Opening a coffee shop requires inventory that must be included in your projected startup and ongoing costs. As a new coffee place, keep inventory to a minimum by serving just a handful of seasonal drinks and one or two drip coffees. Then, add more drinks as your business starts to grow. Some of the inventory you carry may have short expiration dates, such as milk and cream products, so use an inventory tracking system to help decide what purchases need to be made each week.


Start your product inventory by keeping several different types of coffees on hand to sell cups of freshly brewed joe. Stock and display bags of whole-bean coffee to appeal to coffee lovers who prefer to make their own cup of coffee from freshly ground beans. Coffee-related products on your inventory list might also include mugs, thermos containers and personal-sized coffee-bean grinders. To meet varying demand, include tea, bottled water or juices, baked goods, salads or ready-made sandwiches in your inventory.

Additional Food Supplies

You need to include in your inventory supplies such as cream and packets of real sugar and low-calorie sugar substitutes that people add to their coffee or tea. You also need flavored full sugar and sugar-free syrups along with spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg, if you sell specialty drinks or hot chocolate. Add soy or low-fat milk to your inventory as well as cocoa powder or chocolate mix to make hot chocolate. If you make fruit smoothies, add flavoring to your list.


A coffee place requires a handful of pieces of equipment that should last several years, such as grinders and brewers to make drip coffee. If you make specialty drinks, espressos, smoothies or cappuccinos, add an espresso machine, ice machine and blenders to your list. If you plan to offer bags of coffee beans, snacks or baked goods, you need to invest in display shelves as well as refrigerated displays for beverages and ready-made sandwiches. Other equipment includes microwaves and toasters for heating up or preparing sandwiches or toasting bagels. Finally, you need a cash register and a point-of-sale system to track the products you keep in stock so you don’t run out.

Other Supplies

Include supplies required to serve coffee and other goodies, such as paper cups and containers for carrying more than two drinks. Clear plastic cups to hold iced drinks, such as smoothies, are another requirement. Filters for brewing coffee is another important supply to keep in inventory. Add in lids, napkins, straws and stirrers that need to be handed out with the drinks. If you sell coffee to go for large groups, add to your inventory list large containers or thermoses that customers can take with them.