At Morris Lare, most of us are devoted coffee and/or espresso drinkers, so the idea of having a dedicated spot in our kitchens for brewing and serving coffee is a dream come true. We love curling up with a latté or Americano on weekend mornings to scroll through inspiring Instagram accounts or flip through our favorite design books.
If you, like we, love coffee and/or tea and have lived in homes with small kitchens or kitchens with dysfunctional cabinetry or a lack of countertop space, then you know what a luxury it is to dedicate even a little space solely to this all important ritual. When we begin working with a new client on a kitchen renovation or a kitchen design for a new construction home, we always ask if they are coffee drinkers and if they would like to design a coffee bar into their new kitchen. More often than not, the answer is a resounding yes.
For today’s post, we are rounding up some of our best ideas and design tips for incorporating a coffee bar into a new kitchen. Some of these tips could also be used to retrofit a space in an existing kitchen, so we hope you are inspired even if a kitchen remodel or new build home isn’t in your immediate future.
Determine Your Coffee Bar Needs
Before you start designing your home coffee bar, it’s important to determine your coffee needs. Consider factors like the number of people who will be using the coffee bar, the types of coffee drinks you prefer, and the frequency of use. This will help you choose the right equipment and accessories to make your perfect cup.
If you’re a solo coffee drinker who enjoys sipping on simple black coffee in the morning, a basic French press, a high-quality brewer, or pour-over setup may be all you need. However, if you have a large family or love entertaining guests with varying coffee preferences, investing in an espresso machine and milk frother or multi-function brewer might be a better choice.
Will your coffee bar need to accommodate tea drinkers as well? Will it do double duty as a bar that serves alcoholic beverages in addition to coffee? All of these questions are important to consider because they influence how much space you will need.
Locations for Your Coffee Bar
Next, we want to discuss the different places you can add a coffee bar to your kitchen or home whether you have a large space or small.
Similarly to a wet or dry bar, a coffee bar can stand on its own as a bank of cabinetry in an area adjacent to a kitchen or entertaining zone in your home. This is a luxury option because you are dedicating precious square footage to a single function.
A second option is to reserve some countertop space and one or more cabinets in your kitchen. This option can work really well in a smaller kitchen especially if those cabinets can be customized specifically for the needs of coffee (and/or tea) making and consumption.
A coffee bar can be integrated into a deep full size cabinet and hidden behind a door or doors. This is a very British style of coffee bar design, and you can find many examples by searching Pinterest for “Breakfast Cabinet”.
Finally, a coffee bar can designed into a wall cabinet that sits on a countertop, which can be off to the side in the main portion of the kitchen or tucked into an otherwise awkward corner.
The type of coffee bar you choose will depend on how frequently you use it, the variety of coffee drinks or tea you brew, how much equipment you need, and how much space you have available.
What Do You Need to Create a Coffee Bar at Home?
Every coffee bar requires some basic elements whether large or small. They include:
- Countertop space for frequently used equipment;
- Access to water whether it is part of the coffee bar or adjacent to the main kitchen sink.
- Electrical outlets for plugging in your small appliances.
- A place for mugs – on a shelf, hooks under a shelf, on a mug tree, or in a cabinet.
- And storage for coffee and other items needed for brewing.
Beyond the basics, you can consider adding:
- A spot for a small wastebasket or pull-out trash for discarding grounds, filters, pods, and other trash close by;
- A small prep sink and faucet for filling the machine or kettle;
- An undercounter refrigerator for storing various milks used for barista style drinks as well as other beverages;
- An on-demand hot water faucet for tea or pour over coffee.
Create a Stand-Alone Coffee Bar Nook for Relaxing
If space allows for it, you can create a cozy coffee bar nook just off your main kitchen area for enjoying your warm drink while watching the morning news, reading a book, catching up on email, or simply dreaming away a few minutes before starting work.
In our Brentwood addition and renovation project, we turned what had previously been a narrow dining area into a double duty coffee bar and dry bar. The built-in cabinetry features an undercounter refrigerator and plenty of storage for various coffee paraphernalia, wine, liquor, and glassware.
