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My 2023 Coffee Workbench!



I’ve been posting videos on YouTube for nearly three and a half years now. In that time, I’ve moved 4 times, built, unbuilt, and rebuilt, several coffee setups and have accumulated way, way too much gear.


My drawers soon overflowed with mugs, tampers, portafilters, and other espresso gadgets and my drawer bottoms started giving out. As I accumulated bigger and heavier espresso machines, I also started getting concerned about the weight capacity. And that’s where phase one of this project begins.


Find all my current brewing equipment here!
 

PHASE 1: IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM


I had several problems with my previous home coffee stations that this new one needed to address.


One, I wanted this coffee cart to look good in my living space. I wanted a piece of furniture that wouldn’t stick out too much and blend in with the surrounding furniture.


In my previous space, I went all out with painting the wall and turning a portion of our living room into essentially a filming set. While it looked great on camera, it really didn’t fit the vibe of the apartment at all - and it was a constant mess leading into my second problem.


It needs to be organized AND store ALL my content creation equipment. Being a small content creator, I don’t have the luxury of a dedicated studio or room to shoot my content in. So I want all my gear here and available to grab when necessary.


Three, if it can be on wheels, it should be on wheels. This would make it easier to maneuver for photos, videos, changing out gear, and hey maybe one day I want to do a little coffee pop up, I could simply roll this out of my apartment without much effort.


And finally, it should fit perfectly in a little area of my living space. With those guidelines now laid out, we move onto phase 2 - planning.


 

PHASE 2: PLANNING


I wanted this iteration of my coffee bar to feel more minimalistic in appearance, with more of my gear out of sight where possible. So I took a list of the gear that had to absolutely stay on the top surface.


This includes the espresso machine, knockbox, 2 grinders (one dedicated to espresso and one to filter), and the pouring kettle. Everything else can more or less be kept in storage until needed.


The next step was to determine how I wanted to lay these items out and to take measurements of the footprint of each item.


With these measurements, I’m able to get a rough idea of the minimum size surface area I’d want. I also knew I wanted a mini freezer in this area and perhaps a plant or two to liven up the space.


So, with the general color palette, size and weight restrictions, storage requirements, and maneuverability requirements all picked out, that led to one natural option. A mobile workbench.


Now I know what you’re thinking, that’s meant for the garage or a workshop, it’s going to look ugly. Hear me out, my girlfriend thought the same thing til it arrived and it honestly looks a lot better than you’d expect.


The white glossy exterior combined with the oak wood butcher block top looks clean and blends with our existing furniture seamlessly. The badge is easily removable and I could just 3D print a new one to replace the Husky logo, and even the drawer handles could be removed to be spray painted white if needed.


This cart is on wheels, has a 680kg or 1,500lb freedom unit weight capacity, perfectly fits the size requirements of the space, has built in power sockets, and can still be maneuvered wherever I want.


It has 9 drawers, with the middle 6 being pretty slim and the bottom 2 being the deepest for larger items. Perfect for spare grinders and other bulky equipment. This first drawer will be dedicated to all the most frequently used coffee equipment, with the following 2 dedicated to less used gear and my single dosing tubes.


The next few drawers will be dedicated to camera equipment that fits as well as any other miscellaneous items.


And the last 2 will be dedicated to the bulky gear that won’t fit elsewhere.


So with that all planned out, phase 3 begins.


 

PHASE 3: ORGANIZATION


This phase of the project was by far the most time consuming, and surprisingly, expensive. Inspired by Scott Yu-Jan, I wanted to not just organize my drawers, but have everything fit within custom size shadow boxes.


There was only one problem, I don’t know how to use any professional 3D modeling tools.


After a little googling and testing, I used what basic knowledge I had in Tinkercad, which is a free web-based program, to essentially use basic shapes in creating my bins and trays.


For the organization phase, I turn to Zach Freedman’s Gridfinity system. A modular, open-source system utilizing grids and stackable bins.


The next step was to start measuring each of my different coffee gadgets to create rough shapes of each item in Tinkercad.


This modeling process was basically repeated for all the other components going into the cart. The pitchers were on the bulkier side so rather than have them in the drawers, I designed simple hooks with slots for a magnet to stick them to the side of the cart. Same with my most frequently used paper filters.


With the drawers organized, all that’s left to do is add the coffee equipment, organize the cables, and make this cart feel more personalized.


 

PHASE 4: THE BUILD OUT


With the gear cleaned and tested, cables organized, and personal touches added, the cart has been completed and the coffee is flowing.


This cart is as maneuverable as I had hoped and it fits the space perfectly. The touch of greenery here and there adds some liveliness to the space, and overall I’m very happy with this set up.


But, there’s always room for improvement, leading to the last and final phase. Reflection.


 

PHASE 5: REFLECTION


As with all good projects, there’s always room for improvement and refinement. In this case, there are 2 big things I wish I had done differently.


First, probably going for a dedicated mini fridge/freezer combo rather than just a mini freezer. It makes it every so slightly more annoying to run to the kitchen for milk and back.


And second, optimizing the 3D printing designs and process by a) learning a more robust 3D modeling software so I can take more precise measurements and things like chamfers to avoid sharp edges, and b) optimizing the design for space and material efficiency.


This could mean possibly squeezing objects closer together, rotating or angling objects that would shrink the amount of grid space needed, or even creating bins that could stack for objects that are thinner.


I was able to do this a little bit with the bean tube storage by shrinking what was originally a 4 by 6 size print to 3 by 6 by putting the tubes at an angle.


 

CONCLUSION


So, that is my new coffee bar cart. It might not be for everyone but personally, I really, really like it. I hope you enjoyed this insight into my design process and hope it provides some inspiration for your own coffee setups at home.


 

For more about the coffee and other equipment I personally use today, check out my brew gear or storefront!


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