Your coffee shop will be the cornerstone of the community. People will come to your shop to gather with friends, study, or finally write that novel and grab their much-needed fuel for the day. You can see this perfectly as you build your storefront, hire your staff, and plan your business. You also need a delicious menu for your new baristas to serve your customers.

Planning your coffee shop menu takes research, planning, and a love of a perfect cup of Joe. Curating and designing your coffee shop menu to match your vision may be the most fun part of your planning process.

So, let’s dig in on how to plan a coffee shop menu your customers will love.

college of three photos of a coffee shop menu, coffee drinks, and pastries with the text 'crafting the perfect coffee shop menu' at the top

What Type Of Coffee Should You Serve At Your Coffee Shop?

Of course every cup of coffee starts with great coffee beans. There are two distinct types of coffee beans available in the world:

  • Arabica: Known for their smooth, complex flavor profiles, Arabica coffee beans have higher acidity and less caffeine.
  • Robusta: Known for their strong, robust, and sometimes bitter flavor, Robusta coffee beans have a higher caffeine content.

Once you’ve picked your beans, you must explore different kinds of roasts. Roasting unlocks the distinct flavors of coffee and aromas beans, making them perfect for different uses:

  • Light Roast: Works best for batch brew, pour-over, decaffeinated, and iced coffee.
  • Medium Roast: Works best for batch brew, espresso, cold brew, nitro brew, and decaffeinated.
  • Dark Roast: Works best for batch brew and decaffeinated coffee

Also, consider if you want to have a coffee roastery in-house. The best way to start picking your coffee beans is to order samples. Get a nice variety, and experiment with different recipes. Let your taste buds be your guide.

Crafting The Perfect Drinks For Your Coffee Shop

Now that you have your beans picked out, it’s time to plan the drinks. The most common types of coffee drink offerings include:

  • Batch Brew: Essential drip coffee for any menu.
  • Espresso Drinks: Foundation of lattes and cappuccinos with quality espresso and steamed milk.
  • Pour Over Coffee: Hand-brewed selections using various methods.
  • Cold Coffee: Essential menu items, from cold brew to iced lattes.

Once you have the basics down, then it’s time to plan your signature drinks. Consider your local market; what types of drinks are most popular? Think about the competition. What can you do better or differently?

Then, consider including popular trends or seasonal flavored coffee offerings. Would you rather be a classic coffee shop that makes the perfect black coffee or an experimental cafe that offers unique flavors like lavender and pistachio lattes.

Adding Food To Your Coffee Shop Menu Items

Another consideration for your coffee shop is if you also want to offer food. Most coffee shops have a tray of pastries or a few small plates. These are made in-house or contracted to a local bakery or chef as a contract or consignment.

Popular coffee shop menu items to consider include:

  • Pastries like croissants, muffins, and scones
  • Bagels with various toppings like cream cheese and avocado
  • Sandwiches and paninis
  • Fruit, green, and grain-based salads
  • Soups
  • Cakes and pies
  • Cookies and brownies
  • Granola bars and energy balls
  • Quiches and frittatas
  • Yogurt parfaits

These menu items are easy to prepare and serve without a full kitchen. They also tend to have a longer shelf life than other options.

Tip: Make sure to also offer items for people with allergies, special diets, and plant-based and vegan alternatives.

green coffee mug with a log for 'milk and honey coffee and tea' shop

Adding Merchandise To Your Coffee Shop Menu

Although not necessarily food, you should also consider adding merchandise to your menu.

Adding a line of branded coffee shop menu items builds brand identity to grow customer loyalty. Merchandise also provides secondary revenue that helps bolster a new coffee shop.

Consider adding t-shirts, stickers, and branded bags of coffee beans.

Another essential is to offer branded coffee mugs. Branded coffee mugs create a personal connection between your customers and your coffee shop, encouraging repeat visits and a sense of belonging in the community. You can also offer a coffee loyalty club with merchandise and discounts as perks.

Making Different Menus For Your Coffee Shop

college of four different types of coffee shop menus with items listed

Once you have decided what goes on your menu, you must create the menu itself. You will need:

  • Indoor Wall Menus: Wall menus are large menus that feature all your coffee shop menu items, sizes, and prices on the wall, usually behind your counter. The key to designing good display menus is to ensure they are readable. Another thing to consider when designing display menus is if you plan to have a permanent menu or if you want something you can change out or refresh with new items, like a chalkboard menu.
  • Outdoor Display Menus: Similar to indoor wall menus, these are the large signs placed outdoors by the entrance or at the drive-thru. These menus need to be weatherproof and easy to read.
  • Table Menus: Table menus are those you hand to your customers at the counter or the table. They contain all the menu items. Table menus should be easy to read and reflect your brand. Some cafes put pictures of their coffee shop items on the menu, while others keep it simple with just text. Both can be effective; it just depends on your audience and offerings.
  • Digital Menus: Digital menus are published online on websites and listings like Yelp or Google. They also offered an eco-friendly alternative to paper menus at coffee shops. The most common way to provide a digital menu is with a QR code read by a smart device.

Putting together the perfect menu for a coffee shop is fun but requires you to organize and plan. Trust your vision during the process, and you’ll be sure of success.

If you’re looking for quality coffee shop merchandise offerings, shop our coffee mug collection. Fully customizable with a wide range of glaze colors and shapes, our stoneware mugs make the perfect addition to your coffee shop menu items.



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