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How to Master Your Home Coffee Bar (From a Former Barista)

My most favorite job ever has been working as a barista. I grew up in a family full of coffee drinkers, and the moment I turned 16, I immediately applied to Starbucks. From there, I worked at a few different local spots and shops across my hometown. But no matter where I have moved to in life, I always made sure to look for barista positions open when it was time to look for a job. Crafting great coffee is just something that feels very comfortable and comforting to me. Plus, we all know by now that coffee shops have the best vibes. 

Now that I’m a full-time student with a new job following my other passion (writing), I really miss the culture and the actual practice of being a barista. Yes, even looking back at the busy days running around during rush hour brings me nostalgia. To compensate for my sadness, I have begun crafting my very own at-home coffee station. It’s a work in progress, but as a caffeine lover (of which I know there is no shortage), I thought I would spread some information on how you too can brew your coffee in the comfort of your home (for those days when you just can’t fathom paying an extra $2 for oat milk in your latte.)

First, make sure you are creating a setup that works best for YOU. For starters, you might want to think about space. What do you have room for in your kitchen? Clear aside some of those dusty pitchers and pans and make room for that legendary coffee setup! Now you can plan.

Now, think about what kind of coffee drinks you want to be making. Early risers may prefer quick options like the trusty Keurig cups, while others may enjoy a slower start to the morning by hand-grinding their coffee beans. If you’re not sure, it might be helpful to think about what time of day you drink coffee most. What will you have time for? Next, do your research and get started on buying the perfect coffee for you. Personally, I tend to make coffee at home on the weekends so I have time to enjoy the process of grinding my own beans.

Latte Art
Kelsey Emery / Spoon

That brings me to another important point. To bean or not to bean? Do you want to grind your own coffee? Or would you prefer to have it pre-ground? I normally use Charleston Coffee Roasters’ whole beans and use a manual hand grinder for a freshly ground cup in the mornings. But sometimes before classes, I only have time for a good old K-cup brew. Don’t be afraid to mix things up!

Now that you have your coffee preferences in order, the next thing you will want to consider is getting all of those extra gadgets. Do you want to get an espresso machine and a milk frother for some latte action? Or stick to coffee brewers and pour-overs for a more traditional coffee experience? You might even want to have a variety of items to switch things. Some days you want a nice iced coffee, while others it’s piping hot latte time.

Once you’ve got all those pieces, it’s time to bring everything into your space! Now we can think aesthetics. Do you have enough room for your mug collection on the counter, or will you need to invest in a display shelf? Assemble all your pieces together and arrange them to your liking. Now you can add those finishing touches! Here is also where you can personalize your coffee bar with signs and coasters, or stock your bar with flavors and drizzles if that’s something you like too. The sky is the limit!

At the end of the day, how you want to create your home coffee bar is up to you! Get creative and do what makes you happy. May your coffee be hot and your drinks taste delicious! Just like from your favorite cafe.

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Camryn Teder

South Carolina '22

Camryn is a media arts major at the University of South Carolina. She loves Gus Dapperton, indie films, and her two dachshunds Gretchen and Heidi. You can find her laughing with friends over coffee, listening to Lily Allen on repeat, or day dreaming about Chicago.
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