If you're like me, coffee is ... well ... it's the elixir of the gods. It's not only necessary for workplace survival (if I'm not at my desk, you can find me by the coffee machine), but it's also a strong social currency (I go on three java dates a week), a gym-time must (whatever it takes to get me through the workout), an art form in and of itself (have you tried a French press?), and an all-around cozy and grounding beverage to sip at the start of your day.
Given its ... holy status (stay with me and these parentheticals here) ... it only makes sense that your coffee set-up looks as nice as a good cup of joe feels. I'm sure you've seen images of at-home coffee bars and best coffee makers around social media and in Livingetc over the years, and you might be wondering how you can replicate such a gorgeous espresso station in your own abode. Well, dear reader (or coffee lover, in this case), using decor items and coffee accessories from some of the best home decor brands, plus some sage advice from coffee experts and baristas, I've compiled what I believe to be the definitive guide to coffee bar building.
So bookmark this page and return to it as you do your shopping — but know that everything you need is right here. Let's get building!
1. Buy the right machine
Livingetc knows design.
The first thing you need when building a coffee bar? A machine, of course. And a good one at that. If you're a coffee novice and looking for something simple, quick, and easy, Johny Morrisson, former barista and founder of coffeeabout.com, likes the Keurig Supreme Plus.
But for something a bit more intricate and high-end, he recommends the Breville Barista Express. 'I love this versatile espresso machine for several reasons,' he told me. 'Firstly, it has a built-in conical burr grinder, so I can go straight from whole coffee beans to freshly ground espresso.' Second, the manual milk steam wand lets him 'finesse latte art and create the silliest, creamy foam.' And lastly, 'the machine has programmable shot options for convenience, yet still gives me the control of a professional barista.'
This is the Keurig coffee maker Johny recommended — and it's also one of the best smart coffee machines Livingetc has reviewed and recommended in the past.
Like the Keurig, this Breville is also a Johny favorite. It's extremely well-reviewed on Amazon, and looks every bit as sleek as you'd expect.
As our Breville Barista Pro review shows, this machine consistently ranks as one of our favorite machines. Our in-house barista and design expert described it as the 'best espresso machine on the market.'
2. Invest in proper coffee storage
Whether you're leaving them on the counter or tucking them away in a cabinet, make sure you 'store beans, coffee pods, and grounds in an air-tight container,' Johny told me. Proper storage helps ensure that the flavor stays strong and that the beans don't become stale; air, heat, and moisture will do that.
All three pieces in this set seal up with airtight silicone gasket lids, making them perfect for coffee grounds, flour, and more.
The Atmos vacumn seals in a second, with just a twist of the lid. If left unopened, it can keep air out for roughly a week in between uses. Now that's worth $40.
Here comes the fun part: it's time to accessorize. It might not be the decorating you're used to (I don't foresee something like wallpaper finding its way into this equation), but it is nonetheless an exercise in personalization. And if you're intimidated on where to start, Johny has a few ideas.
'Display your favorite mugs on shelves or hooks for a personalized touch,' he suggested. Or, 'consider adding artisanal ceramic wares to elevate the experience.' Another thought? Add in some lighting, like a pendant or an under-cabinet LED strip, to give the whole station its own ambiance.
Anthropologie is the premier destination for exquisite and eccentric drinkware, so I ran straight here to investigate its collection. I fell in love with this pink and orange option with a floral motif, which would look lovely hanging amongst more of the same or other mugs with complementary coloring.
Decorate this wavy, scalloped tray with your mugs, accessories, or even your machine. Protect your counter while looking chic.
An expert coffee bar is useless if you can't easily access what you need. When you go to design the station, 'think about convenience and a clean look,' Johny suggests. 'Group tools by usage - brewing in one area, grinding in another. And hooks on the wall or below cabinets keep everything visible but out of the way.'
If you're running out of room on your counter or cart, this magnetic case will stick onto any magnetic surface for easy filter access. A must for sleepy mornings!
Acacia wood is so gorgeous and chic. Display your coffee-related spices and sweeteners (cinnamon, stevia, sugar, etc.) on this easy-access structure.
But wait — that's not all.
As a bonus deal and recommendation, Johny also suggested any serious coffee-lover invest in an Ember temperature-controlled mug, an electric cup that keeps your coffee hot for hours at a time. 'I've been using [the] Ember Smart Mug for over a year, Johny said, 'and it has been a game changer for me as a coffee lover and remote worker.'
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Brigid Kennedy is a style editor at Livingetc.com, where she is responsible for obsessively combing the internet for the best and most stylish deals on home decor and more. She was previously a story editor at TheWeek.com, where she covered both U.S. politics and culture. She describes her design style as colorful and clean, and in her free time enjoys reading, watching movies, and curating impossibly niche playlists on Spotify. She lives in New York.
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