The shallow top drawers are perfect for corkscrews, teaspoons, pods, tea bags, measuring spoons, filters, and other small elements. The deep drawers or the pull-outs can hold lesser items like grinders, Nespresso machine, pour over cones, and the electric kettle. The wall cabinets have adjustable shelves and glass fronts to show off the clients’ collection of cups, mugs, and barware. The cabinetry is just under 9′ long, but similar functionality could be achieved in as little as 6′.
We mounted a 42″ television over a stone splash with a stone shelf. The splash and shelf will shield the TV from any steam rising directly from a coffee pot. Not pictured are two smaller scale armchairs and a side table with a view of both the living room fireplace, the kitchen, and the small television.
Tuck Your Coffee Bar Away in a Full Height Cabinet
In some kitchens, it makes more sense to build a coffee bar into a full-height or tall cabinet instead of on an open counter. The primary benefit of locating it inside a full-height cabinet is that it can be concealed behind doors. This is perfect for clients who aren’t quite as tidy or may be concerned about keeping their coffee area styled and neat at all time (raises hand).
In our Winterset kitchen, pictured below, we didn’t have room for the coffee bar in the main counter area of the kitchen. It would have infringed too much on the cooking and prep zones. We did have a long wall of tall cabinetry across from the island with the perfect spot for a tall cabinet to house the coffee and tea prep zone.
At the client’s request, we added a pot filler to the back of the cabinet so that the water source was easily accessible and not all the way across the room at the main sink. The base of the coffee area is at countertop height and on a pull-out shelf to make cleaning easier. The drawer below holds additional supplies for coffee and tea making. The shallow shelf inside stores all of their mugs. This cabinet was a very efficient use of space that crammed a lot of function into a small area. The drawers below and door above serve as additional pantry space.
There are so many great ideas for designing a home coffee bar into a tall cabinet. As we mentioned in the introduction to this post, searching for “breakfast cabinet” on Pinterest will yield dozens of examples. Depending on how much width and depth you have available in your kitchen, you can hide a base cabinet with stone top behind full-height pocket or bi-fold doors. Some options have a microwave above or below as well.
Our Favorite Coffee Bar Sinks & Faucets
Most coffee bars need quick access to water for filling your machine of choice and a place to rinse out the pot or water reserve. But, the sink and faucet should be on the smaller scale to preserve precious countertop space. A small prep sink, preferably undermount, works best, especially when paired with a minimalist single handle faucet or wall-mount faucet. Another sink option is a small workstation sink with a cutting board to cover the sink when not in use. Essentially, the cutting board top turns the sink into countertop space.
Small Undermount Sink Ideas
Prep Faucet Ideas
Storage for Supplies and Other Essentials
Your storage needs are going to depend on the type of coffee drinks you make and what type of supplies you need to make them. If you grind your own beans, then you may want to decant your beans (or even your grinds) into attractive and well sealed cannisters.
Built-In Cabinetry Accessories
Most cabinetry companies – and custom cabinet makers – offer options for incorporating custom storage options into your cabinetry. If you are remodeling, you can build these options into your plan. I particularly like the pod storage option from Rev-a-Shelf for clients who use a Keurig machine.
Your cabinet maker could also add wooden dividers to a drawer so you could easily organizer different sizes of pods for different machines. You could create a special spot for filters or other frequently used items.
Pull-out base cabinets could hold a variety of items like if you have a Nespresso you only use when entertaining, or extra French Presses or kettles. This is an area of kitchen planning where a custom cabinetry designer can be incredibly helpful.
Retro-fit Cabinetry Storage
If you are creating a coffee nook into your existing cabinetry, there are options to easily retrofit your drawers and cabinets that are readily available from well known retail stores like The Container Store or The Home Edit. Stackable shelves can double the amount of storage for mugs in a wall cabinet. We use the stainless wire version from The Container Store below in our own kitchen.
Drawer inserts, available in a variety of materials and sizes, can be used to maximize the storage in both shallow and deep drawers. Slide out shelves can be added to deep base cabinets so that you can access the full space without getting down on your knees
We hope you enjoyed this roundup of our best ideas for creating the perfect coffee bar for your kitchen or other area of your home. If you have other ideas or thoughts that would benefit our readers, please share in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!