The Caffeine Addict’s Guide to Building a Home Coffee Bar

Here’s how to set up a home coffee bar that makes your morning brighter. We’ll also walk you through some brewing techniques that will help your personal setup rival even the most hipster of neighborhood cafes.

Designing The Coffee Bar

First, you need a place to make your coffee. You may only have a corner, or you may have a full stretch of counter dedicated to coffee. Either way, this space should be convenient for everything you need for a morning brew — coffee machine, mugs, spoons and sweeteners included. Here’s how to create a dedicated space for your java:

1. Start With the Coffeemaker

This piece of equipment is undoubtedly the most essential in your coffee bar — the coffeemaker itself. The type of machinery you need depends on the style of coffee you crave. For instance, if you want espresso, you can use a stovetop Moka pot. Or, you can buy an electronic espresso machine. Traditional coffee drinkers may consider a drip coffeemaker, French press or even a pour-over device. 

What you ultimately choose will depend on how you weigh flavor, time, affordability and convenience. Do your research to see which option fits best into your routine. Once you choose the equipment style you need, search online for user reviews. Let other coffee lovers help you find the perfect coffeemaker for your in-home bar. 

2. Choose the Location

As we said, your coffee bar should be in a spot that’s convenient for all of the accouterments you need to perfect your pour. In-home baristas do this in several clever ways you can replicate. For example, they may place their coffee machine under a cabinet. In there, they will store their coffee grounds, mugs and to-go cups. 

You can buy a cart or shelf to create a designated coffee space in your kitchen. Or you can create a countertop organizer complete with mug storage so that you have every coffee-related accessory on hand. 

3. Try It Out — And Be Willing to Bend

Once you’ve set up your coffee corner, don’t look at it as a permanent installation. You may find your setup doesn’t work in some way. Be willing to bend, even if your bar is aesthetically pleasing. Ultimately, it has to be functional — if it’s not working, then move it to a new spot or switch up your organizational methods.  

If you invest in new coffee-making machinery down the line, you may have to change again. For instance, if you switch from a Keurig to a Moka pot, you will have to move your coffee-making accessories closer to the stovetop. 

Techniques for Home Coffee Brewing

The coffee bar setup is important, but your technique is arguably the most vital part of at-home coffee-making. Here’s how to make the best brew — no coffee run required:

1. Understand It’s All About the Water

Take a sip of the tap water you use to make your coffee. Does it have a strong chlorine flavor? Is it soft water? Anything less than a pure glass of water will change the taste of your cup of joe. So, invest in a water filter, which has more benefits than just better coffee. You will safeguard your health and improve the environment by doing so, as well. 

Filtered, flavorless water will let the complexities of your coffee beans shine. So, start with good water and go from there. 

2. Know the Golden Ratio And Brewing Times

Most coffeemakers swear by the golden ratio for the perfect cup of coffee. They use one to two tablespoons of ground coffee per six ounces of water. Of course, you can adjust this figure slightly to match your flavor preferences — but stick close to it for perfectly pungent coffee. 

You should know how long your chosen coffee variety should steep for peak flavor, too. For instance, if you use a French press, you’ll pour hot water over grounds and leave them for two to four minutes, max. When making espresso, though, the coffee and water should only come into contact for a max of 30 seconds. Then, there’s cold brew — it’ll sit in your fridge for at least 12 hours to get all of the caffeine-y goodness you crave. 

4. Grind Your Beans at Home

For the best coffee flavor, you should skip pre-ground coffee beans. Instead, invest in a coffee grinder and keep it close to your chosen coffeemaker. Right before you’re ready to brew, grind up your beans — no sooner than that. You’ll unlock the richest, freshest flavor by brewing your coffee from freshly ground beans. 

Again, you will have to match your grind to the type of coffee you crave. For instance, a French press requires extra-coarsely ground beans. Meanwhile, for a Turkish coffee, you want the grounds at the same consistency as powdered sugar. 

5. Keep Your Setup Clean

Finally, your coffee won’t taste its best if it’s brewing in unclean equipment. In most cases, you can just use hot water and a clean towel to scour your devices. Soap and other cleansers can change the flavor of your next brew — and that’s precisely what we’re trying to avoid. 

Designing a State-of-the-Art Home Coffee Bar

You may not have formal training, but you can become an expert coffee maker in time. Investing in the right equipment, setting it up thoughtfully and learning the basics of brewing will hasten the process. Soon enough, you can sate your caffeine addiction with some seriously good java — and you’ll only have yourself to thank. 

About Author: Holly Welles is a home improvement writer hailing from Upstate NY. She runs her own blog, The Estate Update, where she shares tips on everything from renting to remodeling. You can find more of her work on publications including Today’s Homeowner and Apartment Guide.