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  • Collins Builders

Six Things Every Coffee Bar Needs

Coffee is no doubt a large part of the American culture. Even people who don't drink it often find themselves at a local coffee shop for a meeting or serving it to friends and family who visit their homes. But for those of us for whom coffee is a requirement, having the right set up at home can allow you to be your own barista, with perfectly customized coffee every time.

Think about your daily routines, as well as your entertaining style, when deciding where to place your coffee bar(s). If you brew a cup as soon as you awake, a small morning kitchen in the owner's suite will make your morning run much smoother. For entertaining and daily living, having a larger coffee bar off of the kitchen or dining room gives you easy access whenever you need it. No matter where you place it, there are key things to think through to get it just right. We've compiled a few essentials, as well as some items to consider, so that you can bring the coffee shop home.

1. Electrical

Well placed outlets are the first step to the perfect coffee bar. Take inventory of how many appliances you want to use and plan an outlet for each. We recommend setting them at 42" above the floor or using a plug molding strip to keep the outlets out of sight. Do you have a traditional coffee pot and a pod system? Placing them on separate outlets frees up space. Don't forget accessories like bean grinders, cream frothers, or coffee cup warming plates. If you have overhead cabinets in your coffee bar, consider under-cabinet lighting add ambiance and help you see.

2. Under counter refrigeration

Each time we work with clients to layout a space, we try to consider functionality and how that space will be used and how they will move in it. Having an under-counter refrigerator in the coffee prep space makes the function work. You wouldn't want to brew in one area and walk across the room to get the creamer each and every time. These refrigerators come in widths from 15" to 36", allowing you to get the perfect size for you. They provide an added bonus of additional beverage storage for convenience or overflow. Drawer refrigerators give you the ability to organize the storage even further and customize it for your needs. Be sure to consider this in your electrical planning, as well by placing an outlet at standard height in the space.

3. Coffee Cup Storage

While an overhead cabinet might be the obvious place for coffee cups to be stored, it isn't the only option. Consider adding a set of drawers in your base cabinets. Coffee cups can be stacked double high in deeper drawers, allowing you to store a large quantity in a small space. Floating shelves instead of upper cabinets are a very popular option and can be used for both cup storage and decoration. Just like the cream and sugar, you want to be sure the coffee cups you need are stored where you are brewing the coffee.

4. Coffee Storage

Bags of coffee grounds or beans are easily stored in a cabinet drawer. Coffee pods also fit nicely in a top drawer, and we love the pod inserts in our cabinets to keep them organized. The inserts are custom fit to the drawer and allow you to see at an instant all you have to choose from. Having a drawer for coffee storage frees up your counter space and gives you more room for prep.

5. Adding Plumbing

Having a small sink in the coffee bar makes clean up a breeze. Most coffee makers require regular refills of water, so a nearby sink, or reverse osmosis faucet ensures you have what you need. If space allows, piping for a second dishwasher means you can load and unload the coffee mugs and spoons right where they go. It also helps with overflow dishes during large dinners, eliminating dishes constantly in the sink. Drawer dishwashers are available that allow you to have either a single or a double dishwasher drawer for ultimate flexibility. Iced coffee lovers will want to consider an ice maker as well. The SubZero ice makers allow you to set a time for it to make ice, so you don't have the sounds from the appliance interrupting your favorite TV show. GE has a countertop ice maker that creates everyone's favorite nugget ice.

6. Built-in Coffee Maker

For the ultimate coffee shop experience at home, a built-in coffee maker can make the same lattes, cappuccinos, and yes, coffee right in your kitchen. These require a tall cabinet and 27-30" in width, and they are directly plumbed into the wall. No more refilling a reservoir. You can even start brewing your coffee before you get out of bed by pushing a button on your phone. For the true coffee addict, a built-in coffee maker is a dream come true.

Carving out space (or two) in your home for a coffee bar is the first step, and is usually easy to find. Once we know how much space you have available, we can help you plan out just the right configuration and design for your perfect coffee shop at home!

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