rounded flavors,  because they draw on notes from a range of bean types.

Coffee Cannister

West Elm Coffee Cannisters

(Image credit: West Elm)

There's no point buying good beans without storing coffee grounds properly. We have a roundup of the best coffee canisters on the market. These all cover the basics: air-tight, cool, and opaque, but they go above and beyond for style. 

These cannisters are all about luxury. Once you put a cluster of canisters in your coffee bar, they'll add organization as well as style. I'd always buy them in threes. The rule of three is one that lots of designers follow, but it's also the perfect number for coffee beans, tea, and cookies. The cookie jar is an essential purchase, so don't skip it out. It's not a proper coffee break without some sweet treats. 

Milk Frother

Frothed milk being poured into a coffee cup

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Most people like their coffee with a splash of milk. However, if you want to get really barista-ey and make lattes and cappuccinos, you will need to get steaming. Adding some silky, thick foamed milk will enhance your coffee's texture and the sweetness of milk naturally balances any acidity that you might taste in an Americano or espresso.

Some machines have milk frothing functions, but not all of them will. If you want to make a range of different frothed milks, hot and cold, thick and fine, you'll want a milk frother. If that sounds like you, these tried-and-tested milk frothers, will be your next favorite appliances. Your coffees will taste velvety smooth, every time.

Electric Kettle

KitchenAid Pro Line Kettle outside on a table

(Image credit: KitchenAid)

If you drink pour-over coffee or tea, you'll want an electric kettle. Tea leaves, coffee grounds, and matcha powder can be really sensitive to temperature, so you want to make sure that you can reach the perfect level of heat to extract all their delicious flavors. Every degree counts. That's why all of these kettles have variable temperature options, so that you can get serious about your coffee. 

I've also included a delicate gooseneck kettle, which is a must-have for pour-over coffee. It can create a precise stream of hot water, so that you don't oversaturate your coffee beans or disgruntle your filter paper.

Mug Set

hampton coffee mug with a bowl on a mini table outside on blue and white bedding

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You'd be surprized at how much psychology and science lies behind your serveware. Coffee mugs are no exclusion. In studies conducted by Dr George Van Doorn, Dianne Wuillemin, and Charles Spence, white mugs enhanced the 'intensity' of the coffee flavors, but transparent coffee mugs make you perceive less 'sweetness' in your coffee.

Porcelain and double-walled glass mugs make the best containers for your coffee. At home, you might have an eclectic collection of mugs, marking various occasions and trips, but a uniform set will keep your coffee bar looking smart. When it comes to storage, our Homes & Gardens Solved expert, Millie Hurst has written a whole article on how to organize your coffee mugs neatly. There are plenty of options, all of which will keep your countertops looking tidy.

Spoons and stirrers

Gold teaspoon with instant coffee on it and some scattered on the countertop

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When you add milks, creams, and sweeteners to your coffee, you'll want to give them a stir. Specialist spoons will suit longer, taller cups, but you can also buy some cuter, small spoons that you can balance on your saucer.

Syrups, Spices, and Extras

coffee syrups - amazon

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If you like adding some extra flavor to your coffee, having syrups can be the key to a whole new world for your tastebuds. Lots of these bottles are ugly and messy, so make sure that you buy aesthetic-looking pumps. Simple jars and containers can make a world of difference. They'll keep your coffee bar looking uniform and smart, as well as ensuring that all your extra flavors stay fresh and delicious.

Napkins and Dishcloths

A napkin beside a plate and croissant

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Whether you're likely to make a mess or want to throw a dish cloth over your shoulder for a true barista flourish, it's good to have the right kit to hand. These are my favorite, cotton products that will keep you clean as well as looking exceptionally stylish too. I've included practical microfiber cloths, but I would recommend looking at MINDTHEGAP's kitchen linens. They're all ultra-premium and really eye-catching.