The Bakery Edit: Coffee and pastry? Yes! Creating a great coffee set-up

“The secret to world peace is hidden somewhere in the smell of coffee and baked sweets.” -Unknown

For anyone who loves coffee, you know there are few things that rival that small surge of joy you feel when nibbling your favorite sweet and sipping your coffee. This classic duo has enthralled, enchanted, and been ritualized the world-round. In this blog, we’ve synthesized Mills Coffee’s Qween Bean’s decades of knowledge into five best-developed practices for creating a successful, satisfying in-bakery coffee program.


Offer basic coffees that compliment your specialties

Coffee, like wine, has an extraordinary ability to alter the taste of the food. A coffee that is too heavy or too dark can easily overpower a delicate sweet while a coffee that is light and fruity may accentuate gentle floral or citrus notes in a summer dessert*. To ensure your coffees are versatile enough to pair well with most sweets yet diverse enough to accommodate customer preferences, we recommend:

  • One medium roast with moderate to moderate-high acidity
    • A high acidity coffee, such as an African, may compete with floral or citrus notes in your pastry
  • One decaf
  • One iced coffee during spring and summer

If you are feeling ambitious, you could also offer one vibrant dark roast, such as a French Roast or Peru Dark Roast. We suggest avoiding heavy, spicy dark roasts as they can easily overpower most non-chocolate based desserts.

Brew wisely: invest in quality, time-efficient equipment

To brew great coffee, you need fresh ground coffee, pure water, and a quality brewer. We recommend:

  • Pre-portioned fractional pack coffee
  • A small commercial or large home drip brewer, preferably one that brews into a thermal pot
  • Three airpots (or two airpots and one thermal pot)

Coffee is a food product and it stales. To ensure you always have a fresh cup, it is best to purchase air-tight, valve-sealed, resealable bags or fractional packs. Fractional packs are our preference as they provide consistency and save time when brewing as each pack is pre-measured to ensure you have a perfect pot each time you brew. Once brewed, you want to keep your coffee fresh — this is where the airpots enter. Coffee can stale if left in the pot and can burn if left on a burner post-brewing. If you plan on brewing one pot of a specific coffee per morning, we recommend purchasing an airpot to store the brewed coffee or brewing into a thermal pot.

Invest in quality disposable cups

The quality of the cup impacts the quality of the taste! If you plan to offer takeaway coffee, we recommend using double-walled paper cups or single-walled cups with a java jacket (also known as a coffee sleeve) and dome lids. To continue with our theme of simplicity, we suggest only offering one size of coffee — it may feel limiting but it will make things much easier for you and your staff. We strongly recommend avoiding styrofoam cups as they contain a toxic chemical that will leach into the coffee.

Create a sugar, spice, and milk stand

If you are a baker, you are likely a perfectionist but assuming control of the milk and sugar input can consume a significant amount of time and result in greater waste as customers often find it difficult to articulate exactly how much milk / sugar they would like. We suggest creating a preparation table and allowing customers to add their own milk, sugar, and extras.

Add some extras!

Offer some delicious coffee toppings, such as cocoa powder, cinnamon, or any other delicious extra you have from a bake — caramels, syrups, etc. These “extras” set you apart from the coffee competition and are a great way to reinforce the taste elements between the baked goods and coffee.


If you are interested in introducing or revamping a coffee program at your bakery or patisserie and would like some free samples, please contact us at Be sure to include your company name and, if applicable, current brewing method.

*To learn more about coffee and food pairing, check out our blog entry.

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